Wednesday, 27 March 2013

"Paneer Butter Masala" or Cottage Cheese in Creamy Tomato Gravy

"Paneer Butter Masala" is probably the most popular vegetarian dish from North Indian/Punjabi cuisine. This dish is basically cottage cheese bites in creamy tomato gravy.
A dish we all love!
Very easy to  make and needs no fancy ingredients. 
Cook this at home and am sure you will cook it often at home, without wanting to order it in a restaurant!
This dish is a big hit with kids due to its creamy and its very mildly spiced gravy.

Serves 4
Paneer/Cottage cheese - 250 gms - cut into bite sized pieces
For marination:
Thick curds - 4 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Dry mango powder or Amchoor - 1 tsp ( Optional)
For Gravy:
Butter - 2 to 4 tbsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Bay leaf or Tej Patta - 1
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tbsp
Tomatoes - 5 to 6 medium sized - blended to a smooth puree
Cashewnut paste - 3 tbsp ( make paste my soaking 10 cashewnuts in warm water for 15 minutes, then blending to a paste in a mixer)
Red chilly powder - 1/4 tsp (preferably Kashmiri since it gives color but no spice/heat)
Cream - 4 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
For garnishing:
Cream - 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves - chopped - 1 tbsp

Preparing the Paneer or Cottage cheese pieces:
Mix all the ingredients under "for marination" , and apply to the paneer pieces and allow to sit in the refrigerator for sometime.
When ready to make the dish, take a heavy bottomed pan, keep on high heat, and stir fry the paneer pieces with 2 tbsp of oil for about 3-5 minutes. Then switch off heat and keep aside.
Note: You can use the paneer or cottage cheese pieces directly without marination, but the marination adds that extra flavor.
Preparing the gravy:
Now take another pan, keep on medium heat, add the butter and a little oil and then the bay leaf. Fry for 1 minute and then add the ginger garlic paste and fry till they change color. Add the pureed tomatoes, red chilly powder and sugar and cook till the gravy becomes thick and fat separates. Add salt and then the cashew nut paste, stir well, turn the heat to low for a 2-3 minutes mixing well, and then add in 4 tbsps of the cream and mix well. 
Any extra marinade for the paneer pieces can be added at this stage.
Now add the paneer pieces to the gravy, mix well and boil for about 10 minutes adding another 1 tbsp of cream and garam masala. Stir well.
Garnish with fresh cream and chopped coriander leaves.
Serve hot with "Butter naan" or any other Indian or non-Indian bread. 
Tastes Great!

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