Paneer is a staple part of the North Indian cuisine and is mainly used in curries and gravies. It is also referred to as cottage cheese or Indian cheese. It is rich in protein and also addictive in taste! This recipe is one where the paneer is marinated in a spicy yogurt sauce and cooked in a rich tomato gravy to enhance its taste, thus making it a gourmet dish!
Here is how I made it:
Ingredients for the marinade:
Paneer- 400 gms or 2 cups approximately
Yogurt- 1/4 cup
Oil- 1 tbsp
Red chilly powder- 1 tsp
Tandoori masala- 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Fruit chat powder- 1/4 tsp(optnl) - I like the flavour of it
Kasoori Methi or Dried fenugreek leaves-1 tsp
Salt to taste
For the Gravy:
Tomatoes- 3 ripe ones chopped
Tomato paste- 1 Tbsp(optnl)
Bell peppers- 1 Cup ( green or mixed colors) -optional (I just added them for color!)
Green chillies- 2 nos.
Ginger- 1/2 inch piece
Broken cashews- 1 tbsp
Chopped cilantro- to garnish
Bay leaf- 1 no.
Cumin seeds- 1 tbsp
Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
Kashmiri chilly powder- 1 tsp
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Oil- 2 tbsp
1.Cut the paneer into small rectangular pieces of 1/8 inch thickness and the bell peppers into long strips.
2.To prepare the marinade, mix all the items and add the paneer pieces to it.
3.Toss it around well so that the pieces are evenly coated. Cover with a plastic wrap and let it marinate for 1-2 hrs in the refrigerator.
4.Meanwhile, grind the tomatoes with green chllies, ginger and cashews.
5. Heat oil in a pan and saute the bell peppers for a few minutes, remove from the pan and set it aside.
6.Next, saute the marinated paneer in the same pan till it becomes slightly brown and set it aside.
7.Now add the cumin seeds and bay leaf to the oil while it is still hot and pour the tomato puree and paste(if using) followed by all the spice powders and sugar.
8.Cook for five to seven minutes till the gravy begins to thicken and add the paneer and bell pepper pieces to it.
9.Continue to cook for five more minutes and then switch off the heat and add the chopped cilantro to garnish.
10.Serve hot with naan, roti, paratha or any fried rice of your choice.
Note: For Tikka Paneer or Paneer Kebabs, the same marinade recipe can be followed after which the paneer and vegetables can be lined on bamboo skewers and grilled or broiled.