This year, it looks like Winter came early to the west coast, and to add to the chill, rain seems to have become a daily ritual! I hate it when it becomes dark and gloomy when before I head out from work – its like all the energy is literally sapped out from the body and soul. The only thing that can bring a little smile on the face is the thought of some hot and comforting home-cooked meal. Something like this bowl of creamy Paneer Makhani – soft pieces of Paneer cooked in a gravy made with tomatoes, onions and cream, all brought together by the unforgettable aroma of freshly-roasted Indian spices. Warm and comforting to the core – just like homemade food should be! Serve this with some fresh Chapatis or Tandoori Naan, and you’ll be able to drive away some of that gloom from your life. Recipe and photo courtesy of Chef in You.
Paneer Masala (Shani Paneer Makhani)
2 cups paneer cubes
1 large onion,chopped coarsely
3 tbsp butter
1/2-3/4 cups tomato puree
2-3 green chillies, as per taste
3-4 cloves garlic
2 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin-coriander powder
1 tsp Tandoori masala
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup cashew paste and 8-9 raisins
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream (as needed for consistency)
Salt to taste
Mint and cilantro to garnish
In a skillet in 1/2 tsp oil, add the onion, chillies, garlic and ginger with a little salt. Saute until soft.
Transfer this mixture to the blender and blend it into a paste.
In the same skillet, add 3 tbsp of butter and then add the onion paste. Cook until butter/oil separates. If using cashew paste, add it along with this mixture now.
Add the tomato puree and all the spices. Stir well and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the raw smell of the puree disappears.
Add sugar and cook for another 5 minutes. You can at this point taste and see if you require additional salt. If yes, add more. Drop in the paneer gently and give it a toss. Cook for another 2-3 minutes for the paneer to absorb the flavors.
Lower the heat to a simmer. Then add the heavy cream. Mix well. If you want to use raisins, fry them lightly in ghee/butter separately and add it to this gravy.
Be careful to cook this in simmer before adding cream. Otherwise the heat will give it a curdled appearance! Garnish with cilantro and mint right before serving.