This is a popular curry served in Indian restaurants around the world. Deep-fried or sautéed paneer pieces are cooked in a spicy onion-tomato sauce enriched with butter, cream and dried fenugreek leaves. I’ve reduced the quantities of butter and cream considerably, but it is nevertheless delicious. Serve this with Indian flatbreads like Naan and Chapathi.
Serves 4 to 6
400g paneer, cut into 1-inch/2.5-cm cubes
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
10 Kashmiri red chilli peppers
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4-inch/6-mm long cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon peeled and finely grated ginger
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup/65ml cream
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1. Cook the paneer cubes in a pan with a little oil until golden, turning occasionally. Remove and drain on paper towels.
2. Roast the red chillies, coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a small pan, adding a little oil, until fragrant. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
3. Grind the red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, bay leaf and kasoori methi to a smooth powder.
4. In a pan, cook the onions with butter until well browned. Add the garlic and ginger and stir gently until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook until mushy. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Blend until smooth and transfer back to the pan.
5. Add the paneer cubes, ground spices, asafoetida, salt and cream. Mix well. The sauce should have a medium consistency; add some water if necessary.
6. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring gently. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and add sugar and extra salt if necessary. Remove from the heat.
7. Serve hot.