Paneer is an absolute love just after fish. Since I do not get fish of my choice here, the frequency of preparing paneer has increased. I first tasted it way back in the late 80's or 90's when it was first available in the Kolkata markets. Almost all the neighbourhood sweet shops used to sell it. Even when I was in my 20's, I hated vegetables. Mom had to take a lot of trouble to feed me veggies and had to think about alternatives. Thursday was an all vegetarian day at our home, not at any cost non veg was cooked on that day. I loved the taste of paneer and accepted it wholeheartedly. The same tradition continues. My junior hates veggies and loves paneer. So, there is no reason why I will not prepare it often at home.
I do not always get fresh Methi leaves[fenugreek] in the local market, so I keep a packet of kasuri methi[dried fenugreek leaves] at home. They impart a distinct flavour to a dish. This Kasuri Methi Malai Paneer was flavoured with a spice powder I prepared with Kasuri Methi and few other spices in small quantity. Garnished with some fresh cream, the paneer curry turned out to be flavourful and creamy. Once in a while I do use little cream in my cooking. Let us prepare this Kasuri Methi Malai Paneer together.
INGREDIENTS :[for the dry spiced powder]
Kasuri Methi Leaves[dried fenugreek leaves] : 1tsp
Black Peppercorns : 8-10
Cumin Seeds : 1/4tsp
Coriander Seeds : 1/2tsp
Fennel Seeds : 1/4tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 1
Paneer : 250gm
Tomato Paste : 1/2small cup
Onion[sliced] : 1 medium
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seed : 2pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Garam Masala Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp[optional]
Fresh Cream : 1tbsp
Oil : 2tbsp
Dry roast the kasuri methi leaves, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and dry red chilli for a minute and dry grind them to a powder once cool.
Rub very little salt to the paneer. Heat oil in a wok. Temper with bayleaf and cumin seeds.
Add the sliced onions and fry till golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the spice powder, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Saute for a minute.
Add a cup of water and let the gravy boil for 3-4 minutes. Add the paneer pieces and let boil for 2 minutes.
Add the garam masala powder, sugar and stir well. Let cook for a minute.
Switch off and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Add the fresh cream. Enjoy with your favourite bread!!