Who doesn’t loves a velvety and luxuriant fried slices of paneer dunked in creamy and rich yogurt based gravy filled with flavours of nuts and aromatic spices? Mughlai paneer is just that, an inspiration from the court of Mughals.
Mughlai cuisines are known for its rich, luxuriant texture and creaminess. This cuisine is derived from the royal kitchens of Mughal Emperors, who are known for their splendid crafts and architecture. Their reputed and clever shahi khansaama or the royal chef were known to infuse different kinds of herbs, spices and dry fruits to appease the moods and whims of the Emperors. With time this cuisine absorbs the local flavours of India and become one of the most sought after cuisine in India, loved and relished by all. Some of the significant ingredients of Mughlai cuisines, as per the experts are the dry fruits, aromatic spices and boiled onion paste which will give the dish a creamy and velvety appearance.
For Mughlai paneer, the key ingredient beside fresh block of paneer is the nut based gravy which is cashew in this case, or you can also add some almond to it for extra richness and white peppercorns that infuses a beautiful aroma in this dish.
- Paneer (cottage cheese) : 200gm
- Boiled onion paste: ½ cup
- Ginger paste: 1tbsp
- Poppy seed paste: 2tbsp
- Whipped curd: 3-4tbsp
- Cashew nut paste: ½ cup
- Fresh cream: ¼ cup
- Cinnamon: 1"stick
- Cloves: 3-4
- Cardamom (green): 3-4
- Bay leaves: 1-2
- Cumin powder: 1tsp
- White pepper powder: 1tsp
- Green chilies (chopped): 1tsp
- Coriander leaves (chopped): 1tsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil: 2-3tbsp
- Ghee : a spoonful
- Cut the paneer into long rectangular strips.
- Heat 2tbsp oil in a pan and when the oil is sufficiently hot (that is up to the smoking point) put the paneer and fry them for 10-15 seconds. As soon as the paneer becomes brown, drain immediately in bowl of lukewarm water and reserve for later use.
- For boiled onion paste, first boiled the onion and then grind in the mixer to get a smooth paste.
- In the same oil, add the onion paste and sauté for few minutes. Once the onion becomes translucent, add the cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon and bay leaves. Fry them for one or two-minute and then add the ginger paste. Sauté for few minutes and then add the poppy-seed paste.
- Add further the whipped curd and mix well. Add the cumin powder, green chilies, white pepper powder and salt. Mix them well and fry for few minutes on low heat till the oil separates out.
- Add the cashew nut paste and fresh cream (can be substituted with thick milk). Mix well and add the paneer pieces. If requires little water (1/4cup) can be added. Cover the lid and bring it to first boil.
- Garnish it with chopped coriander leaves
- Serve the hot paneer mughlai with naan or kulcha.
Instead of frying the paneer pieces, you can also grill the paneer and add. Looks very appetizing with its smoky grilled marks.