Sunday, August 15, 2010

Paneer Makhani

What Indian doesn't love paneer? For that matter, what non-Indian who has tasted paneer has not fallen in love with it? Since my early childhood, paneer has held a very special place in my heart. If you present me with any dish made with paneer, you can surely bank on love at first bite! Every year for my birthday, I ask my mom to prepare her amazing palak paneer, my most favorite paneer dish made with creamed, spiced spinach and paneer cubes. I can eat paneer anytime of day, morning, noon and night, and I never tire of it because of its extreme versatility. Like tofu, paneer is quite bland on its own but takes on the flavor of whatever you combine it with. Anytime I visit a North Indian restaurant, I almost always order a paneer-based dish. Paneer makhani(paneer butter masala) ranks as an all-time favorite paneer dish found in practically all Indian restaurants. However, I had never tasted this dish in spite of my fondness for paneer. I had wanted to prepare this dish for the longest time, but, as with many others, I just never got around to it. So the other day when I decided to make paneer to use up leftover whole milk, I decided that instead of the palak paneer or paneer parathas we usually make, that I would finally try my hand at the infamous paneer makhani! Boy, oh boy, what a delight! Soft, creamy paneer smothered in a warm, spicy tomato-based gravy coupled with the richness of butter and cream! What's not to like about it? Make sure to serve it warm. I served it with onion kulchas*, but you can also serve it with naan, roti or pulao. Next time you're craving paneer and feeling in a particularly indulgent mood, treat yourself to this rich, spicy delight! But be warned, paneer makhani is an indulgence, not an everyday dish by any means!

Paneer Butter Masala (adapted vastly from Wake Up and Smell the Masala):

Paneer made from 1/2 gallon whole milk, cubed(about 2 cups)
1.5 tbsp. oil
1/2 of a large onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic
1" piece ginger
2 green chilli peppers
1/4 cup roasted cashew nuts, ground
5 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
puree of 5 tomatoes
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. coriander powder
1.5 tsp. garam masala
1 tbsp. crushed kasturi methi leaves
salt to taste, or about 1 tsp.

Heat oil in a large pan, and saute the onion over medium heat until tender and transluscent. Make a paste with the garlic, ginger and green chillis in the meantime, and add it to the onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is no longer raw. Add the tomato puree, powdered cashew nuts, coriander powder, salt and 1/2 cup of water, and let it cook for 8 minutes. Then, add the paneer and kasturi methi, and let the mixture cook for another 5 minutes. If the mixture appears too thick, add extra water as needed (I added about 1/2 cup extra). Gently stir in the heavy cream, and let it simmer for 2 minutes (Be careful not to break the paneer cubes). Remove from heat and serve hot.

*For the onion kulcha recipe, check out my post on Paneer Kulchas. The method is exactly the same, except I used no paneer and extra onion in the stuffing. Also, I used 2 cups of white whole wheat flour and one cup of all-purpose flour for the dough.

8 comments:

Swathi said...

Ameya,

Paneer Makhani looks delicious.

Priya said...

Slurppp!!droolworthy paneer makhani..

Rachana said...

Tempting paneer makhani! Looks great!

Srivalli said...

Paneer is always such a favorite right..

Aditi said...

this was sooooo good!! i'm so happy i got to eat some.

Bridgett said...

My husband would be so happy if I made dishes like this for him! Sounds and looks heavenly.

Anonymous said...

Can you post or link to the instructions for the homemade paneer?

Shanthi said...

Delicious and sure would have tasted good

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