1. Soak the cashews in hot water for 5 minutes.
2. Purée the garlic, ginger, cashews and shallot to a fine paste in a food processor or blender until smooth. If necessary, add a tablespoon of water to make grinding easier. Set aside.
3. Purée the tomatoes in the food processor or blender until smooth. Put the purée into a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the volume is reduced, about 30 minutes.
4. Lightly sprinkle the sides of the paneer pieces with a pinch of salt and a pinch of cumin.
5. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot place the paneer in the pan and fry each piece on all sides until golden brown. Take care not to burn the paneer. Remove from the pan and set aside.
6. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the cinnamon stick then cook for one minute. Add the cardamom pods and cloves and cook for another minute. Add the cumin seeds and green chiles then cook for one more minute. Finally add the shallot paste. Sauté until fragrant and the shallot has lost its raw smell, about 5 minutes.
7. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Pour the tomato purée and the tomato paste into the Dutch oven with the masala. Mix well.
8. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the paprika, chile powder, cumin, coriander, garam masala and salt. Mix well and let the spices flavor the purée for about 10 minutes. Add more salt if desired.
9. Add the dried fenugreek leaves, sugar and cream to the curry. Stir to mix well.
10. While the curry is cooking, prepare the garnish. Heat the oil in a medium skillet. When hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the onion and pepper slices. Fry them until they turn golden brown and caramelized.
11. Place the paneer cubes in the pot. Stir carefully so each piece is covered with the curry.
12. Transfer the Paneer Makhani to a serving bowl and sprinkle the caramelized onions and peppers on the top.
- Serve with hot fresh naan or plain rice.
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch piece ginger, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
10 plum tomatoes, cored
14 oz paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes
3-4 Tbs oil
4-inch piece cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chiles, slit
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp red chile powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp oil
1/8 tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 red onion, slivered
1/4 red bell pepper, slivered
The North Indian dish, Paneer Makhani, combines two of my favorite flavors in one recipe: creamy homemade Indian cheese with a mildly spiced tomato sauce. It is a delicious vegetarian recipe that everyone can enjoy.
First I pan fry cubes of paneer in a bit of oil to get a beautiful golden brown color on the sides. I usually make my own paneer from whole or 2 percent milk, but using store bought paneer will save time and tastes just as good. Next I create the Makhani sauce from homemade tomato puree that is enhanced with spices and a bit of cream to give this popular curry its signature flavor. Last I garnish it with crispy caramelized onions and red bell peppers to add an extra layer of flavor to the dish. Even though the list of ingredients is long, it is an easy Indian recipe to make. Try my Paneer Makhani recipe any night of the week and your family will thank you for the delicious meal.