Sunday, 10 July 2011

Makhani Paneer

Dating back to Ancient times paneer remains the most common type of cheese used in traditional South Asian cuisines .Paneer was originally eaten in the area that today encompasses Iran, India and Pakistan by the nomads .The nomads carried it with them in camel skin bags , and was used as a substitute for meat as it's very high in protein .Paneer is a good source of calcium, which in later years helps prevent osteoporosis. 

Unlike most cheeses in the world, the making of paneer does not involve rennet as the coagulation agent,thus making it completely lacto-vegetarian and providing one of the main sources of protein for vegetarians .
Makhani Paneer as the very name suggests is paneer cooked in a very rich ( tomato ) gravy . This is perhaps one of the best Makhani Paneer I have eaten - the mace gives the gravy an amazing flavor.

500 Grams Paneer cubed to desired size .

The Gravy:

800 Grams Tomatoes 
7-10 Mace Flowers .
7 Green Cardamon ( crushed )

Boil ( low heat and covered ) the above in 1 cup of water for about 15 minutes , when cool with a slotted spoon carefully remove the tomatoes onto a plate . Peel and discard the shriveled skins , if some remain , it's also okay .
From the water used to boil the tomatoes discard the mace and cardamons .and puree the tomatoes with the water used to boil the tomatoes.

In 100 Grams Ghee / Butter put in 1 inch stick of cinnamon till it turns brown , then add 1/2 teaspoon Ajwain /Carom Seeds and 10 seconds later add :
1 Tablespoon Ginger Paste .
1Tablespoon Garlic Paste
1 Medium Sized Onion Chopped Fine

Saute the above till onions are translucent , then add the tomato puree , cook covered on a very low flame till it all reduces to 1/2  , this will take about 30 minutes , you should be left with a semi thick gravy .
Now add  :
1/2 teaspoon Jeera Powder
1 Teaspoon Dhania / Corrinader Powder ,
1 Teaspoon Red Kashmiri Mirch ( for color )
1 tablespoon Sugar.
2/3d Teaspoon Garam Masaala
1 Teaspoon Kasoori Methi.
Salt To Taste .

Cook 1-2 minutes to blend all flavors . Then take the cubed paneer and ' fry ' in the gravy for 2-3 minutes . 

When well coated stir in 100 Cream , adjust flavors , you can add a bit of Lemon Juice . Garnish with Green Coriander and slit green chillies .
Note - when you add the cream , stir constantly and on low heat as the cream shouldn't boil , just heat up slightly ! 
As I type I feel like taking a hot roti or naan and wiping the gravy clean ! Enjoy .

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