The “Shahi” term actually means “Royal”. As the name suggests , Shahi Paneer is a rich and gorgeous gravy of Paneer simmered in creamy saffron gravy. This dish is so popular that it always makes it to the menu of special occasions and celebrations. This gravy can be called a king of the vegetarian Indian dishes and is the most preferred one by the vegetarians. I have added my touches to it and I believe that this one would probably be the best ever Shahi paneer you would have ever had.
For Masala Paste-
4 nos, medium sized onions, sliced
1 nos, large tomato, chopped
3 nos, cloves
3 nos, green cardamom
1 inch, cinnamon stick
1 tsp, shah jeera (black cumin)
¾ inch, ginger piece
4 to 5 nos, garlic cloves
5 to 6 nos, black pepper corns
½ blade of mace
Generous pinch of nutmeg powder
3 tbsps, almonds, blanched and peeled
2 tbsps, cashew
1 tbsp, oil
500 gms, paneer (cottage cheese), cut in medium sized cubes
1 nos, bay leaf
½ tsp, cardamom powder
½ tsp, garam masala powder
¼ cup, cream
½ cup, yoghurt
½ tsp, turmeric powder
1 tsp, Kashmiri red chili powder
1 tsp, coriander powder
3 tbsps, tomato puree
1 tsp, sugar
2 tbsps, oil
2 tbsps, ghee
Salt as per taste
Few drops of kewra essence
Generous pinch of saffron + 3 tbsp of warm milk
2 tbsps, ghee
Soak the saffron in warm milk and keep it aside.
For Masala paste
In a pan, heat one tbsp. of oil.
Add black cumin, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper corn and fry for few seconds.
Add onions and sauté on high heat for 2 mins.
Add chopped tomato, garlic, ginger, almonds and cashew. Saute for another 2 mins.
Add mace and nutmeg powder, mix well. Cover and cook till the tomatoes get soft and all the water dries up. The masala should be cooked such that the onions, ginger and garlic should loose their raw smell and onion turns light brown.
Cool it completely and then blend it to a fine paste. Add yoghurt and blend it for another 15 secs so that the yoghurt also blends well with the paste. This will help to avoid curdling of yoghurt and also will get blended well with masalas
In another pan, heat ghee and oil together.
Add bay leaf, fry for few seconds.
Reduce the heat, add Masala paste and mix. Increase the heat and sauté the masala for 3 to 4 mins.
Add tomato puree, red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric, salt and mix well.
Add 1 cup of warm water, mix and simmer till the oil starts floating on the top.
Add paneer cubes, cream, garam masala powder, cardamom powder, kewra essence, sugar and saffron
soaked milk. Adjust the consistency of the gravy as needed and cook for another 5 to 6 mins.
Dish out and garnish with cream, coriander leaves and few saffron strands.
Enjoy hot with naan, paratha or pulao of your choice.