Shahi Paneer

Shahi Paneer is a North Indian dish that can grace any occasion and is always at a center stage in any party – lunch or dinner.  It’s famous because it’s creamy and absolutely delicious.

Shahi Paneer literally translates to Royal Paneer. Paneer, or cottage cheese, can be bought either pre-sliced in cubes or in a full block from any Indian grocery store. We used to make paneer at home from scratch using milk and vinegar. The process took only half an hour, but eventually, we found that it was easier to just purchase the blocks at the store since they’re readily available and can be stored in the freezer.

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This is one of the favorite dishes in the Singh household and my daughters just love it.  Usually, I make it when we have friends or family visiting, as it is a heavier meal that is rich in calories. This dish can be enjoyed with roti, parantha, naan or even plain rice.

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Note: I used to cut paneer in cubes, but I realized that when cut in diamonds, you are able to increase the volume by almost 1.5x. This explains why restaurants always have their paneer in diamonds! Time to use this trick at home!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. paneer cut in thin diamonds (see picture)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large green chilly
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 3 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 tsp shaahi paneer masala (optional)
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 4-5 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp dry methi leaves (optional)

Method:

  1. In a blender, coarsely blend onion and green chilly until it becomes a paste.
  2. In a pan, heat the oil on medium heat and add in jeera until it splutters.
  3. Add the onion/green chilly paste into the pan and stir it till light brown.
  4. Lower the heat and add in dry spices: red chilly, coriander powder, turmeric powder, shahi paneer masala, and salt and keep stirring.
  5. Add in tomato puree and water and let it simmer for few minutes. Keep checking to make sure it doesn’t burn. (Don’t add too much water as it is not going to evaporate!)
  6. Add in milk and heavy cream and bring it to boil. Add in sugar.
  7. Once you see that the gravy is consistent and smooth, lower the heat and add in paneer pieces.  Stir it gently and shut the lid of the pot and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Stir and shut off the heat.
  8. Optional: If you have methi leaves (fenugreek), put it in microwave for 15 seconds and make a powder with your palm and sprinkle on the dish.
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 6-8 people

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