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paneer butter masala and homemade paneer

I cant remember if I had actually eaten paneer before I went to India before Christmas, but I basically lived on it the whole time I was there. we did a tour of Kerala and all of our meals where served as a buffet so you could help your self (which was great as i got to try loads) and this dish, paneer butter masala was one my favourites. paneer is Indian cheese if you didn’t know and it is made with just two ingredients, milk and lemon juice. it is then strained and pressed so it can be cut. you can buy it in the supermarkets but its so easy to make that I though I would give it a go, seeing’s as I’m on a homemade kick this January and trying to make stuff from scratch like pasta, noodles, bread and dumpling wrappers. I have been meaning to make this for weeks since I have been back and end up getting distracted by other things so I was glad to finally make it. I really enjoy Indian food and I’m a huge fan of this type of sauce, if can be used with chicken too if you prefer. in india they chop the meat up with the bones still in an I have to admit I’m a bit weird when it comes to food on bones, It makes me cringe a bit (I cant hold a chicken drum stick and bite it) so I felt a lot happier eating paneer dishes. I am heading back to India this year (Delhi) after we visit Nepal so I cant wait to try the northern cuisine.

paneer
  • 1.5 litres of whole milk
  • 4 tbsp. lemon juice (1/4 cup)

add the milk into a pan and gently heat until it reaches the boil then stir in the lemon juice, curds will form instantly, line a sieve with muslin and pour the mixture through collecting the cheese curds, rinse under the tap to remove any left over whey then squeeze out the liquid or let it hang up to drain. place the cheese between two baking sheets and place a heavy object on top to weigh it down and place in the fridge for about an hour and a half. then you can slice it into cubes, for extra flavour I charred it a little in a pan with some ghee.

 recipe for the masala sauce from here

 

  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Oil or ghee
  • 250 grams Paneer or Cottage Cheese
  • 3 Chilies Kashmiri Red
  • 1teaspoon Ginger  Paste
  • 1teaspoon Garlic Paste
  • 1 Bay leave
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 Cloves
  • 2 Cardamom pods
  • 1/2teaspoon Peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons Cashew nuts Chopped
  • 1 Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 Tomatoes large , coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Ketchup
  • 1 tablespoons Kasuri Methi Dry (fenugreek leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Cream
  • to taste Salt

 

Instructions
  1. In a large pan  heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of oil.
  2. Add red chillies, ginger, garlic paste and all the whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and peppercorns). Sauté for a minute or two and add cashew nuts, poppy seeds (if using) and onions. Once the onions turn translucent, add the tomatoes. Mix well.
  3. Cover and cook till the tomatoes start breaking down and the mixture starts leaving oil at the edges. Switch off the flame and set aside to cool.
  4. Once cool enough to handle, remove as many whole spices as possible, and grind the mixture to a smooth paste.
  5. In the same pan, heat the remaining butter and add the curry paste. Add garam masala powder, chili powder, turmeric, ketchup, salt along with 1/2 cup water. Bring this to a boil.
  6. Once the curry comes to a boil, simmer and cook for 30 minutes, till the oil separates slightly. Cut the paneer into bite sized pieces, then fry off in a pan and add it to the gravy and mix gently.
  7. In another pan, dry roast the kasuri methi and grind it to a fine powder. Mix kasuri methi and fresh cream in the curry and switch off the flame.
    to finish I sprinkled some more toasted cashews and added some coriander.

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