Paneer makhani is a popular curry from the northern states of India. Add fresh home-made paneer or cottage cheese to a simmering hot blend of onions-cashews and tomatoes. Crushed kasuri methi lends that mesmerizing aroma, which fills your home with such love, that neighbors know you are cooking something special. Its a great accompaniment with naan, chappati, rice or simply toasted bread.
Top on the husband’s list of favorites, it’s a sure winner every time I make this. Ideal for sunday lunches and on party menus. I make it rarely as it is loaded with butter and cashews and FAT. But whenever I do, the family pigs out.
I don’t use any artificial coloring agent, but instead I chose red ripe tomatoes and the chili powder I used was naturally bright red but low on the heat. That kind of chili powder is called ‘kashmiri chili powder’. I even avoided the ‘garam masala’, as we have used whole spices instead.
- 200 gms paneer, diced into neat big pieces
- 3 onions, chopped
- 6-7 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small tiny piece of ginger
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- a fistful of cashew nuts
- 1 cardamom
- 2 cloves
- 1 small stick of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp red chili powder or according to taste
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp crushed kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves.
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp butter
- salt according to taste
- 1 small capsicum or green bell pepper, sliced
- chopped coriander to garnish
Heat oil in a kadai/pan. When hot, throw in garlic, ginger, onions, cashews and the whole spices. Add little salt, cover with lid and let it cook. After 5-6 minutes, add tomatoes, along with the dry masala powders – turmeric, red chili and coriander. Now cover again and cook for 10-15 minutes, taking care to keep mixing it in between. It should be cooked well enough for the oil to leave sides. Once done, cool the mixture.
Then with the help of milk, grind the cooled onion tomato mix to a fine smooth orange paste. In another pan, heat butter, saute the sliced capsicums. Once almost done, add this orange gravy, and let it simmer for a minute. Sprinkle crushed kasuri (fenugreek) leaves and salt. Mix well. Add the diced paneer. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve along with onion ring salad.
Ideally served with super soft rotis or naans. Any kind of bread or rice also goes well with this flavorful curry.
Note: If you like, slightly saute the paneer in butter and add them to the gravy. But I added them as it is. This is a rich full fat curry, did not want to add more.