It is a little embarassing, but honestly, I had no clue what paneer or paneer butter masala was until I reached college. While in college, one of the restaurants my friends and I loved eating was Sri Rayappas Chettinad Restaurant. Folks from Coimbatore should be familiar with it. During my 4 year education in Coimbatore, I only remember eating Paneer/Chicken Butter Masala and fried rice each time we went to that restaurant. Such was my love for butter masala!
Subconsciously, I always had this feeling that if I liked a restaurant dish a lot it has to be very difficult to make. I had this pack of paneer in my freezer that I had to use in two days, before we leave for our vacation. Was tired of eating the paneer-vegetable kurma I usually make and I wanted to do something different. So I thought, why not my all time favorite – paneer butter masala. I browsed the internet. There are a zillion different ways in which this dish can be prepared. I kind of got the general idea and did it my way. It was unbelievably easy and really did taste as good as it would have in any good restaurant!
- 150 gms Paneer
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 cloves
- 2 cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 4 tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 tbsp red chilly powder
- 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp salted butter
- 1 tbsp fresh cream
- Pour the oil in a vok. When medium hot, throw the spices – cloves, cinnamon and cardamom in it. Just when it crackles, add the onions. Saute the onions until it turns light golden brown and add the ginger garlic paste.
- Once the ginger garlic paste looses its raw smell, add the tomatoes and coriander leaves (spare a little for the final garnishing!). Cover the vok with a lid and allow the tomatoes to get cooked on low flame for 10 minutes sauteing it now and then.
- Turn off the stove once the tomatoes are cooked and allow it to cool down.
- Grind the onion-tomato mixture with the cashews into a very fine paste adding water if necessary.
- Pour a little oil in the vok and transfer the paste to it. Add salt, coriander powder, chilly powder and paneer. Give it a good mix. Cover it with a lid and cook in low flame for 10 minutes until the paneer is cooked.
- Add butter and cream on top of the dish and garnish with the remaining coriander leaves!