Paneer Makhani is a North Indian dish in which pieces of paneer cubes float in a silky, smooth, rich and a tad sweet tomato-ey sauce. An entrée dish fit for parties and occasions, it’s amazing how easily it comes together. In the mood for it on a weekday evening, no problem! Just use tomato paste, instead of fresh tomatoes. Topping off with cream at the end glosses over everything.
2 tablespoons salted butter
Dry Whole Spices
1 green cardamom pod
1 cinnamon stick about 1/2" long
Other Spices, seasonings and alliums
1 teaspoon peeled, grated ginger
2 medium garlic cloves peeled and minced (you can grate garlic too)
3/4 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 Roma tomatoes
3 tsp tomato paste
2 cups paneer cubes, 1"
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoon kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves
Store bought Naan
Two thick-bottomed pots
1 sauté pan
Wooden stirring spoon
For a faster, weekday version, skip fresh tomatoes and replace them by increasing the tomato paste in the recipe from 3 tsp to about 7 tsp. Mix tomato paste with ¾ cup water and get a puree consistency and follow the recipe skipping steps 2, 3, 4 and 8.
Place 2 cups of water in a pot to boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, drop paneer pieces carefully. Turn the heat off, cover, and set aside.
Boil another 5 cups of water in a pot. When the water is boiling, make two cuts, in the shape of an “X” at the base of a tomato. Place the tomatoes in boiling water, turn the heat off and cover them with a lid.
After 10 minutes, take the tomatoes out of the water carefully and let them cool.
Peel the tomatoes, chop them into big pieces and blend smoothly. Set aside.
Heat the 2 Tbsp butter in a wide sauté pan.
Add whole spices, cloves (3) , cardamom (1) , cinnamon stick (1/2 inch long) and peppercorns (3-4) . Sauté for 2 min. Take the spices out and discard as they have done their job of infusing the butter with spices.
Add grated ginger and minced garlic to the butter. Sauté for 2 minutes.
Pour tomato puree and cook for about 10 minutes. The goal is to get rid of the raw taste of tomatoes. Cover with a lid to avoid spluttering. Do stir the puree 2-3 times.
Combine tomato paste, garam masala (3/4 tsp), salt (3/4 tsp), sugar (1/2 tsp) and red chili powder (1/2 tsp) into the puree. Stir well and add ½ cup water to temper the consistency, and let the mixture boil.
Take the paneer pieces out of the water with a slotted spoon and ease into the tomato mixture. Mix well and let cook for 5 min.
Turn the heat off and pour the cream (1/2 cup). Stir well.
Sprinkle kasuri methi (11/2 tsp) and serve hot with store bought Naan.