Contest Winners; Vegan Sukha Mattar 'Paneer'

August 12, 2012 1 Comment

Thanks to everyone for participating in my most recent drawing for a free copy of my new book, Vegan Indian Cooking. I wish I could give all of you a copy - but you know I can only pick one winner. Actually TWO, now that my publisher has decided to match my give away.

Drum roll please.....!

The lucky winners are: Rita Maldonado and Rileen Sinha. Congratulations! Rita says she heard my interview on NPR in July, while Rileen says he went the typical google search route to get to this page. I am so excited for both of you to receive my books and hopefully start cooking up a storm. If you email your addresses to, I can send you a copy of my cookbook this week. 

I hope you will also keep checking and playing future contests. I'll be giving away spices, more cookbooks I'm sure..and loads of other fun things.

I have to add - I feel like I'm truly the winner. After reading all of your posts I realize how many people turn to indian as apple pie for fresh, delicious Indian recipe ideas. And, how much you want more. So, here we go. I'm going to give you all what you've been craving: more delicious recipes (above and beyond my books), meal plans, kid-friendly eating tips, and pictures.

Let's talk about a variation on Mattar Paneer - the delicately balanced peas and homemade cheese curry that is a favorite North Indian dish. Typically, the ingredients are cooked in a cumin-infused tomato broth which is highly addictive, and featured in my new book, Vegan Indian Cooking.

But, today, I want to tell you about a dish that's not discussed or served as much in restaurants - but found usually on the dinner table at home. It's the dried version (minus the tomatoes). Be forewarned. It's not only highly addictive, it's also so simple to make you'll find it making its way to your table more and more.

Sub the paneer out for tofu and you'll have a Veganized dish that even a carnivore will secretly crave. My husband, who finds replacing paneer akin to blasphemy, gave me a thumbs up with a clipped, 'You know, the tofu only works in the dried version." (His obsession with MP..or mattar paneer is well documented in my cookbook.)

So, here goes nothing...

Sukha Mattar 'Paneer'/Dry Peas and 'Cheese'

2 tablespoons oil (grapeseed, canola, vegetable)
1 heaping teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced or grated
1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 15 oz. container tofu, organic and extra firm, diced in small cubes
1 16 oz. package frozen peas
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1/2 - 1 teaspoon red chile pepper or cayenne
 1. Heat oil in a heavy, deep pan over medium-high heat.
2. Add cumin and turmeric. Cook until the seeds sizzle and brown. (About 30 seconds)
3. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook another few minutes, mixing occasionally until the onions start to brown.
4. Add tofu, peas, garam masala, salt, red chile, and green chile if using.  Cook another two minutes, mixing. The key to adding tofu, is making the dice small.

5. Turn the heat to medium low, put a lid on the pan, and cook for 15 minutes until the peas cook through. They will look a little wrinkled when done. You can mix in between.

Serve this dish over basmati rice, with a hot roti, or stuffed inside a pita.  The consistency is perfect for rolling it up and sending in your kids' lunch box.

If you prefer paneer, just sub it. If you want to use ghee instead of oil - go for it! You and your family will love me for this dish. It's so delicious and even my kids who have become snobby about cooked peas (they'll eat them raw by the barrel) love, this dish.
Here's the proof. Neha with her best buddies Yash and Yuv, sitting down to an amazingly healthy Indian meal courtesy of indian as apple pie. The key elements to all of our meals include a dal on the side, a delicious side salad, some yogurt and of course the main dish with bread or rice. (And yes, these kiddos did sign off to use their picture - FYI to their mom!LOL.)

Let me know how dinner goes for you.

1 Response


August 12, 2012

Can’t wait to try this!! As a former paneer-lover, I am thrilled to see this alternative. Thanks for the great post.

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