Paneer Butter Masala - Paneer Makhanwala
I've been to a few restaurants that make this dish so perfectly, and that perfection is what I aimed at. I went through many recipes but none of the recipes appealed to me. I therefore mixed and matched ingredients, proportions and the method to my liking and to my utter joy what I put on the table had my family going ‘ummm’ with satisfied look on their face. It doesn't get any better than this!
300 gms paneer/cottage cheese
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons butter + 1 teaspoon butter
2 medium sized onions, chopped into 8-10 pieces
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
3 large tomatoes
15 cashew nuts
1/3rd cup milk
2 green chilies, slit, deseeded n cut into juliennes
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon red Kashmiri chili powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon garam masala powder
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi
½ cup cream
1 cup warm water
1-2 tablespoons coriander leaves (reserve some for garnish)
- Cut cottage cheese into 1-1½ inch pieces, in desired shape.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil, add the cottage cheese pieces and lightly fry them.
- Remove when done and soak the cottage cheese pieces in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes. Drain. Keep aside. (This ensures that the cottage cheese remains soft.)
- Dry roast kasoori methi on a griddle/tava. Cool and gently crush into a powder with your fingers. Keep aside.
- Make a cross on the top of each tomato and blanch them in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Remove.
- Peel and chop of the eye of the tomato. Puree in a blender. Keep aside.
- Soak cashew nuts in milk for 10 minutes. Using the same milk, grind them to a smooth semi-thick paste. Use as much milk as needed and keep the rest aside.
- Grind the onions and the ginger-garlic paste to a fine paste.
- Add butter to the oil in which the cottage cheese pieces were fried and heat.
- Splutter cumin seeds. Add juliennes of green chilies, the onion/ginger-garlic paste mix and sauté till the raw smell of the onion evaporates and the mixture begins to turn light brown.
- Add the tomato puree and cook till the raw tomato smell evaporates. Allow the gravy to thicken till oil separates.
- Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, sugar, salt and sauté for a minute.
- Add one cup of warm water and cook for 6-8 minutes till gravy thickens and oil separates.
- Remove the vessel from the stove. Cool for about 5-10 minutes.
- Add the cashew paste (with the remaining milk, if any), kasoori methi powder, coriander leaves and give it a good stir to blend it well into the gravy. Add the drained cottage cheese pieces, put back on low flame to simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Add cream and simmer for a minute more on very low flame.
- Garnish with the remaining coriander leaves, 1 teaspoon butter and a wee bit of cream (optional)
- Serve hot with naan or paratha.
- Feel free to soak the paneer directly in warm water, without frying it if you so wish.
- This is a dish high in calories so make it for special occasions so that you don’t have to stint on the good stuff like cream and butter.
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