Growing up in Delhi, going out for a ‘North Indian’ meal typically meant an indulgent Punjabi meal – Dal Makhani, tikkas, butter chicken, naan – the works. We used to wait for these occasions so we could polish off many a naan with delicious chicken curry and dal. Very rarely did we order other vegetarian things during these meals. However, on the rare occasion that there was a vegetarian at the table, we always ordered shahi paneer. This dish totally lives up to its name – it makes you feel really royal and luxurious 🙂
I made this recently because I was craving one of those fancy dinners and was a tad homesick. It turned out just the way I remember it and made me a very happy child indeed!
It’s quite easy to make but needs some special ingredients to give it that velvety, creamy curry. Bring out the almonds and cashews you have stowed away and watch them transform simple paneer into an indulgence!
The paste is made from the dry fruits, cardamom, onions, tomatoes and green chilli, fried off in some ghee till cooked. The aroma is enough to make you drool, trust me!
Make sure the paste is nice and smooth so that the curry is the perfect texture.
Some more aromats like cumin, cloves and cinnamon are toasted before adding the paste back into the pan to cook down along with ginger-garlic paste, adding more depth of flavour.
The curry becomes even more smooth and creamy with the addition of some yoghurt and letting it all cook down nicely before adding the paneer. Some people fry off the paneer a little before adding to to the curry, but I skip this because I like the natural creamy feel of the paneer and not th fried version. I also skip adding more cream at the end because I think this curry is creamy enough without it and I don’t need the extra fat 🙂
Once the paneer is cooked for 3-4 minutes, let the curry rest, garnish with coriander and serve with chapati or paranthas or naan. Get ready for a mouth watering meal 🙂
This made me feel like a little bit of Delhi and my childhood was in Bangalore. I highly recommend you try this out 🙂
500g paneer – cubed
6 green cardamom (choti elaichi)
2 green chillies – split
4 medium onions – chopped
3 tomatoes – chopped
1 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
6 cloves (laung)
2-3 inches cinnamon
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 cup curd (not sour)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1.5 tsp garam masala
1 cup water
3 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste
Fresh Coriander for garnish
- Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pan. Add the cashews, almonds and cardamom. Lightly fry till the cashews are golden brown
- Add the onions and green chillies and cook for 5-6 minutes till the onions become soft and translucent
- Add tomatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes till they become mushy and soft, releasing ol from the sides. Let the mixture cool completely and then blitz till you get a smooth paste
- Wipe the pan clean and then heat 2 tbsp ghee in it
- Add the cumin, cloves and cinnamon and saute till the cumin starts to splutter
- Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for 1-2 minutes till the raw smell goes away
- Pour the onion-tomato-nuts paste into the pan along with turmeric and red chilli powder. Fry for 5-6 minutes and add salt to taste
- Whisk the curd in a separate bowl and add it slowly to the pan. Keep the heat low while doing so to avoid splitting the curd. Keep whisking the mixture in the pan as you add the curd
- Mix well and cook for 8-10 minutes till the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan
- Pour in the water and cook till it all combines well and you get a nice, thick curry. Adjust salt
- Add the cubed paneer to the curry , cover each piece well. Cook for 3-4 minutes
- Switch off the heat and let it rest for 3-4 minutes then transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander