A rich Indian dish that can grace any special occasion, paneer is cooked in creamy makhni sauce. In this gravy cashewnuts add that shahi or royal touch. Delicately flavoured with aromatic spices the sauce is full of flavours from tomatoes, butter, cashewnuts and cream. It does come with its share of calories, but one bite and you will realize it is all worth it. Freezing a batch of makhani sauce comes in handy as you can dish up a number of delicious versions of this dish, using vegetables or grilled of paneer.
A rich paneer dish that is apt to serve on special occasions is shahi paneer. It is a rich, onion-cashew nut paneer gravy dish that makes for a flavorful side with roti, naan, kulcha, paratha or pulao. The key to this fragrant curry is to use blanched onions and freshly ground spices. Usually tomato and turmeric powder are avoided to lend the dish a white shade.
Prep time: 15 min, Cook time: 40 min Serves: 5
Main Ingredients: paneer
Paneer – 1 1/2 cups, soak in warm water for 15 mts
Onion – 1, very large, blanched and pureed
Tomato – 1, large, blanced and pureed (optional)
Green chili-ginger paste – 2 tsps (2 green chilies+1/2″ ginger piece)
Bay leaf – 1
Cinnamon stick – 1″
Black cardamom – 1
Cashew nuts – 8, soaked in 1/4 cup milk and ground to a paste
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Malai or fresh cream – 2 tbsps
Yogurt – 1/4 cup, thick and beaten smooth
Kasuri methi – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Oil – 1 1/2 tbsps
Ghee – 1 1/2 tbsps
Coriander leaves – 3 tbsps, for garnish
Salt to taste
Dry roast for 2-3 mts and grind to a fine powder:
Coriander Seeds – 1 tsp
Green cardamoms – 3
Black peppercorns – 6
Clove – 1
Cinnamon stick – 1/2″ piece
Blanch the onions and grind to make a paste. If using tomato, blanch it and grind to a paste. Set aside. (I have provided the link on how to blanch onions above)
Grind cashew nuts along with the milk to a smooth paste and set aside.
Heat oil and ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel. Once hot, add the bay leaf, cinnamon and black cardamom.
Add the ground onion paste and saute for 6 mts.
Add ginger-green chili paste, turmeric powder and kasuri methi and saute for 4 mts. Add the tomato puree and cook for 6-7 mts.
Add the cashew nut paste, mix well and cook for a mt. Add the beaten curd and mix well. Add a cup of water and allow to simmer for 4 mts on low flame.
Add paneer cubes and mix gently. Simmer for 8-10 minutes and add the ground garam masala powder and mix. Finally add the fresh cream and mix. Turn off flame and allow the curry to rest for 15 mts.
Remove to a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve warm with kulcha, butter naan, roti or pulao.