Cooking has always been so therapeutic to me. These days I spend less time in kitchen, but cooking still rules the list of things I love to do for myself! I have come a long way from the days where I would cook fancy and elaborate meals with complex ingredients. These days mostly I cook things that are simple and yet flavourful. I try and choose the ingredients carefully to explore new flavour and cuisines. And this recipe of today, has lots of everything.
There are like thousands of recipes which we can try with Paneer. Its such a versatile ingredient which can be used in almost every cuisine and course from spicy and savoury to luscious desserts. People mostly like to order rich Paneer dishes when in a restaurant like Kadhai paneer but I prefer simpler dishes where I can add in more vegetables to make a healthier and nutritionally balanced meal.
I was watching “Turban tadka” a few days ago, a food show hosted by Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi. He is a master of Punjabi cuisine and I love all is recipes. In one of the episodes, he showed the recipe to make this Paneer makhani. It was hard for me to believe that such simple dish could taste so good as he was advising. So I decided to give it a go. And mark my words- This is one of the best paneer recipes EVER.
The ingredient list is so short you wouldn’t believe it at first. I hardly ever make Paneer without onion, but the absence of it doesn’t show up at all. The star of the dish is tomato which makes the silky smooth gravy base so delectable. I have used the same gravy base in my recipe for Mix Veg Butter masala before, which was very much appreciated and loved by everyone.
The taste is slightly sweet due to the addition of sugar and no pungent spices used. But its not like those overly sweet Shahi Paneer dishes we get in restaurant, rather very subtle. A friend of mine added some tomato ketchup as well to the recipe, but I wouldn’t do it since that makes it sweet artificially sweet.
The dish goes fabulously with naan, roti or plain rice as a side, and I can even have it on its own. I highly recommend to follow the recipe to the T without making any tweaks of your own. I am sure you will love the simple yet exotic taste of the recipe and it will shine through in your parties and get togethers.
Recipe Source: Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi
Serves : 4-6 people
Cuisine: Punjabi, Indian
Overall cooking time: 30-40 minutes.
What you need?
- ½ kg Paneer, cut lengthwise
For the gravy:
- 1 kg ripe red tomatoes
- 7-8 green Cardamoms
- 1 sprig of Mace (Javithri)
- 1 ½ tsp salt OR to taste
- 2 tsp Red Chili powder
- 6-7 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp Sugar
- ½ cup double cream (full fat cream)
- 4- 5 green chilies, chopped into juliennes
- 1 Large piece of Ginger, chopped thin lengthwise
- About ¼ tsp salt OR to taste
- 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
How to make?
Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a pan, and sauté Paneer bites for 3-4 minutes at low flame. Keep aside
Heat 5 tbsp of butter in the same pan, and throw in cardamom pods and mace. Fry for a minutes and then add chopped tomatoes. Cook for around 10-12 minutes until the tomatoes get all mushy. Add salt and red chilli powder. Mix and cook for a few minutes and turn off the flame.
Let the paste cool down a bit and then blend in a mixer. Strain it well in a bowl, keep it aside.
Now, for the gravy, Heat 1 tbsp of oil with 2 tbsp of Butter in the pan and add ginger and green chilli juliennes. Fry them for a minute and then add the paneer cubes, sauté for 5-6 minutes. Add tomato purée now and cook further for about 7-8 minutes. Add cream and sugar and simmer further for 4-5 minutes. Turn off the flame.
Add garam masala powder & kasuri methi and mix. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with Naan or Rice aside.
I have made this dish both with and without garlic, and no onion at all. I like it both ways, but since I adore garlic I would prefer to make it with garlic. If you wish to use it too, add it in the tomato gravy with cardamom pods and before tomatoes. Fry it for a minute and then add tomatoes.
My husband tends to think that this a bit sweet gravy, and he is not always up for it. I like it as it is, but if you also don’t prefer to have this sweetish flavour, skip the sugar.
You may avoid cream totally, but it wont give the smooth texture to the dish then. In replacement, you may use 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tbsp of corn flour and then add to the gravy. It yields similar texture, but of course the taste is better when you use cream.
I have cut Paneer cubes in rectangular shapes only for the look, you may chop it any shape or size.