Shahi Paneer

Hello everyone,

We’re undergoing some badly needed kitchen renovations over the next several days so I’m getting these posts out of the way now.  We’re going to be offline for a few days until the majority of the work is done.  The good news is that after the renovation is complete, we will actually, finally have a reasonable amount of counter space!  So exciting!

Shahi Paneer is one of my favourite dishes of all time.  Tomatoes, cheese, spice… how can you go wrong?

Shahi Paneer

7 or 8 cashews
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup roughly chopped onion
2 green chilies
1/2 inch ginger
2 cloves garlic
3 green cardamoms
3 cloves
1″ cinnamon stick or roughly 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon bark
1/2 cup water, for the onion paste
1 tablespoon canola or other light cooking oil
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, pureed
1 1/2 teaspoons red chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon kesori methi, crushed
5 – 6 strands of saffron
1 brick of paneer (about 300 grams), cut into small pieces
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup table cream or half and half cream
1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
2 tablespoons chopped coriander (stalks removed)

Place the cashews in a small pot with the hot water.  Turn heat on low and allow cashews to soak for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Put the cashews and water in a blender and puree to a fine paste.  Set aside.

While waiting for the cashews to soften, in a medium pot over high heat, add the chopped onion, chilies, ginger, garlic, cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon and 1/2 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer until the onions are translucent.  Remove from heat.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Put the onion mixture and water in a blender and puree to a fine paste.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the onion paste.  Cook the onion paste, partially covered until most of the moisture has been evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Add the pureed tomatoes and allow that to simmer, partially covered until the moisture evaporates and the oil begins to leave the mixture at the edges.  Add black pepper, red chili powder and coriander powders.  Mix well and cook for a minute or so.  Add the cashew paste and mix well.  Immediately add the water to prevent the nut paste from scorching.  Allow the gravy to cook for about 5 minutes.  Add salt to taste.

Stir in the garam masala, kesori methi and saffron strands.  Add the pieces of paneer and cook for 2 minutes.  Do not overcook the paneer because it will become hard and chewy.  Remove from heat and add the cream.  Add the cardamom powder and coriander.  Mix well and serve!

So, so good.  This will keep in the refrigerator for about three days but it won’t last that long.

Enjoy!

Peace and love,
Himmat

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