Tied to beloved memories and nostalgia from both my kids’ childhoods, this dish stems from very close to my heart. As early as I can remember, both of my kids were hooked onto paneer, especially my youngest. Although I was delighted that it had started to grow on him, I felt hesitant giving him such a creamy/heavy dish everyday. Working over the next few days to perfect a quick recipe for paneer makhani, while keeping that classic taste, my innovation and creativity led me to this, an equally delicious and doable recipe.
The dish has a rich gravy with tomatoes, onions, cashews, and most importantly, no cream. Perched in this subtle gravy are delicate, tender pieces of cubed paneer. The sweetness of the gravy perfectly complements the absorbent properties of the paneer, making a wonderfully cohesive dish. In fact, since this recipe is so much healthier than a normal paneer, I was even able to make this a 30-minute recipe by cooking the gravy and paneer together. Now, my kids and all of you can enjoy my take of this iconic dish, while savoring it’s mellow flavor.
STEP BY STEP VIDEO:
This paneer makhani recipe with a quick and healthy twist was invented as a weeknight dinner. It has a tomato, onion, and cashew gravy that is subtly sweet and perfectly cushions the tender pieces of paneer that are dropped in. Without any cream and designed as a one-pot meal, this recipe is such a fast and wholesome dish that is sure to be a hit with your families, especially your children.
- 2 cups paneer, cut in cubes
- 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large onion, boiled and chopped
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- 12 cashews
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp all purpose flour (maida)
- 1 inch ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, optional
- 2 green chilies
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 dry red chili
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 1 small javitri (mace spice)
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 big cardamom
- 4 tbsp tomato purée (store brought)
- 1 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek)
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar, according to taste
- salt to taste
- Boil the onions for 3-4 minutes or until they turn translucent. When they appear to be cooked through, strain and rinse them with cold water.
- In a blender, add the boiled onions, chopped tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chilies, cashews, all purpose flour, milk, ketchup, and yogurt. Blend them into a fine paste.
- Heat a pan on medium flame and add cinnamon stick, dry red chili, cloves, cardamom, mace (javitri), bay leaves, and cumin seeds.
- Let them roast for a minute or two and then pour in the gravy that was blended earlier.
- Add chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and crushed kasuri methi.
- Let the gravy simmer for 15-20 minutes on low flame and stir occasionally.
- When there is some oil floating atop the gravy and it has become a vibrant orange color, that signifies it’s coming together.
- Now add paneer, salt, sugar and garam masala. Cover the gravy and let it simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Your paneer is ready ! Enjoy with paratha, naan or rice.
- Make sure that you cook the gravy for at least 15-20 minutes, otherwise it will turn watery.
- You can make this dish ahead of time and store it in the fridge. This enhances the taste as the paneer gets marinated and absorbs the flavor in the gravy. When heating it up, add milk to get the right consistency again.
- For parties, add 1/4 cup cream or half-n-half to make the gravy richer.
- If the paneer is straight out of the fridge, soak it in warm water for 4-5 minutes before adding to the gravy.
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