Shahi paneer(Indian cottage cheese cubes simmered in an onion, tomato and cashewnut sauce)

IMG_2231Another vegetarian recipe in my kitty and it’s delish! This is my version of the classic Paneer tikka masala, one sees on many menus in Indian restaurants in the U.S.and elsewhere around the globe. Flavoured with aromatic Indian spices and simmered in a sauce made with fresh tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and cashewnut paste, and just a teeny bit of butter! Finished with a dash of fresh cream or half-and-half.It’s very flavourful and rich in taste, best eaten with Indian flatbreads and rice. For our dinner tonight, I have made a saffron and cumin scented basmati rice pilaf, recipe given in my next blog. And also paired it with Kulchas, a kind of Indian flatbread, which I bought ready-made, frozen, available at any Indian grocery store.

Servings 2

Ingredients:IMG_2215

Paneer- 200 grams, cut into small cubes. Also known as Indian cottage cheese, available at any Indian grocery store.

Tomato purée of 4 large tomatoes. In my recipe, I have blanched the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute. Then removed their skins and puréedthem in a blender. Add a tsp. of store bought tomato paste.

 

Onions- 1/2 cup, choppedIMG_2217IMG_2209

Chopped ginger- 1/2 tsp.

Chopped garlic- 1/2 tsp.

Cashewnut and White poppy seeds paste- 10 cashews, soaked in hot water for a few minutes, and ground along with 1/2 tsp. white poppy seeds(khus-khus), to a smooth paste.

*Garam masala powder- 1 tsp. Store bought or home-made. For home made, dry roaIMG_2218IMG_2122st the following spice – 2 tbsp. coriander seeds, 1 tbsp. cumin seeds, 1 black cardamom, 4-5 green cardamoms, 4 cloves, 8-10 peppercorns, 1 inch piece cinnamon stick, mace (it is a spice similar to nutmeg, it is the dried lace-like covering of nutmeg). Be careful not to burn spices, just a couple of minutes on medium heat. When cool, grind ina spice grinder (i use a small coffeebean grinder). Store in an airtight jar. Can be used in a variety of Indian dishes. It is also easily available at any Indian grocery store.

1 bay leaf

Canola oil- 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp.

Sugar- 1/2 IMG_2214tsp.

1/2 cup water

1 tsp. butter

Dried kasoori methi(dried fenugreek leaves)- 1 tsp. Available in small packaged boxes in any Indian grocery store. It imparts a great flavour to many Indian curries.

IMG_2211

Half-and-half(cream and milk) or fresh cream- a big dollop at the end!

Heat 1 tsp. oil over medium heat in a small fry pan. Add chopped onions and sauté over medium low heat for 8-10 minutes, till it develops a golden caramel colour. Do not burn! Add a tsp. of sugar while sautéing, to bring out the sweetness in the onions. Add ginger and garlic, sauté for a minute. Blend to a smooth paste, can add a little water. Keep aside.

Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan, over medium high heat. Add bay leaf. Add the tomato purée. Add water, bring to a boil,reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

IMG_2221Add the browned onion paste, and sauté for a couple of minutes on medium high heat. Add garam masala powder. Add the cashewnut paste. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the paneer pieces and crushed dried kasoori methi leaves. Add butter. Simmer for 5-7 minutes on low heat. Before serving, add the half-and-half or fresh cream, stir and serve piping hot!

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