Today, Shahi Paneer isn’t a big deal or a speciality for dinner for me but as a kid, I was so so fascinated by it. Creamy, silky orange gravy a little on the sweeter side than the paneer Butter Masala with fat Paneer chunks floating around. Paneer was such a rarity then that I remember mom making sure one of us didn’t monopolised or took more than our share of pieces 😆. So, before YouTube and Blogs came out, we used to buy those small satchets of spice mixes ( often from small brands like Suhana and Rasoi Magic ) hoping to recreate some of that magic in our kitchens. Dissolve the mix in milk, simmer, add cream and viola!!! The Shaahi Paneer would appear magically on the dinner table making dinner an eagerly anticipated affair. Not too different from Open Sesame for a middle class Indian kid, no? 😁 To be honest, those satchets were pretty ordinary, but it was still had an enigma around them from the minute they were put into the shopping bag and until it was made into curry. Good ol days! 💕 Sigh! Now ofcourse I make it frequently, and it is no longer a novelty and make it more frequently. But those portioned pieces of my childhood have brought me more joy than the today’s unlimited portions at the restaurant buffets. I have made this recipe several times now and it comes out perfect every single time. Hope you like it! ☺️💕
The image is from my own instagram account and can be found here
Recipe: ( adapted from the recipe of Shahi Paneer recipe by Chef Ranveer Brar on his YouTube Channel)
- 2 tbsp ghee l
- 1 tbsp of cumin seeds,
- 1/2 inch piece if cinnamon, broken into shards,
- 1-2 pieces of clove,
- 1 black cardamom,
- 2 pieces of green cardamom,
- 1 bay leaf,
- 1 green chilli, slit,
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, halved or roughly smashed,
- 1/2 inch piece of ginger, sliced
- 10-12 pieces of cashews,
- 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered,
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into quarters, ( use ripe ones with as little of hard, white/yellow part in the core as possible),
- Salt, to taste,
- 1/4th tsp of turmeric powder,
- 1 tsp of Kashmiri red chilli powder,
- 1/2 tsp of sugar, ( optional ),
- 1 tbsp of Kasoori Methi, crushed between your palms, ( if your Kasoori methi doesn’t crumble between your palms and stays leafy and fibrous, I recommend toasting gut for 20-30 seconds in a small pan. This takes away the excess moisture and brings out the flavours better. Feel free to not not do this, but I feel like it makes a difference and so I toast it. )
- Water as needed,
- 2 tbsp of milk,
- 200 gms of paneer, cut into cubes, soaked in warm water,
- 1 tbsp ghee ( or salted Butter ) optional + 1 tsp of Kashmiri Chilli powder as a tempering/garnish which I prefer skipping but will describe it at the end nonetheless.
- Heat the ghee in a pan. Once it is hot, add the cumin seeds and let them crackle. Then add the whole spices in ( cinnamon, black and green cardamom, cloves, and bay leaf ). Toast them in warm oil. Add the green chilli, ginger and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Add the onions, tomatoes and the cashew nuts. Mix well. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, sugar if using and Kasoori Methi. Mix well and cook for a 30 seconds .
- Add 1/2 a cup of water, mix and cover with a lid. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until 70-80% water has evaporated. You can also do this process in a pressure cooker, but I recommend cutting down on water in that case. Add 2-3 tbsp of water and cook for 3 whistles on medium heat after the pressure builds up. Either way, I feel it takes the same time and effort, not much savings. Once it is cooked, take it off the heat and let it cool down.
- Transfer everything to a blender jar, add milk and blend until smooth.
- Pass the gravy through a sieve. Personally, I would highly recommend this step especially since I like to leave the whole spices in while the onion tomatoes are cooking. So when blended, there are debris of those hard whole spices in the gravy. You can remove it from the oil after toasting but that doesn’t fully bring out the flavours of the spices. Also use blanch, skinned and deserved tomatoes because the seeds impact the silky texture of a Shahi Paneer gravy. Of all the options above, I find passing the gravy through a sieve the best option. If you don’t, the difference in smoothness is apparent for this gravy.
- Finally bring the gravy back to the pan and bring it to a gentle boil. At this stage I prefer adding in the paneer cubes and be done.
- But if you want to add finishing touches like the restaurant, warm the tbsp of ghee or butter, add 1 tsp of chilli powder and pour over the curry. Mix/swirl it in and done! Serve with the accompaniment of your choice, rice or flatbreads!