The preparation of this paneer dish is actually a modification....the original recipe has been twisted a bit here, subtracted a bit there to arrive at whatever this Paneer dish you may want to call! I'd read the original recipe eons ago in a Fish (yes...fish!!) Special of the popular Bengali magazine Sananda - the main ingredient being Bhetki fillet. But as is usual with me, I had forgotten to note it down. But the simplicity of the ingredients (always available at anyone's kitchen) and easy preparation and most importantly, the superlative taste of the final product (yes I had tried it out immediately after reading the recipe) had probably helped me remember the procedure.
A couple of Sundays back, just after I had finished the day's cooking, my husband (SD) informed that a friend and his wife would be coming over for dinner....Fine I said, and just as I was cosying up amidst the cushions to read the Sunday special bulky newspaper filled with anything but the news, he casually mentioned.... "Oh...they're vegetarian. Dont go into any trouble...something simple would be fine!"
I sprang out of my Sunday reverie, cursing my luck that everything was non-vegetarian or had non-veg additives that day!!! Opened my fridge, racked my brain and found some paneer... THANK GOD, I said a silent prayer. But no palak, so palak paneer was ruled out. Steamed paneer with mustard and coconut may be a Bong delicacy but mustard may not do much for the north Indian palate. And that was when the brainwave struck....and I came up with this improvisation/modification of the fish recipe...subtracted the garlic and the marination part. The end result was surprisingly good!
So when I prepared it last Thursday (SD's latest fad being vegetarian food on Thursdays!), thought I'll click some pics and post the recipe on my blog!
So here goes the recipe...
Ingredients : (since I'd decided while assembling the ingredients that it'll be a blog entry, I took the trouble to use my kitchen scale for the very first time! Hence the accurate weight measurements!!!)
-Fresh & Soft Paneer : 400gms (cut into pieces..I cut them into triangles)
-Cashew paste : 100 gms
-Onion paste : 60 gms (paste of 1 medium sized onion)
-Tomato paste : 60 gms (paste of 1 medium sized tomato)
-Kasuri methi leaves (3 tsp) soaked in warm warm water for 1/2 hr prior to use
-Ginger paste : 1/2 tsp
-Whole garam masala : 2 cardamoms+1 stick cinnamon
-Bay leaf : 1 or 2
-Oil : 3-4 tbsp
-Masala paste (turmeric - 1 tspn; Coriander powder - 1 tsp; Cumin powder - 1 tsp; Red Chilli powder is optional and depending on your taste)
-Salt to taste
1.Take Oil in a wok. When hot, add the whole garam masala followed by the onion paste. Stir well.
2.When onion is well fried, add ginger paste followed by tomato paste and again keep stirring.
3.Add the masala paste. Keep stirring and let the masala cook.
4. Now add the cashew paste. If the cashew paste is too thick, sprinkle some water and let it cook on low heat.
5.Add the paneer pieces. Turn them around in the wok and if the gravy is sticking to the wok sides, sprinkle some water. Let it simmer. Cover with a lid.
6.Once in a while stir so that the gravy doesnt stick to the wok bottom and get burnt.
7.Once it comes to a boil, add the soaked kesari methi along with the water and again let it come to a boil again.
8. The Paneer is ready.(What shall we call it ? Paneer Pasinda or Shaahi Paneer...or something else??)
9. This can be eaten with Roti or Rice.