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Paneer or Cottage cheese is a good source of proteins, calcium, vitamin A and Vitamin B. It is super healthy and nutritious.
Best part is Paneer can be made at home from scratch –
The process starts with curdling milk. This is done by adding an acidic substance like lime juice or vinegar to warm milk.
When the acidity of the milk increases, curds of casein protein separate from the whey, the liquid part of the milk. Add more water to lessen the vinegary taste.
Now, filter this curdled milk with a muslin cloth/cheese cloth and try to remove all the water/moisture. Take the cloth with the cheese inside and press it with both hands, some more water will be released. Keep the tied cheese below a heavy pan or a heavy kitchen object and leave for some time. After sometime the cheese can be cut into pieces and used.
Dinner parties are incomplete without a sumptuous Paneer Dish and here is my favorite. Easy but simply Delicious.
Melt-in mouth grilled Paneer cubes in a rich onion-tomato-cashew gravy.
Tofu can also be substituted in place of Paneer/Cottage Cheese
- Paneer (cottage cheese): 250 gms
- Tomato: 3-4 medium size
- Onion: 2 medium
- Whole Red Chilies: 4-5
- Ginger & Garlic paste: 1 tsp
- Cashew nut paste: 1 tbsp
- Kalonji (nigella seeds) : 1/4 tsp
- Cumin seeds: ¼ tsp
- Fennel seeds (saunf): ¼ tsp
- Red chili powder: 1 tsp
- Coriander powder: 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
- Coriander leaves chopped: 1 tsp for garnishing
- Kasoori methi crushed: 1 tsp (optional)
- Oil: 1 tbsp
- Butter: 1 tbsp (Ghee or Clarified butter may also be used)
- Salt to taste
- Sugar: ¼ tsp
- Cream: 1tbsp (optional)
- Milk: ½ cup
- Curd/Yogurt: 2 tsp
- Water: ½ cup
(Note: Test the Paneer for its softness.If it is very soft, it is better to shallow fry or grill before using in the recipe else it will break in the gravy)
Put the paneer slab and grill on a pan using some butter until the paneer becomes golden brown. Sprinkle some salt and chili powder. Cut into cubes and keep aside. (Paneer cubes can be used without grilling too if the cubes are not very soft)
Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds, kalonji (nigella seeds), fennel seeds, chopped onion, whole red chilies & sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and ¼ tsp sugar and sauté for 3 minutes more.
Blend the above sauce. Remove from pan.
Now take some oil and butter or ghee in the same pan and add ginger garlic paste and the onion tomato paste from above. Add chili powder, salt, turmeric and coriander powder and stir.
Cook till the oil separates.
(Note: Cooking till the oil separates is the most important thing to note. This may make or break your efforts. Also, before adding milk or cream it is important for the tomatoes to get cooked properly else the milk will curdle.)
Add cashew paste and mix well.
Follow with cream, milk and curd. Stir immediately to avoid curdling.
Add water and cook till the gravy becomes thick.
Add Paneer pieces to the masala gravy, mix well and cook for 2-3 mins.
Sprinkle kasoori methi and mix in lightly. Sprinkle some garam masala. Put on the lid and let the gravy absorb the aroma of garam masala.
While serving garnish with cream, coriander leaves and chili flakes.
Enjoy with Puris, chapati or Naan.