Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Paneer Mint Mazedar

Wow!!! It has been more than two years since I posted anything here!!! I wish I would make some time to address my passion once in a while...

It all started last Sunday when we had lunch at one of our favorite Indian restaurants. We ordered 'Paneer Shashlik' without exactly knowing what it was. We were served large cubes of paneer in a light green yogurt sauce. It tasted divine and different. As soon as we got home, I searched for Paneer Shashlik recipe. I was surprised to find Paneer Tikka recipes and none of them resembled what we ate at the restaurant. Hence it was up to me to reinvent the recipe.

In most of my gravies, I saute my onions and then grind them. My husband often tells me (from his experience during student days) that chefs in Indian restaurants cook onions using a different technique. I decided to experiment this new technique (read recipe to find out what I did ;-) ) with this recipe. I also added cashews (a bit too much) to make a (read extra creamy) creamy gravy. As a side note, I coined the name for this dish too...

Paneer - 1 lb (cut into cubes)
Onion - 4 large
Mint leaves - 1 large bunch (wash and separate leaves)
Cilantro - 1 bunch (Wash and chop)
Ginger - 2 inch piece
Garlic - 8 large cloves
Cooked Peas - 1 cup (Optional. If using frozen thaw to room temperature)
Cinnamon - 3 inch piece
Cloves - 5
Cardamom - 4
Cumin - 3/4 tsp
Coriander - 1 tsp
bay leaves - 3 to 4
Yogurt, well beaten - 3 tbsp
Green chillies - 2 (I make my gravies mild, you can spice it up to your needs)
Whole cashews - 15 to 20 (I added a lot more)
Juice of 1 large lemon
Milk - 1/4 cup
Salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tbsp

Slice onions and cook them covered with 1 cup of water and 2 tbsp of milk. When the onions become transparent, soft and the raw smell disappears, remove from heat, cool, reserve remaining liquid if any (onion water) and grind into a smooth paste.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin and coriander. When the coriander seeds turn light brown, add green chillies, ginger and garlic and saute until soft. Now add mint and cilantro leaves. Stir fry for 30 seconds and remove from heat. At this point the leaves would be bright green and the raw smell would have disappeared. Cool this mixture, grind and set aside. Let us call this 'green paste'

Grind cashews with milk into a smooth paste.

To prepare paneer, in a small sauce pan allow water to boil, add cubed paneer and remove from heat. Let it stand covered in warm water until ready to use.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil, add the ground onion and cook in medium heat for 3 minutes. Add cashew nut paste and yogurt and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent burning and splattering. Add the green paste, onion water and paneer cubes. You can add more water to obtain desired consistency. Bring the gravy to a boil. Add peas and remove from heat. Add lemon juice and mix well. Serve with hot rotis, paratas or naan.

  • The onions can be sauteed instead of boiling in water
  • To prepare paneer, I have tried deep frying, shallow frying, microwaving and using hot water. I have found hot water to be the best technique. It keeps the paneer soft and is easy and quick.