Paneer Lababdar, is a popular restaurant style dish of paneer dunked in rich creamy and lightly spiced gravy. Lababdar is fine textured gravy with hint of sweetness and it’s usually less spicy. We all are aware of Paneer Lababdar as it is one of the top list especially vegetarians in restaurants. Paneer Lababdar always makes to list of most of the parties or any occasion or get-togethers. The touch of burnt charcoal aroma makes Paneer Lababdar richer and seductive. Lababdar masala base makes a use of Cashew nuts or almonds and melon seeds. Sometimes even little poppy seeds are used. The elite part of this recipe is, you can make lababdar masala base in bulk and store it in batches (depending upon the amount of gravy you want to make at a time) in freezer for upto 3 months. All you need will be, just thaw the masala paste and proceed with making of gravy as and when required. This is a boon for all you wonderful working ladies who do not have much time to spend in the kitchen especially when guests are expected for a feasts. Isn’t it wonderful to relish your favorite restaurant menu at home which will be ready in just few minutes??
The measure for the masala paste mentioned below is for 250 gms of paneer, you can increase or decrease accordingly to make the number of batches you desire to freeze.
Let’s go through, how to enjoy restaurant style Paneer Lababdar at home whenever you desire….
250, paneer, cut into 1& ½ inch cubes
1 nos, 2 inches cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon, garam masala powder
1 teaspoon, kasuri methi, slightly roasted and crushed
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon, honey
2 tablespoon cream
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon ghee and 1 tablespoon oil
A burning piece of charcoal and ½ teaspoon ghee
For Masala paste:
1 cup, tomatoes, chopped
½ cup, onion, chopped
1 teaspoon, char magaz (melon seeds)
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
2-3 green cardamom
½ teaspoon, cumin seeds
4-5 black peppercorns
½ blade of mace
1 teaspoon, garlic paste
¾ teaspoon, ginger paste
1 tablespoon oil
For Masala Paste:
In a pan, heat tablespoon of oil
Add cumin seeds, cardamom, black peppercorn, cloves and fry for few seconds
Add onions and little salt, fry until soft and pink. Add ginger garlic and cook for a minute or until raw smell goes off.
Add tomatoes, cashews, mace and cook on high for 2-3 minutes or until tomatoes are soft
Add chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric and cook high for another 2 minutes
Take it off the heat and cool.
Grind it to a fine paste.
At this point of time, you can keep this masala paste in a clean ziplock or airtight container and freeze it easily for up to 3 months and use it as and when required. When ready to cook, take the paste out, thaw it at room temperature and proceed with making of Lababdar. This Lababdar masala can be used not only for paneer but for vegetables (of your choice) and mushroom as well.
To make Gravy:
Heat, ghee and oil in heavy bottom pan or kadhai
Add bay leaf and cinnamon, fry until aromatic. Do not burn
Add prepared masala paste and cook for 10 minutes or until the masala is bhunoed (sautéed) well and starts releasing oil
Add ½ to one cup of water depending upon the thickness of the gravy required, check for salt and bring it to a boil
Add paneer and cream, gently mix
Add lemon juice, honey, garam masala, powder and Kasuri methi, cook for another 2-3minutes
Lastly, place a small piece of aluminium foil or a bowl in the center of the gravy
Place a burnt charcoal piece and top it with half a teaspoon of ghee and cover the lid tightly immediately and leave it as it is for 8-10 minutes
After 10 minutes, remove th charcoal and discard
Paneer Lababdar is ready to be served
Dish out and Serve hot with nan, paratha or phulkas and any pulao or rice of your choice