Paneer Makhani/ Paneer Butter Masala
EVENT: SHHH COOKING SECRETLY
THEME: PUNJABI CUISINE
Land of the Golden Temple, land of lassi, land of golden wheat, the land of the five rivers that is Punjab. Its the area where first civilization flourished around 2500BC, The Indus Civilization. Punjab is named after the five rivers, “Punj” means five and “aab” means water in Persian. The five rivers are Beas, Ravi, Chenab, Sutlej and Jehlum. Sikhism was founded in Punjab. Guru Nanak Dev laid the foundation of Sikhism in the late 15th Century. Did you know that Punjab and Haryana share the same capital city, Chandigarh? I didn’t till I read up a bit about Punjab.
A state of colorful festivals and dances, then food from that place has to be awesome. Punjabi Cuisine is the most popular cuisine worldwide compared to other cuisines of India. Any Indian restaurant will serve naan, kulchas, makhani dal, paneer butter masala, palak paneer, paneer tikka, tadka dal, chose, tandoori chicken, machli Amritsari, and the famous lassi. Punjabi cuisine is well known for its rich buttery gravies, tandoori cooking, and wheat, rice, dairy products are staples in their daily diet along with greens and other vegetables, fish and chicken.
If you ask me what my best Punjabi food is then it has to be the Karma Prashad served at the Gurudwara. We all make semolina or sooji halwa at home but it doesn’t taste as good as the one made in the Gurudwaras. I remember whenever we’d travel down from Nairobi to Makindu Gurudwara on Sundays, I’d want a generous helping of the prasad. Not that the makhani dal and hot rotis were not delicious.
Punjabis are well known for feeding their guests excessively. My dad’s friend use to be like that. He’d keep on filling our plates event hough we’d protest and say we’re full. His reply always would be “young people need to grow so eat on, eat on”. If only he could see me now 😉 he’d definitely recommend that I go on a diet.
When Punjabi Cuisine was announced on our Shhh Cooking Secretly group, I didn’t want to miss this famous cuisine and thought that by hook or crook will make something. Thankfully, I managed. I’m in Florida right now and my sister in law requested that I make something ‘nice’ for my nephew. Makhani Paneer it was and she had all the ingredients at hand. My partner Priya who blogs at The World Through My Eyes, gave me paneer and tomato as my secret ingredients. The tussle was between paneer tikka and makhani paneer. You’ve got to check out Priya’s blog for some good recipes and what I like most is when she writes about places, restaurants and product reviews. I gave Priya Cream and Kashmiri chili powder as her secret ingredients. She made delicious creamy Dal Makhani with those ingredients.
PANEER MAKHANI/PANEER BUTTER MASALA
500g paneer, cut into cubes
1½ cup chopped onion
10-12 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 inch ginger piece, chopped
2-3 green chilis, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp kasuri methi
¼ cup cashew nut powder
½ cup fresh cream
1- 1½ cup water
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- Heat oil and butter in a wide pan over medium heat.
- Add the paneer cubes, make a single layer and let the paneer cook on one side till it becomes light golden in colour.
- Flip each piece over and cook till it becomes light golden in colour. Remove the paneer using a slotted spoon from the pan and keep it on the side. Make sure you don’t remove the melted butter and oil.
- In the same pan add cinnamon, cloves, peppercorn. As soon as they begin to sizzle, add mustard and cumin seeds.
- When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the chopped onions.
- Stir fry the onion till it becomes light brown.
- Add garlic, ginger and chilis. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
- Add kasuri methi, turmeric and chili powder.
- Mix well and add the chopped tomatoes.
- Lower the heat and let the tomatoes cook till they become soft and mushy.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- Transfer the onion tomato mixture into a blender. Add water and blend to a smooth paste.
- Put the pan over low heat. Add the cashew nut powder and stir fry it for a few seconds.
- Add the pureed gravy and mix well.
- Add salt, cardamom, cumin and coriander powders. Mix well.
- Let the gravy cook till it becomes thick. Make sure you stir it occasionally so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the paneer and cream. Mix well gently.
- Let it simmer for a further 5 minutes over low heat. If it becomes too thick at a little bit more water.
- Add chopped coriander and serve it with your favorite naan, roti or paratha. We enjoyed it with hot rotis.
- You can use the cubed paneer without cooking or frying it.
- If you buy readymade paneer and its a bit hard, soften it a bit by soaking it in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
- I used cream to make the gravy thick and creamy, you may skip the cream all together or use less of it.
- Though the ingredient list seems lengthy, its quite easy to make the curry.
- If you use garam masala then you can omit cloves, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom.
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Shhh Cooking Secretly a group started by Priya of Priya’s Versatile Recipes, is where every month food bloggers are paired up and give each other 2 secret ingredients to cook with according to the theme chosen. If you’re interested in joining this exciting group then please leave a message in the comment section. Thank you.