Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Paneer Masala

These days I am getting a little confident of my Indian cooking skills. The dishes turn out delicious and I have learnt to experiment with the spices too. Husband loves Indian food and simple as well without much oil and spices and as such freshly ground spices help you attain that maximum taste without adding a lot of it. Besides, nothing can beat the aroma of home ground spices. So here is a super simple Paneer recipe I experimented with some freshly ground spices. The beauty of this dish lies in this secret spicing which I am sharing with you all. 

250 gms paneer cubes
2 medium onion finely chopped
1" piece ginger, finely grated or made into a paste (freshly prepared paste is preferred)
3-4 cloves garlic finely grated or made into a paste (freshly prepared is preferred)
2 medium tomatoes made into a puree
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp deggi mirch (the non spicy red chilli powder)
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp spice mix (recipe given below)
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp freshly roasted kasuri methi, crushed
Fresh coriander leaves (as per your taste for garnishing
Salt to taste
2 tbsp olive oil or any cooking oil

For the Spice Mix
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 black cardamoms
3 whole red chillies
Dry roast all the above ingredients till fragrant and let it cool. Make into a fine powder and store in a air tight container for later use. 

1. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the paneer cubes till golden on both sides. Do not fry for too long else you will end up with chewy paneer. A slight golden tinge is all you want. 
2. Soak the paneer pieces in a bowl of warm water just enough to cover them all. You can use this water later on for the gravy. 
3. In the same pan, add 1 tsp cumin seeds and bay leaves. I did not add any additional oil. You can add if you feel rhe oil is too less. Let the seeds brown and then add the chopped onions. 
4. Fry the onions till pink and translucent and then add the ginger garlic paste. Continue frying till a lovely aroma of the fried spices emerges. 
5. Now add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, sugar, salt, and coriander powder and fry. You can splash a litlle water at this point if the masala is drying up and you haven't used extra oil. 
6. Next, add the tomato puree and continue frying on a medium flame till the raw smell disappears and oil starts coming out from the sides. This step is very crucial for the beautiful color of this dish. 
7. Now add the ground spice (2 tsp) and stir well mixing all the spices well. Tip in the fried and soaked paneer pieces and stir. Take care not to break the paneer.
8. Once the masala coats the paneer well, add about 1/2 cup of the water in which the paneer was soaked. 
9. Stir and let it simmer on a medium flame. Add the crushed kasuri methi and stir. Reduce the gravy to your desired consistency. This dish is best served with just a little bit of gravy, do not make into a watery curry. 
10. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with chapatis or steamed rice. 

P.S.: Do you like this new format for writing the recipe or do you like to read it in a paragraph? Please share your feedback in the comments below.

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