Thursday, March 19, 2015

Paneer Butter Masala-Restaurant Style

Paneer Butter Masala- The lip smacking rich creamy gravy dish that is a world renowned pair of Naan. The combo is loved by many and even the name makes some mouthwatering!
I have to confess, I have made puff pastry from scratch n number of times with great success, I have made Croissants with chocolate, zaatar stuffing which were proud moments but I would have made Paneer Butter Masala atleast 50 trials before I knocked it right. Yeah.. I have been trying this since I started cooking full-fledged and every time I make, there would be something, earlier I used to burn the onions and tomatoes or add cream when the gravy is hot and they would curdle and later on when I learnt the tips I could correct those mistakes but there were other minor taste issues and in the course of time I became depressed and slowly I lost interest in making the gravy and relished only in restaurants. Once in a while I use to try in a very little quantity and I always felt like something was missing and as if like’ I could not put my finger on it’. When I started blogging I know someday I have to post Paneer butter Masala recipe but I was postponing as even the thought of the possible flop show threatened me but somehow I mustered all the courage and with M’s boost I planned it and with all the tips and tricks from my past experiences I made it with at most care and it turned out to be super duper delicious. From then I have followed the recipe to T and nowadays it has become a regular affair in my household when we are planning for any sinful weekend brunch. So you can take my word for it, if you follow this recipe I m sure you will get the restaurant taste or even better. Do read the notes before you start with the prep and one more important thing- If you want the exact restaurant taste never even think about using oil instead of butter- Thatz the key I say!

Paneer/Indian Cottage Cheese-200g,cubed
Onions-3, roughly chopped
Tomatoes-3, roughly chopped
Ginger-1 inch stick
Garlic-2 flakes
Cashews-6 whole nuts
Red chili powder-1 tsp
Coriander powder-1 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Kasuri Methi-1 tsp
Milk-1/2 cup
Cream-1/2 cup
Butter-1 tbsp
To Temper:
Bay leaf-1
Cinnamon-1 inch stick
Butter- 3 tbsp
How It Happened:
1. Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a pan, add chopped onions and fry until they turn glassy. Then add the ginger garlic paste and cook well until the raw smell completely goes off.
2. Add chopped tomatoes and cashew nuts and fry until they turn mushy. Switch off the flame and let it cool. Once when it cooled, blend it well to a smooth paste.

3. In another pan, heat remaining butter and add the ingredients given under the ’to temper’ list. When they pop, add the ground tomato paste and cook in medium flame.
4. Keep stirring to prevent from burning after 5 minutes the mixture would have slightly reduced in volume and would have turned shiny.
5. Now add the turmeric powder, coriander, red chili powder and salt and mix well. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes or until the mixture has turned thick and has reduced in volume.
6. Simmer the flame and add ½ cup of milk and ½ cup of water and mix well after 2 minutes slide in the paneer cubes and stir.
7. Meanwhile in a bowl add the cream and a tbsp of water and beat it well with a fork for a minute until the two blend well and the cream slightly become watery and set aside.
8. Keep stirring and when it starts slightly bubbling, slowly add in the cream while stirring and let it cook for 2 minutes. It shouldn’t start bubbling else the cream will curdle.

9. Crush the kasuri methi between the palms and sprinkle on the gravy. Switch off the flame and let it rest for 10 minutes.
10. Serve warm topped with a drizzle of cream garnished with coriander (optional) paired with Naan/roti.

* If you are really guilty and if you are ready to slightly compromise in taste then use half and half oil and butter.
* If you add chopped pieces of ginger and garlic they may not get fully cooked while frying and will waft a raw aroma after grinding which may not wade off. So either crush them well or better use ginger garlic paste. This may not seem like an issue but trust me I have done this and learnt from my experience.
* If you are using frozen paneer, thaw it in microwave or drop it in hot water for 15 minutes and set aside. You can also slightly roast the paneer pieces to golden color in a tsp of butter before adding them to the gravy.
* The spices may seem minimal but the gravy is supposed to be mild and creamy so this works fine. But you can add ½ tsp garam masala while adding other spice powders if you want.

* Simmer the flame before adding cream and beat the cream before adding else the chances of curdling are very high.

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