Indian curries are as versatile as the country itself. Every region you go has their own interpretation of a popular recipe. Take Paneer Masala, for example – depending on where you go, you’ll find several versions, ranging from simple onion or tomato-based gravy to a rich and exotic Mughlai-style curry made with cashews and raisins. The Kaju Paneer Masala that I share with you today is one such rich, creamy and high-calorie adaptation of this popular Indian Curry recipe.
Cashews and poppy seeds combine with the staple onions and tomatoes to form the base of this curry, Add to that a cup full or cream and full-fat milk, along with Paneer, simmered in aromatic spices like Garam Masala and Kasuri Methi, and you’ll son end up with an Indian curry that is fit to be fed to the royalty, or Moghals, as they referred to kings and queens that ruled over India a long time ago!
Now, this is a wonderful recipe to impress your Indian guests at a dinner, but that does not mean that you cannot include it in your normal weekend meals. For a low-calorie toned out version, just substitute cream with half-and-half, and use low-fat milk. Lower the cashews to half the quantity and use some greek-style yogurt to thicken your gravy. All in all, I urge you to give this a try, because you can hardly go wrong with any Paneer recipe.
Kaju Paneer Makhanwala
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
2 cups packed shredded Paneer(Cottage Cheese) – How To Make Paneer
1 cup fresh cream (malai)
1 cup cashewnuts + more for garnish
1 large or 2 small onions – chopped fine
2 medium to large tomatoes – pureed
1″ long piece ginger
4 – 5 cloves garlic
1 cup milk
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric (Haldi)
1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tbsp poppy seeds (khuskhus)
2 tbsp ghee(clarified butter) or oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh green coriander
2 cups water
Prepping Ingredients for Gravy
Puree the tomatoes and set aside. Soak the cashews and poppy seeds in water for about 30 minutes. Once done, blend them together to form a smooth paste, not too smooth, not too coarse. Grate the paneer and keep ready.
Making the Gravy
Heat clarified butter or oil in a pan. Add the ginger, garlic and onions and let them sweat out until light pink and translucent in color. Now add the tomato puree to this; season with salt, chilli powder, garam masala and turmeric. Allow the spices to infuse flavor into the mixture.
Then add the cashewnut paste and mix well, for about 2 minutes. Now LOWER the gas flame to a Simmer, and add the paneer and cream to this mixture. Stir slowly as to combine it all, without breaking it up. Add the Kasuri methi and half of the chopped cilantro. Let it cook for about 10 minutes.
When the gravy is almost ready, add the milk, keeping the flame on Simmer or very low setting; this is important, otherwise your milk might curdle. You can even take it off the flame, mix in the milk, then put it back on the gas. Now add water (about 1 1/2-2 cups) as needed to achieve the desired gravy consistency.
Heat through while stirring for another 1 minute, then take it off the flame. Before serving, garnish it with some chopped coriander and whole cashew pieces, Serve hot with Naan, Paratha or Rice.
This is a wonderful main-course recipe to feature on an Indian Menu. Plus, its real easy to make, and you could even make it a day ahead of time and it would not lose its luster. All that cream and cheese and cashews are put to good use, so you get the best Indian flavor in every bite. Sending this over to Lisa for her Celebration of Indian Food event.