Delicious, rich & creamy Shahi Paneer is a vegetarian food hero in North Indian cuisine. Scoop this curry up with flaky parathas or serve with basmati rice.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: almond, cheese, curry, mughlai, north indian, paneer, shahi, vegetarian
450gpaneercut into triangles or cubes
For the sauce:
10almondsskins removed (30g)
3tbspchopped soft dried mango or apricots(60g)
1tbspbutter, ghee or oil(I use butter)
1dried bay leaf
2red chilliesslit lengthways (use 1 if you prefer mild head)
2red onionscut into wedges (150g)
2large cloves garliccrushed
1small pinch saffron8-10 threads
4tomatoescut into wedges (300g)
250mlwater+ 150ml extra
For the tempering:
2tspKashmiri chilli powder
2green cardamom podsseeds finely ground
2tbspchopped coriander leaves
Saffron strands, dried rose petals, chopped coriander leaves and creamto garnish
Heat 1 tbsp butter, ghee or oil in a large pan. Add the whole spices (cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom, black cardamom and bay leaf). Allow to sizzle for 20-30 seconds and then add the chillies, onions, ginger, garlic, nuts, apricot or mango pieces, tomatoes, saffron, turmeric, salt and 250ml water. Stir well and cover with a lid. Simmer on a medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until everything is soft. Allow to cool down. Remove the bay leaf, black cardamom and cinnamon stick and discard.
Blend the mixture until completely smooth and creamy. I use a NutriBullet and give it a good 60-90 seconds.
Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove any unwanted skins and seeds from the tomatoes and spices. Add the remaining 150ml water to the blender jar and swish around to catch the rest of the sauce. Pass this through the sieve and into the sauce too.
In the same pan, heat up the butter until melted and bubbling. Add the ginger juliennes, chopped coriander and Kashmiri chilli powder. Return the strained sauce to the pan and stir well. Fold in the paneer. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
Switch the heat off and stir in the cream, kasoori methi and ground cardamom.
Serve hot, garnished with optional saffron strands, chopped coriander leaves, dried rose petals and cream.
Serve with laccha paratha, naan roti or rice.
For Punjabi dhaba-style Shahi Paneer, reduce the sauce by half (simmer over a low heat, stirring often) until thick and creamy. Add the paneer along with an additional 2.5cm ginger juliennes. Heath through and serve. This thick-style is popular in roadside cafes and pair beautifully with roti or paratha for a rib-sticking vegetarian dinner.
Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Re-heat thoroughly before serving.
This Shahi Paneer is suitable for freezing. Keep in an airtight and freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and heat through until piping hot. Freezing may affect the texture of the paneer. If you like, you can make the sauce and freeze, ready to add the paneer later.