Punjabi Onion Tomato Gravy Masala/Express Meal Matar Paneer

I am having fun participating in Shaheen’s event of Express Summer Cooking. How I wish all my meals were express meals because I hate being in the kitchen for long.

The express meal I made is Matar Paneer and Roti with raw onion roundels and lemon on the side. Now you must be wondering whats so express in it. I totally rely on this menu when I am in a hurry.

This meal was possible because of the Punjabi onion tomato gravy I make and refrigerate. I freeze paneer and keep frozen peas handy. Atta ( whole wheat flour dough) is mostly ready and kept in the fridge.

This time I made the dough fresh to check if I could finish within the time limit πŸ™‚

It really consumes lot of time when the gravy is made on gas stove. So generally I avoided making it. Just can’t stand the heat of the stove for so long.

I have always been told toΒ  BHUNNO the MASALA well.

Bhunno how long no one would tell. (I used to stop when the tomato was pulpy and specks of oil were visible on top.)

Then one of my friends Β  told me in one line Bhunno till the masala gets a Coca Cola colour. There I finally had the shade card ready. Since then I bhunno ( saute) till the masala is a dry paste and gets that shade card colour :D.

Mostly all the water content is eliminated from the masala and I store this gravy lump in the refrigerator it self safely for 8 days.No freezing it. I just scoop out as much as I require.

I have been following this method, my gravy has a rich colour and the ginger garlic does not taste harsh half cooked type. It has a subtle taste.

When Coffee posted her onion tomato gravy I just casually commented that I will try making it in a Microwave.

Since then I have been making this gravy religiously in the microwave. There is only one disadvantage and many advantages.

One disadvantage is that it takes nearly the same time to cook as it would take on a stove .

Advantages are many-

You can control the amount of oil. I use just about 1 Tbsp to roast 500 gms of onions. I can never do that on stove even if I use non stick pan.

Microwaving , gives you enough time to do other things.While on stove I had to be alert and keep stirring.

The onions become evenly golden brown. Towards the last you have to reduce the cooking time and be alert though.

At the end you need to clean just one bowl. There is no mess no splatter of oil .

The taste is same just like you make it on gas stove. No difference at all.

You make this gravy once and enjoy the whole week.

For recipe to cook the gravy in microwave click HERE.


So armed with this gravy, frozen peas and frozen paneer, I dance my way into the kitchen confidently.

Now if you do not have frozen peas or paneer you can substitute with mix vegees or simply potatoes.


This is how I did it

0-8 minutes

I put the slice of frozen paneer and the frozen peas in two separate bowls along with plain water to thaw.

I kneaded the atta dough.

Put the peas to cook in a pan along with some water.

8-13 minutes

Chopped the coriander leaves and onion roundels along with a lemon.

Chopped the paneer into pieces.

Put the tawa on the gas stove to heat.

13-16 minutes

The peas were cooked by now.

Added the gravy masala paste, salt, garam masala /or any masala of your choice.I love to put chana masala try it.

Added the paneer pieces and 1 Tbsp tomato ketchup to give a tangy taste.( this tip I over heard in a North Indian wedding when ladies were gossiping about food)

Also added a pinch of kasuri methi.The sabzi is ready.

16-30 minutes

Now I made the rotis .

The meal was ready to serve.

If the dough was already made and stored in the fridge, I would have saved on time.

There are times when there is no ready dough in the fridge.

So to see whether I could complete the meal in such situations I chose to make a fresh dough πŸ™‚

This is my entry for Shaheen’s Express summer Cooking.



  1. I never prefer to do MW cooking. Liked your description…may be I should start cooking in it.
    Lovely side dish. Really tempting. Nice combo and great entry !

    I was like you. I refused to buy one all these years. Now that I have it I feel I can’t do without it.
    Thanx Seec πŸ™‚

  2. Clap clap clap!!!! Great express meal…… and the gravy is gonna be in the microwave next time for me too! πŸ˜€

    Haaa haa your posts always inspire me to try something new. Thanx Coffee πŸ™‚

  3. Thank you for the real express meal.I have a query.Whenever i thaw the frozen paneer, it crumbles and i end up making parathas or sweets.Can you suggest any remedy?btw,do you have any recipe using crumbled paneer which does’nt look yucky?I have two fussy children to please you know.

    Once it happened with me too. I feel you should try cutting into required size pieces and freezing them. Instead of thawing just try putting directly into the hot gravy. First put one piece into the hot gravy, for trial.Let it cook for few minutes and see what happens.
    I have a few recipes on crumbled paneer will definitely post it πŸ™‚
    Thanx Satya for visiting my blog:)

  4. I don’t think I ever got Coca-Cola colour for any gravy!!!

    Even I never cooked till that colour before. my friends always disapproved of my curry paste. No one would guide me.I was lucky that girl told me the real secret πŸ™‚

  5. Hey Archana, that’s a nice entry.
    One question.. how do u cook with oil in the microwave? I never use the microwave except for reheating or cooking rice regularly or steaming/thawing veggies.

    TBC Hi, you cook in micro vegees with oil as you would do on the stove.You should NEVER deep fry in a microwave. I do not make tadka in micro , but make the tadka on the stove and add it to the raw vegees in the micro safe bowl. I have seen cookery books who advise on making tadka , ie rai jeera oil etc in a covered bowl.I have never tried that.
    For the gravy I just mixed 1 Tbsp oil plus jeera plus onions in a bowl and proceeded to micro.No I did not cover the bowl.
    Today my wordpress a/c is taking too long to open so I thought of answering your queries here πŸ™‚

  6. archana, can’t you thaw the paneer and peas in the microwave as well? a tip for preventing crumbly paneer – cut into cubes and broil or lightly fry it before freezing. i have a primer on how to broil paneer on my blog.

    Bee I have never thawed paneer in micro after an unsuccessful attempt at thawing frozen dal πŸ˜€ I will just check the tips on broiling paneer on your blog Thanx πŸ™‚

  7. I can’t believe you made rotis and subzi under 30 minutes. That’s really an expressive meal. I usually have chapati dough in my refrigerator. Even then I would not dare to prepare this for the event.
    Thanks for the tips. I cook the frozen peas with a little water for a minute in MW and they will be done.

    Suma, try it is possible:) yes I too cook the peas in the micro but that day it just slipped out of my mind πŸ˜‰

  8. WOW!! You are faster than me girl!:)
    Both looks yummy.I love big chunks of paneer there.Great entry!:)

    Thanx Asha . No No Asha I am certainly not as efficient as you are πŸ™‚ You are superb:)

  9. That sure is quick cooking …. mattar paneer takes a long time to cook on stove top.

    If the gravy is ready and kept in the fridge it can be made fast πŸ™‚

  10. Archana, Like the new look of ur blog πŸ™‚ Nice ebtry for express!!!

    Yes even I liked the look of my blog πŸ™‚ Change is always welcome. Thanx Aruna:)

  11. bhunno till you get the shade.. heh heh . that was a good one. and your menu ..that is super-express not ‘just’ express..

    on a different note :

    i don’t know if it is me .. but i have read in several sites the hazards of microwave cooking .. it is so convenient i can’t get myself to not use microwave but i always keep thinking of those contents in the said website …


    Thanx Mythili for visiting my blog πŸ™‚ That shade coca cola colour is really funny no πŸ™‚
    Even I have read about the hazards of using a microwave, so all these years I did not buy it πŸ™‚
    Now that I have it I just can’t do without it.I just make sure long cooking is done at 600W so the fear of nutrients getting destroyed is less.

  12. This is a very helpful and informative post, Archana! I love the idea of the cola shade-card πŸ™‚ Very clever!

    Thanx Nupur πŸ™‚ I will never forget those golden words coca cola colour πŸ˜€

  13. coca cola colour?!!! i cannot get myself to stand over gas for that long!!!

    apparently some recipes like dal makhni when made the authentic way take upto 8 hours to get the right taste, shade and consistency

    Thats true Lakshmi, hard work pays πŸ˜€
    Surprisingly micro took the same time πŸ™‚

  14. I had been thinking about this ready gravy base today in the morning when I was making the same for tomato rice..And to my surprise I see it here.Even I thought of adopting your gravy base you ahd posted earlier in RCI,,:)..Love the indian bread and the Chat pat paneer mutter curry:)..

    Thanx Bharathy πŸ™‚ me too I love this menu πŸ™‚

  15. Hi archana,
    One more enrty! Great yaar. I just love to use the microwave as it saves so much time. We can cook while watching a movie.Not much attention is required.

    You have tempted me to send one more entry.

    Very true microwave rocks πŸ™‚ Do send more entries πŸ™‚

  16. i was shocked when u said matar paneer and roti as express meal πŸ˜‰ now i know why…

    Haaa hhaa hha I am specialist in short cut meals πŸ˜€

  17. hi, dancing in the kitchen is what we need πŸ™‚ heh!heh!
    tuzhi meal ekdum express ahey, looks great. Me pan gravy fridge madhye thevtey!
    matar paneer, roti ani kanda, perfect meal ahey. tuzhi micro recipe try kareen.
    btw, mazhey kaan pan sagli kadey tips sathi utsuk astat πŸ˜‰
    don/teen divas blogging nahi kela, ekdum miss kele, thanks sweetie!

    I wish cooking was not so complicated :D)))
    Kal ratri parat hach menu hota. Jevhan kahi suchat nahi hey meal karte. Vegli dal pun karavi nahi lagat πŸ™‚ Sagle khush astat πŸ™‚
    Mala pun blogging chi habit zali ahey. Tula blogosphere madhye baghitle nahi tar thod vichitra watat hote :)))

  18. ARCHU,did you notice one thing?..That girl right up there(SIA) has just awarded(passed on)you the SCHMOOZER award!!!!!!:D..Congraats in advance!!!..you really deserve it baby..:)

    Thanx Bharathy πŸ™‚ You are very very sweet πŸ™‚

  19. sweetie, i have got something special stored for u at my place. come n collect when u get time:)

    thanx a million Sups. you are too sweet πŸ™‚

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