Paneer aka Cottage cheese is full of proteins,calcium and vitamin.The "fatty" tag associated with paneer is mostly due to the calorie rich gravies in which these are dunked in mostly.In fact,homemade paneer made using skimmed milk if taken in moderation can actually help you lose weight!Make Paneer Tikka/Paneer Tikka masala or Kadai Paneer and you can have it as a meal by itself,without compromising on taste or health.
Now coming back to this dish,if you are wondering why this one is called Paneer Makhani while it looks very similar to Paneer Butter Masala,I have a reason.Though the base of the gravy is somewhat similar,there are a few subtle differences.PBM gravy is made different by adding several spices into it while the Makhani sauce/gravy is mellow with a faint taste of nuts(due to the addition of cashew paste).
Enough of trivia now,let's get on with the recipe.It is indeed a very simple recipe which pairs perfectly with rotis or naans and simple pulaos.
Paneer Makhani Restaurant Style
Recipe source - Dassana
Paneer/Cottage cheese - 200 gms,cubed
Tomato - 3 or 4 medium,pureed
Cashewnuts - 2 tbsp,soaked in 2-3 tbsp of milk and made into a paste
Butter - 1 tbsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Bay leaf - 1 or 2
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Kasoori methi - 1 tsp
Water - 1 1/2 cups
Salt and sugar to taste
Green chilly sliced and Coriander leaves for garnish
In a thick bottomed kadai add butter and oil.Add the tej patta/bay leaf and stir for a few seconds till the oil becomes aromatic.Add the ginger garlic paste and stir till the raw smell disappears,since I used store-bought paste,it took me only less than a minute.
Mix in the tomato puree and stir well.Simmer the flame and let the puree dry up a little and stir occasionally till oil starts floating on top.
Mix in the red chilly powder and cashew paste.Now add the water.I rinsed the mixer in which I ground the tomato and the cashew paste and used that water-more flavour without any additional work :)
Add salt and sugar to taste.Stir until the curry starts to thicken.Mix in the cubed paneer,I shallow fried the paneer in 1/4 tsp of oil,you could try that or add paneer as is.
Cook for 3-5 minutes and then add kasoori methi,green chilly and garam masala.Switch off the flame,cover with a lid and let the flavours infuse.
Serve hot with naan/kulcha or ghee rice.