Pepper Paneer Masala

On most days, even as I wake up, I plan what to cook for the day. But there are times, I waste time just contemplating what to cook. Today was one such evening. I had no idea what to cook and absolutely no motivation to get myself to cook. I was aimlessly scrolling my facebook page up and down and all of a sudden, a picture of a spicy dish caught my attention!
Nags, one of my favorite food and photography blogger, had just posted a picture of a guest post. It was Pepper Paneer Masala. As usual, I instantly started drooling over the picture and decided that it’s going to accompany my rotis tonight!
Half way through my preparation I discovered I had ran out of ginger garlic paste. By now I had dreamed of this dish and had come too far to give up. I boldly decided to proceed with my fingers crossed. To my pleasant surprise, it tasted just superb. I never felt the absence of ginger and garlic. I’m so in love with this that I can’t wait to try out the same with chicken!
Ingredients
  • 200 gms paneer cubes
  • 3 large onions chopped
  • 3 green chillies slit in half
  • 1.5 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • A few curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
For Dry Roasting & Grinding
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 cardamom
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 medium cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp saunf
Method
  • Soak the frozen paneer in hot water for half an hour.
  • Dry roast the ingredients listed above, grind it into a fine powder and set aside.
  • In a frying pan, heat 2 tbsp oil, add onions, green chillies and saute until onions turn golden brown. Add ginger garlic paste and continue sauteing until it losses it raw smell.
  • Now add, the ground powder, turmeric powder, pepper and curry leaves. Saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Pour the soya sauce and tomato ketchup. Mix well.
  • Add half a cup of water, salt, paneer cubes and give a good mix. Cover it with a lid and allow the paneer to cook in the masala occasionally giving it a mix.
  • Continue doing so until all the water evaporates and the gravy thickens.
  • Serve hot with rotis or ghee rice/veg pulao.
Adapted From – Cooking and Me
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Paneer Butter Masala

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 waSri 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!

Ingredients
  • 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
Method
  • 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!


Paneer Peas Masala

Hello and welcome back after a long break! My oven is taking a little rest after continuous baking over the past couple of months and in the meanwhile, I have been experimenting easy and quick to make dishes that will go well with rotis.
Paneer is one veg (Excuse me, is Paneer really veg? Hmm.. I doubt.. Anyways, at least it is classified as one!) item that really really love. I think I’ll even go to the extent of rating it second best to chicken or mutton.
Yesterday was my first attempt with Paneer. I searched the internet for easy recipes and as always ended up in Maria Chechi’s site. As I do not have as much as patience as chechi, I kind of grasped her formula and did the dish my style. So here it goes…

Ingredients

  • 200g Paneer cubes
  • 1 cup – Chopped onions
  • 2 cups – Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup – green peas
  • 3 Green chillies slit in the middle
  • 1 tbs Ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 cashews
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
For Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper corns
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • 1 tsp saunf
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 2 cardamom
  • A small piece of cinnamon
Method
  • Soak the cashews and poppy seeds in warm water for 10 minutes and then make a paste.
  • Pour the oil in a pan and season the ingredients mentioned above. As the spices change color, add the onions, peas and the chillies.
  • As the onions change color, add the ginger garlic paste. Keep sauteing it until the ginger garlic paste looses its raw smell and add the tomatoes, chilly powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder.
  • Cover the pan and wait till the tomatoes cook.
  • Once cooked, add a cup of water and continue cooking it in a low flame until the consistency becomes gravy like.
  • To the gravy, add the paneer cubes. Cover it with a lid and cook it in low flame for 5-7 mins.
  • Two minutes before you turn off the stove, add the cashew paste.