“Paneer” is the Indian Cottage Cheese, used maximum in authentic North Indian Cuisine. There are heaps of dishes using this milky, creamy, soft and rich cheese which is very simple to make at home as well. Honestly, paneer does not have its own taste since it is made using only 1 ingredient which is milk vand hence its use is wide enough to make curries, sweet dishes, snacks, finger foods, Indian stuffed breads etc. Isn’t that exciting!! Here’s a simple curry recipe which I have noticed is mostly famous among people and its called Shahi Paneer. The word Shahi means Regal/Royal/Imperial and hence the dish carries all those rich ingredients within that do represent on its look when on plate as well as on our tongues when we taste!! So lets get started….
Recipe: (serves 2)
250 gm paneer, diced
3 tbsp butter
1 Onion, diced
1 tbsp ginger and green chili paste
4 Tomatoes, diced
1 Green capsicum, diced
2 whole dry red chili
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp dried and powdered fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi)
1/2 tsp blend of ground spices (Garam Masala)
2-3 strands of saffron, dissolved in water
cream and fresh coriander to garnish
salt to taste
We start making the gravy for the dish which is the main source of taste. Take a pan and heat the butter mild. As it becomes warm, add the dry red chili, cardamom and onions and let them cook till they become translucent. Translucent here is a state where every layer of the diced onions starts separating. Further, add the capsicum and tomatoes, mix everything well and cook them covering the pan with a lid. The tomatoes and capsicum both have a tendency to release water when they cook so we consider them cooked when they shrink and release water. Add salt, blend of ground spices, and the ginger-chili paste. Mix well and put it off the flame. allow it to cool and then blend very well in a mixture to make a smooth, rich gravy. Pour the gravy into the same pan and let it boil. add yogurt, fenugreek leaves, saffron and around 1/4th cup of water. Mix and allow to boil. Finally, add the diced paneer and mix. Cover with a lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes and that’s it!! The delicious curry is ready as soon as you further garnish it with cream and coriander. Yummmm….
Paneer is easily available in Indian stores. Else, you can boil diced potatoes and then fry them OR add Tofu. Add them to this gravy with some green peas and it will taste good.
Whole dry red chili can be replaced with red chili powder. If blend of ground spices is not available, its fine. Try to manage the dry fenugreek leaves, they are available in stores since this gives a typical taste. If not available, its fine to skip.
Ginger-chili paste can be skipped, add more quantity of red chili to balance the spicy taste. Red chili is for the bright red color so prefer not to leave it.
Yogurt can be replaced with around 2 tbsp of thick cream.
Dice the paneer as shown in the picture above, that is small cubes not too big nor thick but medium size which makes it cook and absorb the gravy well.