Methi Paneer

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Methi Paneer

Even though mine is a South-Indian household, I’ve grown up eating a lot of North-Indian style curries. This particular curry contains cottage cheese (paneer) and fenugreek leaves (methi) in a subtly spiced onion-cashew-tomato gravy. This is a recipe with a typical punjabi touch which results in a lip-smacking curry best served with naan/rotis/parathas or basmati rice.

Ingredients:

1 cup paneer cubes (fresh or frozen)
11/2 cup fresh fenugreek leaves (methi), washed thoroughly, stems removed and finely chopped
2 large onions, 1 for ground paste and 1 finely chopped
15-20 cashewnuts
3-4 dry red chillies
1/2 tsp nigella seeds/kalonji
1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp kitchen king masala
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
Salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp ghee/oil
Fresh cream for garnish
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Method:

1. Heat vegetable oil in a pot and when hot, drop the paneer cubes and fry until golden brown. Drain the paneer cubes in a bowl of warm water (this makes the residual oil come out of the paneer and makes them soft). Keep aside.
2. In a skillet, fry 1 roughly chopped onion until golden brown and then add in and sauté the dry red chillies for a few seconds.
3. Blend the onions and red chillies with 10-12 cashews & 1/2 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji) with a little water to a smooth uniform paste.
4. In the same skillet from before, heat a little more ghee/oil and add in the cumin seeds (jeera). Once it begins to splutter add the ginger-garlic paste and 1 finely chopped onion. Fry until the onions turn translucent.
5. Add in the chopped fenugreek leaves and fry until they are cooked (takes 2-3 minutes). Now add in the onion-cashew paste, red chilli powder (if desired), coriander powder, kitchen king masala, turmeric and simmer on low flame for a few minutes.
6. Drain the water from the fried paneer cubes.
7. Add the tomato puree, fried paneer cubes, salt & sugar to the curry. Add quarter to a half cup of water. Mix well and bring to a boil. Check the seasoning.
8. Once the curry thickens to the desired consistency, switch off the heat, add in the kasoori methi, mix well and garnish the curry with fresh cream.
9. Serve hot with naan/rotis/parathas or steamed basmati rice.

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