Paneer is definitely a staple when it comes to Indian vegetarian food. It is such a versatile ingredient which can be used in different forms. In this recipe, I have created a version of Paneer Makhani that is inspired by my visit to one of the best Indian restaurants in London. After trying my version, I bet you will want to make this at home on special occasions. It is sweet and spicy, creamy, full of flavour and mouth watering! You can pair this delicious dish with rice or roti.
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Total cook time: 1 hour
For Makhani Gravy:
- 2 large tomatoes (roughly chopped)
- ½ onion (roughly chopped)
- 2 tsp ghee (or oil)
- 4-5 tbsp double cream
- 1 star anise
- 4-5 cloves
- 5-6 garlic cloves
- 5-6 cardamom pods
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- 8-9 cashew nuts
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 green chilli
- 1 inch ginger
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp red chilli powder (preferably Kashmiri chilli for a strong, red colour)
- ¼ tsp sugar
- 4-5 tbsp water or as required
- 6 large paneer cubes (approx 200 gms) coated in salt and red chilli powder
- 1 tbsp oil/ghee to cook paneer
- 1 tsp dried garlic (or garlic powder)
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 4-5 saffron strands (optional but strongly recommended for that added oomph!)
For Makhani Gravy
- In a pan, heat 2 tsp oil/ghee.
- Once hot, add the star anise, cloves, bayleaves, cinnamon sticks, garlic and cardamom pods.
- Next, add the roughly chopped onions, cashews and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the onions become golden brown.
- Next, add the roughly chopped tomatoes, salt, red chilli powder, sugar along with 50 ml of water and cover it with a lid and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until the gravy thickens on medium heat .
5. The tomatoes should be cooked after the simmer and form a gravy (see below).
6. Remove the whole spices (cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, bay leaves and cardamom pods) as these can discolour the gravy.
7. Transfer the gravy mixture to a blender. Ensure you blend in 3-4 short bursts to avoid pressure building inside due to the steam from the gravy.
8. Blend until a thick and smooth gravy is formed.
9. Transfer the gravy back to the pan.
10. Add the double cream along with the saffron (optional) and mix. The consistency should be as below. You can add 1-2 tbsp of water to adjust the consistency of the gravy.
11. Add the sautéed paneer (recipe below) to the gravy and let it simmer for a further 5 minutes and enjoy!
- Heat oil/ghee in a pan.
- Once hot, add the dried garlic/powder and ground black pepper.
- Add the coated paneer and let it cook on both sides until the paneer starts to chars and becomes crispy on both sides. This should take about 5-6 minutes or until it browns on each side (see below).
- Add to the gravy and let it simmer for a further 5 minutes and enjoy!
Hope you enjoy this!