Handi Paneer

Paneer(Cottage Cheese), a popular and loved source of protein for vegetarians. Usually vegetarians going out for lunch or dinner order a paneer dish namely Paneer Butter Masala or Shahi Paneer or may be Kadhai Paneer. The paneer dish I prepared today was Handi Paneer and it tastes little different from usual paneer dishes which sounds so different by name but tastes similar most of the time (unless tried from some good restaurants).

If you have access to traditional Handi (deep earthen clay pot), the dish prepared in it will have a lot more earthy notes. I did not have it so ended up cooking it a normal pan available at home and it came out great. This is best enjoyed with Naan, Kulcha or Roti.

Ingredients

  • 150 gm cottage cheese
  • 1 small capsicum diced to 1 inch squares
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 medium size tomato chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cream
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 2 pods green cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 split green chilly
  • 1/2 teaspoon kasoori methi ( dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1.5 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • chopped green coriander for garnishing
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a tablespoon oil in pan, add half of chopped onions and sauté it till translucent.
  2. Add half quantity of chopped tomatoes along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook on medium flame for about 3-4 minutes and then keep it aside.
  3. Once cooked mixture is cooled down then transfer the contents to a grinder jar and grind it to smooth paste.
  4. Now add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to heated pan, add ginger garlic paste to it and cook for 1-2 minutes so the raw smell of ginger and garlic is gone.
  5. Add remaining onions and sauté them till translucent.
  6. Add half remaining tomatoes and salt per taste and cook till tomatoes become mushy.
  7. Make coarse mixture of cardamom and cloves using mortar and pestle.
  8. Add ground mix of cloves and cardamom along with red chili powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, slit green chilis, kasuri methi, tomato ketchup and sugar to pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  9. Add the capsicum and pureed mix of onion and tomato to pan and cook for another 4-5 minutes so the capsicum is little tender and all flavors are soaked in gravy.
  10. Add the paneer cubes to dish, fresh cream and garam masala powder to it and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  11. Garnish the dish with green chopped coriander.

Additional Tips & Tricks

  • If using packaged cottage cheese, do not cook it for long duration as it becomes chewy and you might feel like eating tofu and not the creamy paneer.
  • Prefer using ripe red tomatoes as it will add flavor and color to the whole dish.
  • Prefer using red onions over white and yellow ones as red onions are great for Asian spicy curries.

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