Friday, 17 August 2012

"Shahi Paneer" or Royal Cottage Cheese

"Shahi" means Royal. "Shahi Paneer" is a very old and traditional North Indian/Punjabi side-dish. It used to be a dish prepared for royal feasts and it is this dish that later got modified and became the current day "Paneer Butter Masala".
Cooking Shahi Paneer perfectly is supposed to be an art. In olden days the culinary skills of a newly married bride in the North Indian States used to be judged by how well she could cook this dish.
Even today there are lot of Mother's-In-Law who still believe that if her Daughter-In-Law can cook a delicious Shahi Paneer then she is good in cooking everything. Such is the significance of this dish.
From the day I started cooking, I have always been thinking about cooking this dish but never really tried it, for the fear of being judged by none other than myself.
But a few months back, I finally managed to crack the perfect recipe and make the perfect "Shahi Paneer" and believe me this is no rocket science, its easy as any other dish...if you follow my recipe.

So make this dish if you want to impress someone with your cooking! or may be just to impress yourself as to how good a cook you are!
Serves 3

Cottage Cheese or Paneer - 250 gms
Tomatoes - 3 - chopped
Onion - 1 - chopped
Cashew nuts - 10 - ground to paste
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Garlic - 2 cloves
Green chilly - 1
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
Ghee or Butter - 4 tbsp

Cream - 1/4 cup
Coriander leaves - chopped - for garnishing

Cut the paneer into big pieces. 
 Heat 2 tbsp of ghee or butter and fry the paneer pieces for 2 minutes. Keep aside. Do not brown them, they should just be lightly golden.
Take a heavy bottomed pan, keep on low heat, add 2 tbsp of Ghee and then add the onions and saute till they turn golden brown. Add the ginger, garlic and green chilli and fry till it is brown. Add the tomatoes and saute for 6 to 8 minutes. Cool and blend in a mixer to a puree. Keep aside.
Now take a heavy bottomed pan, add the puree made from fried onion, tomato, chilly, ginger, garlic and fry for 2 mins. Add garam masala, turmeric, coriander powder and red chilly powder and cook for few minutes. Add salt and mix well.
Now add the cashew nut paste and cream, mix and boil on low flame for 10 minutes or till the gravy is thick.
Add the paneer pieces just before serving.
Serve hot garnish with coriander leaves and butter.

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