Paneer and Pea Curry With Sweet Potato Hash 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Weeknight Vegetarian May 1, 2013

The traditional Indian dish matar paneer gets a simplified treatment here: Garam masala takes the place of what can sometimes be a long list of spices, and a quickly made sweet potato hash subs for the usual basmati rice. Coconut milk is decidedly nontraditional, but a touch of it nicely balances the tomatoes' acidity.

Look for paneer in the dairy aisle and garam masala in the spice aisle of any grocery store that has a good ethnic food section, or, of course, at Indian markets such as Patel Brothers.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • Sea salt
  • 8 ounces paneer, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (may substitute extra-firm tofu, drained)
  • 3-inch piece ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen/defrosted peas (about 9 ounces)
  • 1 cup no-salt-added canned crushed tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1/4 cup low-fat coconut milk


Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add half of the onion and half of the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender. Increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Cook the sweet potatoes, stirring and scraping them from the pan occasionally, until they are browned in spots and tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Sprinkle the paneer pieces with salt. Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a separate large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the paneer and cook for a few minutes, until deeply browned on one side, then turn the cubes over to brown deeply on the second side.

Reduce the heat to medium. Pour in the remaining tablespoon of oil, then stir in the ginger, garam masala and remaining half of the garlic and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender and the garam masala has bubbled and bloomed. Stir in the peas, the tomatoes and their juices and the coconut milk. Once the mixture starts bubbling around the edges, taste, and add salt as needed. Cook until the peas are tender and the flavors have melded, about 5 minutes.

Divide the sweet potato hash among individual plates. Spoon the paneer-pea curry on top. Serve hot.

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Recipe Source

From Food editor Joe Yonan, author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook" (Ten Speed Press, August 2013).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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