Friday, 11 April 2014

Cashew Chili Paneer :: Indian cottage Cheese with Capsicum in Cashew gravy

Paneer always perks me up. Whether it’s the rich and luxurious Paneer Butter Masala or plain simple Paneer Bhurji,  I love them all.  I have tried quite a few recipes in the past 2 months, mostly because I wasn’t in  a mood to chop the vegetables. And also, because having soft and melting Paneer somehow calms me down. Good Food does work wonders you know ;)

I learnt this recipe from one of my friend and have made it many times since then. With little tweaks and changes every time, and this one is so far the best mix out of all. It serves a perfect meal for a small get together, and is extremely rich and smooth. I tend to add Green peas and capsicum to the curry sometimes which makes it even healthier and of course more delicious. Next time I make it, I am thinking to add fenugreek leaves to it. How do you think it will taste then ? Have you tried it ?

One noticeable quality of this curry is the colour. Since I haven’t added red chili powder, turmeric or any other coloured spices, the colour is shining white due to the cashew gravy. And this is what differentiate this Curry from the rest. The taste and the smoothness is just irresistible. Although this sort of curry doesn’t go very well with plain boiled rice, but with Naans or Paratha. If you are serving it with rice, don’t forget to keep another side dish like a plain potato sabzi or Pickle aside to bring some zest to the whole plate. Or simply serve it with Pulao/ Pilaf etc. 

Another important thing to know about this recipe is , that it uses very less oil. So unless you are willing to add a lot of cream to your bowl, this Cashew Chili Paneer can safely be termed as a healthier alternative to its richer siblings like Kadhayi Paneer, Shahi Paneer etc.

Cuisine: North Indian / Punjabi
Course: Main Course
To be served with :- Naan , Paratha, Pulao
Serves: 2-4 people
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes

What you need?
  • 2 cups  Paneer cubes
  • 2 large onions, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp Ginger - garlic paste
  • 1 medium sized  capsicum, chopped small lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 Cup + 2 tbsp cup milk ( Whole milk preferred )
  • ¼ cup water ( or more if required )
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp Coriander powder
  • ½  tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp Oil

How to make?

  • Heat a non-stick pan and dry roast Onion till it turn brown. Sprinkle some water over it, and keep it covered during cooking  to avoid sticking at the bottom. When they turn almost brown, turn off and let cool for some time. Blend into a paste, and keep aside.
  • Meanwhile, soak cashews in 2 tbsp warm milk for at least 20-25 min, then blend both together in a paste and keep aside.
  • Keep Paneer cubes in a big bowl full of water, microwave it for 2-3 minutes so the water gets hot and leave the cubes in it till we use them towards the end.  

  • Now, heat oil in a pan and add onion, salt and ginger-garlic paste to it. Sauté this mixture for 7-8 minutes, keeping it covered the whole time and stirring frequently in between to avoid sticking to the pan.
  • Throw in coriander powder and black pepper powder and mix well. Cook for further 2 minutes, stirring frequently 

  • Add the chopped capsicum, mix and cook covered for 3-4 minutes. Lower the flame and add Paneer cubes, water and cashew paste. Simmer for 8-10 min stirring in between.
  • Finally add the remaining milk, kasuri methi and garam masala and simmer for 2-3 more minutes, covered. Turn off the flame and let it sit for a while.
  • Before serving, drizzle some cream on top, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves if you wish. 

Notes and some tips:
  • This curry tends to thicken with time, especially if left uncovered. So if you have prepared the curry beforehand, before serving add more milk to it and reheat.
  • Capsicum should not get mushy, but should maintain just the right texture and shape.
  • You may use any colour capsicum you like,  green ones obviously works the best since the rest of them are sweeter in taste.
  • if you feel the need of making this curry hotter, you may blend a green chili with the onion and then sauté it all together.
  • You may also add a few almonds to the cashew paste, to give it a new flavour. 

If you are looking for more Paneer recipes, try these: 
No onion-garlic Kadhayi Paneer 
Smooth and creamy Paneer Butter Masala 
Methi Malayi Paneer
Paneer Tikka - made in pan, no oven / grill required 

More Cashew recipes;
Kaju Katli - Cashew Barfi  

Linked to Sathya Cooking with seeds- Cashew event, started by Priya 


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