Paneer Masala

Paneer Masala

paneer masala
250 grams paneer (Indian cottage cheese), cut into cubes
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cashew nuts, soaked in warm water
1/4 cup heavy cream or fresh cream
2 tablespoons ghee or butter
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 green cardamom pods
3-4 cloves
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
1 tablespoon honey or sugar (optional, to balance the flavors)
Salt to taste
1/4 cup water

Step 1: Prepare the Cashew Paste
In a small bowl, soak the cashew nuts in warm water for about 15-20 minutes to soften them.
After soaking, drain the cashews and grind them into a smooth paste using a blender or food processor. You can add a splash of water if needed to achieve a creamy consistency.

Step 2: Sauté the Onions and Spices
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan or pot, heat the ghee or butter over medium heat.
Add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods, and cloves to the hot ghee. Sauté for a minute until they release their aroma. Add the roughly chopped onions to the pan and sauté until they turn translucent.

Step 3: Create the Paneer Masala Base
Lower the heat and add the ginger-garlic paste to the sautéed onions. Cook for a minute until the raw smell disappears.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy.
Add the red chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt to the pan. Mix well to coat the onions and tomatoes with the spices.

Step 4: Simmer the Paneer in the Tomato Gravy
Now, add the paneer cubes to the pan and gently stir them into the tomato masala base.
Pour 1/4 cup water into the pan to adjust the consistency of the gravy.
Cover the pan and let the Paneer Masala simmer on low heat for about 5-7 minutes. This will allow the flavors to meld together.

Step 5: Add the Creamy Goodness
Stir in the cashew paste into the simmering Paneer Masala. Mix it well to create a rich and creamy texture.
Pour in the heavy cream or fresh cream and stir gently to combine. This will enhance the velvety smoothness of the dish.
Optionally, add honey or sugar to balance the flavors. Adjust the sweetness according to your taste preference.

Step 6: Garnish and Serve
Sprinkle garam masala and dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) over the Paneer Masala. These aromatic spices add the finishing touch to the dish.
Let the Paneer Masala cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, allowing the flavors to come together.
Turn off the heat and garnish the Paneer Masala with a drizzle of cream and a few chopped cilantro leaves.

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy
Transfer the delectable Paneer Masala to a serving dish.
Serve it hot with naan, roti, or steamed rice.
Accompany it with a side of cucumber and onion salad or pickles for a refreshing contrast.


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