Paneer Makhanwala ~ Indian Cottage Cheese with roasted spices!

Do you all remember the first time you tasted something and know how much it changed your life after that? Atleast I remember one thing that changed mine for ever. It was my first taste of Paneer. Oh I know what you must think. I am so crazy of Paneer that atleast one dish gets featured on Paneer. Yes, I am very fond and so is my daughter. Anyway back to the story. It was almost more than a decade back, if I remember right. During our regular shopping, Dad got hold of a Ready to serve packet that was just launched. Dad really makes sure Amma gets a free time from cooking at regular intervals, since none of us could cook that time, it was always going out for lunch or dinner. That's when these ready to serve products were introduced. And he was always after Amma to get those packets, so that we can used when we need. Amma never used to agree to it as she was of the opinion that it may not be so very healthy and on top quite expensive. But Dad somehow got these packets of Paneer Makhanwala from a brand called Tasty Bites. Since we were four of us, he thought one would be suffice and got another dish.

Though the quantity was not enough, I can still remember that taste. It was absolutely delicious. Maybe because it was the first time we were tasting it or whatever. The taste still lingers. We searched for the same product many times, but that was stopped and though I see those products now in the market, I don't know if it still tastes so great. That was the beginning of Paneer and its dishes at home. All of us are Paneer lovers and have tried many varieties and had many variations. But I haven't really tried a recipe which went by the name Paneer Makhanwala. That name rings in fond memories of days bygone! I tried recreating, maybe with the wish that those happy childhood days will be back here. But just as you cant ever get back those lovely days, its impossible to meet the expectations, you have in mind. I know rather than lingering to recreate my childhood fancies, I should be creating memorable times for my kids. I hope, someday my daughter will remember this Paneer Makhanwala, that prepared specially for her, and feel she could never recreate the same! On its own, it was really tasty but I don't know if this is the authentic Paneer makhanwala, because I have seen many recipes in the same name with different ingredients!

Whatever, this is a pure indulgence!

Ingredients Needed:

Paneer - 250 gms
Bay leaf - 1 big
Ginger Garlic paste - 3/4 tsp
Green Chilies - 1
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Milk - 200 ml
Cream - 200 (opt)
Butter - 2 -3 tbsp
Kasuri Methi - 1/4 tsp

Ground to Masala:

Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 2"
Cardamom - 1
Pepper Corns - 5
Green Chili - 1
Cashew nuts/ Almonds - 10 nos
Onions - 2 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium

Method to prepare:

Cut the Paneer into 2" cubes. Roast them to golden in Ghee or butter. Keep aside.

Then in the same pan, roast each ingredients in the same order mentioned under masalas to be ground. Once the tomatoes are well roasted, remove and allow to cool. Then grind to a smooth paste, using water.

Heat another pan with Oil, add the bay leaf, slit chilis. Then ginger garlic paste.Once its fried, add chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric powders.

Simmer for 2 mins, then add the ground paste. Simmer and cook till its starts bring oil out on the sides. Slowly add Milk and bring to boil. You can add about 1/2 water.

Cover and cook for 10 mins. Once its nicely done, add the fried paneer and simmer for 2 mins. When you are about to remove from fire, add the cream and remove. You can avoid cream if you don't like, but to go along the name, cream adds taste.

This would taste great with Naan or Parotta, I served with Chappatis.

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