Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kesari Paneer

This is one of our favorite paneer dishes. I remember having this dish with my husband in Mumbai. We both were newly married and we both had gone out shopping and ended up at this restaurant called ' The Copper Pot' . We ordered this along with some butter naans and we were both loved it very much. My hubby asked me if I could re-create this for him and after much trial and error I now have the perfect Kesari Paneer recipe.

Serves 8


400 gm block of Paneer, cut into 2x1'' rectangles
70 gm / 2.45oz / 1/2 cup unsalted cashew nuts
2 tbsp unsweetened, fresh grated coconut
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp cumin seeds / jeera seeds
2 dried bay leaves
1 small stick of cinnamon
2'' piece of ginger, peeled
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
1/8 tsp turmeric powder / haldi powder
1/2 - 1 tsp deggi mirch powder ( can substitute with red chili powder / lal mirchi powder )
2 big pinches of saffron strands / kesar
1/4 cup warm milk
1 cup plain yogurt / dahi
1 cup coconut milk ( you can substitute with regular milk )
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
a little orange food color ( optional )
salt, to taste

  • Soak the saffron strand in the 1/4 cup of warm milk, set aside.
  • Grind the grated coconut and the cashew nuts to a paste using a little water, set aside.
  • Also grind the ginger and garlic to a fine paste. Tip: Sometimes it is difficult to grind small amounts of ginger and garlic in a mixer, in such a case you can finely chop them both and use them like that.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and when it is hot, not smoking, add thevbay leaves, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds. Once they start to change color, add the ginger garlic paste, fry for a minute and then add the chopped onions. Saute them till they turn slightly pinkish brown in color.
  • Next goes in the garam masala, stir it in the onion mixture. Then add the cashew paste and the beaten curd. Cook till the oil separates. Then add the salt, kesar, orange food color ( if desired ) and the coconut milk. Boil till you get a nice thick gravy.
  • Add the paneer pieces and let it all cook for 8-10 minutes on low heat. At the end check for seasonings, adjust if needed and remove. Garnish with a few strands of kesar. Serve hot with some naan.

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