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Paneer Makhani (Indian Cheese Cooked in a Tomato Butter Sauce)

January 9, 2011
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Paneer Makhani This is a very popular dish served in Indian restaurants. Some friends were coming over with their kids and I thought of making Indian food that day. Since I was cooking a vegetarian meal, paneer was definitely on the menu- I just didn’t know what kind to make.

As I thought about all my choices, paneer makhani came to mind. I looked in my blog and realized I have never made it before- how can that be?? It is one of the more popular Indian dishes out there.

This version is the easy and quick one- it is done in about half an hour. There are other versions out there with more complex flavors but I don’t see any reason for that- this one is delicious and simple and best of all a big hit with everyone.

All you need is a can of crushed tomatoes, onions, ginger and garlic. One key ingredient is roasted cumin seeds- they impart a lovely, sweet, nutty flavor- not as smokey as the regular cumin seeds. I usually roast some cumin and always have it on hand. Another important ingredient is dried mint- I garnished the dish with some. It provides a delicious flavor as well. In case you don’t have the dried variety, add some fresh mint into the processor with the onions, ginger and garlic.

Try this dish next time you want to have a healthy, quick and easy Indian dish…

  • 1 12 oz pack of paneer, sliced into ½ inch squares
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2-inch ginger, peeled

Process the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor. Keep aside.

  • 2 teaspoons roasted cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
  • 1 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • ¼ cup dried mint
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Heat a heavy saucepan with the butter and oil. Add the roasted cumin seeds. Saute for 20 seconds and add the onion mixture. Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and half and half. Add the salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, coriander powder and dried mint. Bring to a boil and add the sliced paneer. Cook on medium for 20 minutes. Check for seasonings. Garnish with cilantro.

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