Paneer butter masala, a Punjabi cuisine is one of my favorite dishes which I order when I'm in India in a restaurant. Here we usually don't get to see it on the menu so have to explicitly ask & order it. I tried it out for the first time with lot of apprehensions. Never knew onion & tomato paste would be so good to the taste buds. The dish gets its richness also from the cashew nut paste that is mixed in the curry.
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp fresh cream
1 tsp curd
1 big onion
2 big tomatoes or a small tin of tomato puree
100g cashew nuts or a fist full
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp dhania
1/2 tsp methi & mustard powder (optional. I used it as I'd it at home)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp Kasoori methi
1 tsp garam masala
Preparation of the cashew nut paste: -
1. Soak the cashew nuts in Luke warm water for about 10-15 minutes.
2. With very little water or no water dry grind the cashew nuts into a smooth paste.
Pre-preparation of the paneer: -
1. In a heated pan, add 1 tsp of ghee. Saute the paneer cubes till they turn golden brown.
2. Remove it into a cup & pour a cup of hot water on to the fried paneer cubes.
3. Let them remain in hot water for 10-15 minutes, then drain the water & keep aside. This makes the paneer really soft & removes excess ghee sticking to its surface.
Preparation of the onion-tomato paste: -
1. Heat a pan & add 2 tsp of butter.
2. Add the finely chopped onion & saute for a minute.
3. Add turmeric powder & mix well so that all the onion pieces turn yellow.
4. Add tomatoes & mix well. Close the pan with a lid & let the tomatoes cook for 2 minutes.
5. Remove from fire & let the mixture cool.
6. Grind the mixture into a fine paste.
Preparation of the curry: -
1. Heat the pan & add 2 tsp of butter.
2. Add ginger garlic paste & fry till the raw smell of the garlic vanishes.
3. Add the nut paste & fry for a minute or so.
4. Now add the onion-tomato paste & saute well.
5. Add salt, chili powder, dhania powder, methi-mustard powder & garam masala.
6. Add fried paneer cubes & cook on a low flame for 4-5 minutes.
7. Add a little water & let it cook for another 10 minutes or till the desired curry consistency is got.
8. Remove from fire, add fresh cream & curds.
9. Garnish with Kasoori methi & coriander leaves.
10. Serve hot with rice or rotis.