I love paneer in any form, healthy... high protein and a very good alternative to fish and meat. Buy it from a store or prepare it at home, this easy to make paneer is a saviour when one is in a hurry or does not want to spend much time in the kitchen yet want to prepare something delicious for the family. Whether its roti or rice, paneer goes well with both. I think whole of India loves it. I do not remember when actually paneer flooded Kolkata market, earlier it was chena[milk curdled at home and put to use]. Things got a little easier for our moms with all the sweet shops selling it. At least, at our home, it became easier to feed the fish loving son and daughter on an all vegetarian day.
Coming to present, my son too loves paneer. So paneer curries are regular at my home. It is versatile which we can mix and match with other vegetables or prepare a solo dish. At times when I get lethargic to go to the Indian market, I prepare chena at home and proceed. Otherwise, I always store a block in my wonder box[refrigerator]. This is a healthier version of Shahi Paneer where I used plain yogurt instead of cream. I do not use cream in my cooking. In fact, Bong cooking does not require use of cream at all. Ada- jeerey- lonkabata-dhoney guro-panchforon are what adorns our kitchen. Truth is Paneer itself was not so welcome in a typical 'Bangal Bari', but now I hope the scenario is changing. We are getting cosmopolitan, learning to accept and appreciate the new.
Let us proceed with the recipe which is, easy, quick and healthy.
Paneer : 200gm
Plain Yogurt : 100gm
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Onion Paste : 2tbsp
Cashew nut : 4-6
Raisin : 5-6
Melon seeds : 1/4tsp[charmagaj]
Poppy seed : 1tsp[if in Dubai or Singapore, then white sesame seed]
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As required
Oil : 1tbsp
Butter : 1/2tsp
Cut the paneer into your desired shapes and apply little salt.
Soak the poppy seeds in hot water for an hour. Strain. Prepare a paste with poppy seeds, cashew nuts, raisin, melon seeds adding as much water as required.
Heat oil in a wok. Add the onion paste. Saute well for 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger paste and saute for another 2-3 minutes at low heat.
Add the cashew nut-raisin-melon seeds-poppyseed paste and saute for 2 minutes. Beat the yogurt well and add to the wok. Mix well and stir for a minute.
Add the chilli powder and salt as required. Saute for 1/2 a minute and add 1 small cup water.
Let boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the paneer pieces, let boil for another minute. Add the butter and stir carefully. As it melts, switch off.
Enjoy with any kind of Indian flat bread.