Shahi Paneer, Indian Cheese Curry - 1, Pandeji's
Shahi Paneer - 1
This recipe, rather a rich dish for special occasions, was given to me by Pandeji, a very experienced vegetarian cook from Roorkee in Northern India. He catered for all the big parties, weddings and other celebrations in my brother's home. Pandeji died in 2003-Mamta. Serves 4
250 gm. Paneer, cut into approx 1 inch squares.
200 gm. onions, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
200 gm. tomatoes, washed and chopped
250 gm. makhane**. Buy from Indian stores.
150 gm. Khoya (milk condensed to solid). You can use double cream, if you don't have it.
2 tbs. cooking oil.
1 tsp. cumin seeds.
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder.
1 tsp. coriander powder.
Chilli powder to taste.
Salt to taste.
3 teaspoons MDH Kitchen King Masala, a brand name powdered curry masala from Indian shop. If this is not available, any other good brand will do or you can make your own. See Curry Powder.
1/4 tsp. Garam Masala. You need more if using a shop-made one as they don't usually have quite as much flavour.
A small handful of coriander leaves, chopped
Chop makhane/puffed lotus seeds roughly and then grind in a coffee/spice grinder. If they feel chewy or 'not crisp' during chopping, dry fry them in a wok for a few minutes and cool. This will make them crisp and easier to grind. Keep aside.
Heat cooking oil in a pan.
Add the cumin seeds and wait until seeds splutter.
Add onions and ginger and fry on medium fire until golden brown.
Add turmeric, coriander, chilli and salt and fry 10 seconds on low heat.
Add tomatoes, fry for a couple of minutes.
Add ground makhane or lotus seeds and mix.
Add the Kitchen King curry masala powder and fry for 1 minute.
Add the khoya or cream.
Cook for 5 minutes.
Add Paneer squares and cook for further 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the garam masala and chopped coriander leaves.
**Makhanas or Gorgon Nut or Fox Nut(Euryale ferox) are the seeds of a plant from lotus family, which has purple flowers not dissimilar to lotus or water lilly flower. This is why they are sometimes confused with and described as puffed lotus seed, which they are not. The plants are cultivated in ponds all over northern India, especially in Bihar. The Makhanas that we use as food are the puffed kernels of the seed pod.
Paneer cheese blocks are available from most Indian stores. In UK, some Sainsbury's branches stock it too. If your local supermarket does not have it, they will usually add it to their cheese selection at your request.