During days when I do not feel like having any non-vegetarian meal, I treat myself with some Paneer in a creamy gravy curry. The non-melting attribute and meat like texture of Paneer is favored by vegetarians and is a very good substitute for meat.
Shallow fried Paneer cubes
To add a shahi touch/richness and thickness to the gravy, paneer is simmered in a cashewnut+milk puree along with yogurt and tomatoes. I have used milk instead of using cream, you can go ahead and use cream for the gravy if you want. You will definitely fall in love with this delightful paneer curry which is one my favorites.
You can use home-made Paneer,or store-bought~ easily available at Indian stores in the cold sections. Store brought ones has additives and lacks freshness, but saves time.
Shahi Paneer Masala – A Royal Cottage Cheese Curry
Yellow Onions – 2, large, roughly chopped
Canola oil – 5 tbsp
Home-made Paneer – 400 gms, cut into cubes (if using store bought, I recommend Mother-dairy brand)
Cinnamon stick – one 2″ stick
Cardamom – 2
Cloves – 2
Black peppercorns – 5
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
Cashewnuts – 1/4 cup, soaked in 3 tbsp warm milk for 30 minutes and pureed to a smooth paste
Yogurt 2% – 1/2 cup
Canned Crushed tomatoes – 185 ml (or you can also use 5 medium sized pureed tomatoes)
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Dry roasted Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Karuri Methi – 1/4 cup
Milk 2% – 1 1/2 cup
Shahi Paneer masala
1. Grind the roughly chopped onions in a blender and make a fine paste. Transfer to a bowl and keep aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the canned crushed/pureed tomatoes and yogurt and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a kadhai. Cut paneer into small cubes. Shallow fry over medium heat until light brown on all sides. Using a slotted spoon transfer the fried paneer pieces aside to a bowl.
3. In the same oil, add the cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cardamom and cloves. Fry them for a minute and add the onion paste and fry for a few minutes until the raw smell wards off and oil starts separating. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry it along for a minute. Add the cashewnut+milk paste, tomatoes+yogurt mixture, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add kasuri methi to the gravy and mix well. Add the fried paneer pieces and mix gently. Pour in milk and mix well, bring the gravy to boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the gravy becomes thick and oil separates. Serve.