Khoya Matar

This rich and delicous north indian curry is made with matar (fresh peas) and khoya(milk solids). Its creamy without using any milk or heavy cream, the curry gets its richness from sweet and milky khoya/mawa. This curry is perfect to serve for festive or dinners or when you are in a mood to eat restaurant like curries at home.

In northern India, khoya is popularly used to make mithai(sweets) and it makes its way into a lot of savory dishes as well. This khoya matar recipe is very simple to make and uses onion-tomato masala base which is perfumed with sweet smelling spices like cardamom and cinnamon and gets its richness from khoya.

This curry is one of the most loved old family recipes which was cooked once or twice a year during the autumn or winter months with seasonal fresh peas. I am told that this was my grandfather’s favorite.

Check out my other pea recipes like Matar Paneer and Sukha Matar Aloo.

I have talked about my love for mawa/khoya so many times. It is one of my favorite ingredient. Before the festive season begins, I like to make a big batch and store it. Below is a video showing how I make khoya at home. However you can always use store bought. Make sure to use a good quality khoya, the main flavor of this dish comes from the sweet milkiness of the khoya, since no cream or milk is used.

How to Make Khoya Matar?

The dish starts with preparation of masala base. The masala base for the curry uses browned onion paste, which lends so much flavor and robustness to the dish. If you do not want to make browned onions at home, you can simply buy browned onions from store and grind them with a little water to make a paste. Once you make the onion paste, this curry is super simple and quick to make with regular spices, tomatoes and yogurt. Once the masala is done,add peas and khoya and simmer for a few minutes til khoya melts down and forms a thick sauce. Finish with pinch of kasuri methi and garam masala.

Serve this rich and hearty curry with naan, pooris,spinach roti, roti or paratha and raita(yogurt). You can also serve it with steamed rice or cumin rice.

Few Tips & Tricks to keep in mind when you are making Khoya Matar:-

  1. Peas:- You can use frozen peas in this recipe. Frozen peas that you get in stores are already blanched so you can skip that step in the recipe. Thaw the frozen peas and use them. I use fresh shelled peas that’s why I blanch them.
  2. Brown Onion Paste :- Browned onions are super easy to make and you can make them a day or two ahead. Simply slice the onions and fry them in oil on medium heat. Drain and cool down. Then you can grind them with 1-2 tbsp water if needed. I often avoid using store bought onions because I find them a bit smelly, however if you love a brand, go ahead and use store bought.
  3. Prepare Ahead :- You can make the masala base of the curry in advance and store refrigerated for 2 days. The masala base freezes very well for a month. When you want to make the curry, add the peas and khoya then.
  4. Khoya :- As I already mentioned, I used homemade khoya. Choose good quality khoya– which means with good fat content and sweet if you are using store bought. Khoya is the main taste in this recipe so make sure you use the best kind available.
  5. Variations :- Use this same recipe to make Khoya Matar Paneer or Khoya Matar Makhana(foxnuts). Simply add fried chunks of paneer and roasted makhana.
  6. Cooking Oil Versus Ghee :- When I make this dish for a celebrations or festivals, I like to cook it in ghee. Else you can cook it in any neutral oil like grapeseed or avocado oil.
  7. Consistency:- The ideal consistency of khoya matar is on a thicker side however its not dry.
  8. Spice Level :- Khoya matar has a mellow rich taste. The curry gets its sweetness from peas and khoya. Imagine it as a fragrant spicy curry that not hot. A perfect example of the fact that spicy doesn’t mean hot 🙂
  9. Leftovers :- Make this dish in the quantity that you would be able to finish same day. The leftovers don’t reheat well and the taste of curry changes.
  10. Using Nut Powders :- If you want, you can use 1-2 tbsp of super fine ground nuts like almonds or cashews to the masala. They do taste awesome however I feel the dish gets too heavy so I don’t 🙂
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Khoya Matar

A rich and delicous north indian curry made with matar (fresh peas) and khoya(milk solids). Its creamy without using any milk or heavy cream. Best served with naan, roti or cumin rice.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cup 9about 300 g) fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 large onion, sliced (don't slice too thin or too thick)
  • Oil for frying the onions
  • 2 tbsp thick plain yogurt (not too tart)
  • 1/2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 inch cinnamon
  • 5 green cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste (simply pound 3 garlic cloves and 1 inch ginger shoot in a mortar using a pestle)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes (roughly chopped and pureed, about 3/4 cup puree)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup khoya
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), crushed fine between palms
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1 drop Kewra essence, optional
  • Ginger julines and chopped cilantro to garnish

Instructions

  • If using frozen peas, make sure they are thawed overnight. If you are using fresh peas, blanch them in a pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes.
  • Heat oil on medium heat in a heavy bottom pot. Once oil is hot, add the sliced onions. Cook onions till they brown evenly. Strain the onions from the oil using a slotted spoon.You can reserve the oil used for frying the onions and use it in curries.
  • Add the onions to a small blender jar along with yogurt and kashmiri red chili powder. Blitz to make a smooth paste. Set aside
  • Warm up ghee in a cooking pot. Add the whole spices and crackle for 30 seconds.Next, add the ginger garlic paste and cook for 30 seconds or so till you smell a nice aroma. Add the powdered spices next, add 1 tbsp water and sauté spices in oil for a minute.
  • Then add the tomato puree, sugar and salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes till you see oil seperating on the sides.
  • Stiring continously, next add the yogurt onion paste and now and cook again on medium heat till oil starts separating on sides.
  • Add blanched(or thawed) peas now and mix so that the peas are nicely coated in masala. At this point you can add few extra ginger juliennes as well. Sauté the peas with masala on low medium heat for 2-3 minutes so that they are warmed through.
  • Add the 1/3- 1/2 cup water next and mix everything. Let cook for 2-3 minutes till you see that the water is slowly bubbling. Add the crumbled khoya now. You will see that within a few minutes the khoya will melt and the sauce will appear to be milky. Keep the stove on low. Don't let come to a boil.
  • Let the curry simmer for 5 minutes on low heat till you see all the khoya has melted and its now part of the sauce. Switch off the stove and mix in the kasuri methi and garam masala. Add kewra if using.
  • Mix gently and let rest for 20 minutes before serving. Serve garnished with cilantro and ginger juliennes.

Notes

  • Peas:- You can use frozen peas in this recipe. Frozen peas that you get in stores are already blanched so you can skip that step in the recipe. Thaw the frozen peas and use them. I use fresh shelled peas that’s why I blanch them.
  • Brown Onion Paste :- Browned onions are super easy to make and you can make them a day or two ahead. Simply slice the onions and fry them in oil on medium heat. Drain and cool down. Then you can grind them with 1-2 tbsp water if needed. I often avoid using store bought onions because I find them a bit smelly, however if you love a brand, go ahead and use store bought.
  • Prepare Ahead :- You can make the masala base of the curry in advance and store refrigerated for 2 days. The masala base freezes very well for a month. When you want to make the curry, add the peas and khoya then.
  • Khoya :- As I already mentioned, I used homemade khoya. Choose good quality khoya– which means with good fat content and sweet if you are using store bought. Khoya is the main taste in this recipe so make sure you use the best kind available.
  • Variations :- Use this same recipe to make Khoya Matar Paneer or Khoya Matar Makhana(foxnuts). Simply add fried chunks of paneer and roasted makhana.
  • Cooking Oil Versus Ghee :- When I make this dish for a celebrations or festivals, I like to cook it in ghee. Else you can cook it in any neutral oil like grapeseed or avocado oil.
  • Consistency:- The ideal consistency of khoya matar is on a thicker side however its not dry.
  • Spice Level :- Khoya matar has a mellow rich taste. The curry gets its sweetness from peas and khoya. Imagine it as a fragrant spicy curry that not hot. A perfect example of the fact that spicy doesn’t mean hot 🙂
  • Leftovers :- Make this dish in the quantity that you would be able to finish same day. The leftovers don’t reheat well and the taste of curry changes.
  • Using Nut Powders :- If you want, you can use 1-2 tbsp of super fine ground nuts like almonds or cashews to the masala. They do taste awesome however I feel the dish gets too heavy so I don’t 🙂

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