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Paneer Pasanda

Disclaimer: Long post alert :D

Richer than a chocolate cake, if you ask me. Stuffed cottage cheese deep fried and dunked in a cashew-tomato-onion-milk gravy.

Yes. I think that is the gist of the long recipe we’re gonna make together! :-D Paneer Pasanda, an exotic gravy dish from the royal Mughlai cuisine has one too many versions to it. This one, by far is the most popular version and probably the tastiest! Of course, I tried to cut out the fat by replacing cream with milk and shallow frying rather than deep frying. But I guess the beauty of the dish was lost in the process. :-) Shallow frying just doesn’t do what a deep fried version can. Anyhoo.. the gravy was fabulous, and I think that salvaged the whole dish, including some burnt paneer pieces!

This wasn’t the first time I worked with paneer. However, it required some real skills to carefully cut open the cottage cheese pieces and stuff them with  even more cottage cheese! And of course, I had to carefully seal them back to fry.. Phew! Quite laborious, I say. But worth every drop of sweat! (which did not drop into the gravy, I swear! :D) And this is my version of a Paneer Pasanda. Much less spicy and rich than any other version you’d find on the net, I think.
{FYI, the name is read as – Puh-neer Puh-sun-dhaa}

PANEER PASANDA RECIPE
(Print this recipe)

Makes – 4 servings
Total Time – 1-2 hour

Ingredients
For the gravy
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
6-8 cashew nuts (Kaju) (soaked in warm water for 10 min)
3 cloves
1/4 inch cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
1 small bay leaf
1/3 cup milk or cream (50-70 ml)
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp clarified butter (ghee) (or use butter or oil)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
Salt, to taste (2 tsps)
Water, as required

For the Paneer pieces
300 grams Paneer (to be cut into triangles. refer steps below)
100 grams Paneer (for the stuffing)
2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 cup chopped coriander or mint leaves
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 cup raisins
4 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp refined flour
Water (to make a paste)
Oil, as required (depending on deep or shallow fry)

Method
I. Making the gravy
1. To warm milk, add red chili powder, turmeric powder & dry fenugreek leaves. Mix & keep aside.

2. To a blender add the soaked cashew nuts & tomatoes & blend into a smooth pureé. Keep aside. (1st add in cashews and a drop of water & blend coarsely. Then add in the tomatoes)

3. Heat 1 tsp oil & add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom & bay leaf. Fry for 30 seconds & add garlic, ginger & onion. Fry till onions are light brown.

4. Transfer the onions & other spices to a blender and blend smooth.

5. Heat 2 tsp clarified butter (ghee) (or oil or butter) and add the onion paste along with very little water.

6. Fry until the onion paste looks dry.

7. Add the milk mixed with chili powder, turmeric (from step 1)

8. Again fry till the onion paste looks almost dry.

9. Add in the tomato-cashew puree and mix well. Let it boil for around 5 minutes

10. Add water, salt and sugar. Taste & adjust the salt. (enough water to make it into a semi thick gravy. about 1/2 cup)

11. Boil the gravy for a further 3 minutes or until bubbles start appearing. Set aside until its time to serve.

II. Making the paneer pieces
1. Mix 100 grams of paneer, coriander (or mint), red chili powder, 1/2 tsp salt, chopped raisins to form a dough like mixture.

2. Cut remaining paneer into triangles. Here’s how you do it –
– Cut them into 1 inch squares

– Cut each square into 2 or 4 triangles depending on the size you want

3. Cut each triangle of paneer in the center. Cut only upto 3/4th of the longest side.

4. Place about 1 or 2 tsp of the stuffing prepared.

5. Carefully seal it back. Prepare all the pieces similarly.

6. Mix the cornflour, refined flour, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp red chili powder along with enough water to make a semi thick paste.

7. Dip each paneer piece completely in the paste.

8. Deep fry or shallow fry on the pan.

9. Keep the pieces aside until serving

III. To serve

Arrange a layer of the paneer pieces and add dollops of hot gravy over it. Keep alternating until all the pieces are inside the gravy.

Serve with Roti, Poori, Naan or any Indian rice or bread.

Notes
1. This is a complicated recipe involving many steps. If you aren’t organized, you’re going to face problems in the kitchen.
2. My recipe is much lighter than any other recipe I found on the internet. And yet, this was too rich to ask for a second serving.
3. ‘Pasanda‘ basically refers to your liking. So, however you make your gravy, its all right as long as you like it! ;)
4. If stuffing & frying seems like a long task, just marinate the paneer pieces in a spiced yogurt mix and add them to this gravy.

About the author: Food blogger-writer, Recipe developer, Food Lover, Picture-taker, Lover of Nutella, Accountant, Dancer, Singer… and a happy soul!

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • chitra November 4, 2012, 8:57 pm

    This is in my try list. u explained it very well. thanks :)

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