Being a vegetarian, I think it's very understandable when I say that I love paneer. It's one staple that's always stocked in my freezer along with that packet of frozen parathas. Paneer is also probably the one thing that I would take with me if I would be marooned in an island. My love for paneer can be traced back to this one restaurant in my hometown of Pondichéry: Hotel Surguru. When it opened back in the late 90's, it took the small city of Pondichéry by storm. That was the place where I ate stuffed nan and paneer butter masala for the very first time. And since then, paneer and I have shared a relationship that's stronger than many bonds I've formed since then.
I tried to re-create the recipe many times over the years and although all of those attempts were good in it's own way, they always lacked that kind of "restaurant" taste that I craved. When I stumbled upon this recipe on Nags website...it was like a BINGO moment for me. The one thing about her recipe that I did change was the use of the cream. I remember from some vague memory of a PBM version that using cashew paste was the trick. So I decided to substitute the cream with the cashew paste. So Nags, this one's for you...I enjoy your blog a lot and I'm happy that I tried this recipe of yours. It's a favorite of VJ's and Kupy's now and it's a joy to see them gobble it all down like kids.
Paneer cubes - 2 cups
Onion - 1 medium sized
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Tomato - 1 medium sized
Tomato ketchup - 1 tbsp
Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) - 1 tbsp/a generous pinch
Milk - 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts (whole/broken) - 1/4 cup
Bay leaf - 1 small
Oil - 3 tbsp
Salt - to taste
1. Set the paneer out to defrost and cut into cubes.
2. Chop the onions, puree the tomato and make a paste of the cashew nuts with little milk or water.
3. Heat the oil in a pan. Add th ebay leaf first, followed by the onions and 1/2 tsp salt. Fry until the onions are browned.
4. Now add the ginger-garlic paste and fry until the rawness fades away.
5. Add all the masalas (chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder) and fry for 30 secs.
6. Now add the tomato puree, tomato ketchup and the kasuri methi. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes until it is all well blended. You can also fry the mix a little extra in this step until the tomato leaves oil. This is for the people who don't enjoy the tangy taste of the tomato puree. But I haven't tried frying extra and I'm not sure how it would be.
7. Add the milk and lower the fire. Cover and cook for 5 mins.
8. Finally add the paneer, cashew paste and salt to taste. Mix well and cook for another 5 mins with the lid.
Serve hot with oven baked nan (which I am definitely going to try sometime) or phulkas.
Minimally adapted from http://www.cookingandme.com/2009/10/paneer-butter-masala-restaurant-style.html
And this time you don't get the usual lame lines, 'cause I can now take pics with my Panasonic LUMIX...Ha! :)