Soft and succulent cubes of paneer steam-cooked in the most sensuous gravy full of all the exotics of Indian cuisine! This is gonna knock you out instantly!
I am sorry! I am apologizing at the very beginning if you feel I am boasting about my cooking skill today! I am not, honestly! I am just not being able to hide my excitement to be able to create a restaurant-like dish at home!
I always used to wonder why my Indian curries do not look like the one they serve in those posh Indian rests? Well I got the answer in this recipe! I was finally able to get that velvety sheen in the final dish that I was longing for so long! Just look at this and don’t you think this looks simply amazing?
After perfecting the dum biryani, I decided to try some more dum recipes. If you are not already aware of dum cooking, let me give you the context.
Dum cooking is the particular technique of cooking where food is sealed in the cooking pot with all the spices mixed in ensuring no steam can escape from the vessel and cooked over very slow flame for longer time. This method of cooking preserves the maximum flavors of the spices and infuse their aroma into the food you are cooking. So you can also make dum chicken (which is next on my to-do list!) or like this dum paneer.
After sharing a series of paneer recipes in my blog few months back, I thought I have exhausted all the paneer recipes I could make at home. My father-in-law is very much fond of paneer which is why you will always find a block of paneer sitting in our refrigerator. But I was confused of what to do with it as I am always in search of new things to make. While I was venting my frustration of not being able to decide what to make to my better half, it was him who discovered this dum paneer . I immediately agreed primarily because I would get another chance to do the dum-cooking, and secondly because it seemed very different from what I had already shared here.
It sounded perfect to fit in.
And how right I was! This dum paneer turned out to be a bombshell, I tell you! I have never made such a gravy before and I was so happy that I could pull it off and make a restaurant like dish both in terms of look and taste! And the soft and succulent cubes of paneer just melted in the mouth making you craving for more!
The recipe helped me discover this new gravy made of brown onion paste which can be very versatile. This can be the base of ample other preparations, e.g. some grilled chicken cubes or roasted veggies! Options are endless and I am sure gonna try some. This sauce has got the right amount of smokiness which I absolutely love. Make sure to try this in your next meatless meal and don’t forget to thank me later!
- Paneer/Cottage cheese – 250 gms
- Cloves – 4
- Green cardamom – 6
- Cinnamon – 2 inch stick
- Onion – 2, medium, sliced
- Ginger – 2 inch piece
- Garlic – 6 to 8 cloves
- Green chilli – 1 or 2
- Yogurt – 3 tbsp, well beaten
- Coriander powder – 1 & ½ tsp
- Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
- Cumin powder – ¾ tsp
- Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp [I use Kashmiri red chilli powder which has less heat and more color]
- Garam masala – ½ tsp
- Fresh cream – 4 tbsp
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Ghee/clarified butter – 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Fresh coriander to garnish
- Heat the oil in a pan and fry the sliced onion till golden brown. Transfer the fried onion to a grinder and grind to make a smooth paste. Add couple of tablespoons of water if needed to get a smooth consistency of the brown onion paste. Set aside.
- Make a paste of ginger, garlic and green chillies in the grinder. Set aside.
- Cube the paneers to your desired size. Boil salted water in a saucepan and add the paneer cubes into it. Leave the paneer in boiling water for couple of minutes. Now switch off the flame and let the paneer stand in hot water until you need them.
- Heat the ghee (clarified butter) in a skillet. Once the ghee is hot, add the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Sauté for a minute until they become fragrant.
- Then add the brown onion paste and cook on medium heat for couple of minutes.
- Next add the ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. Sauté them well until you see the fat (in this case ghee) rises to the surface.
- Now reduce the heat to minimum and add the beaten yogurt. You can even take the skillet down from the heat and add the yogurt stirring constantly. This will ensure that the yogurt doesn’t curdle. Keep stirring until the yogurt blends well into the onion mixture.
- Then add the powdered spices – coriander, cumin, garam masala, pepper, turmeric and red chilli. Season with salt. Cook on medium high heat until the spices are sautéed well.
- Now add a cup of water and bring it to boil on high heat.
- As soon as the gravy comes to a rolling boil, add the paneer cubes (but not the water!). Also add the fresh cream and give a light stir.
- Now take an aluminum foil, large enough to cover the skillet comfortably. Seal the pan with the foil and put a lid on top making sure no steam could escape from the cooking pot.
- Reduce flame to minimum and let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Then open the lead and remove the foil. If you feel the gravy is too thin, boil off some water and bring it to your desired consistency. Check and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with paratha or naan.