Today I am sharing my chunky version of the paneer gravy that looks different from the super smooth Shahi Paneer and the rich Kadhai Paneer. This gravy contains fresh coconut, which gives it a refreshing taste that is ideal for these hot summer months.
Paneer is easy to make at home, nutritious and can be used in many ways.
Four Steps to a Delicious, Chunky Paneer Gravy
- Chopping the vegetables and sauteing with some spices and cashews
- Grinding the semi-cooked wetmasala
- Frying chopped onions with ground masala
- Adding the paneer and finishing up
Chopping and Sauteing
Peel the onions and quarter them. Chop tomatoes and chillies into large pieces. There is no need to spend time chopping them small.
Heat the thick bottomed kadhai/pan well before starting. When the pan is hot, add oil/ghee and drop in a few spices, on low heat. I use cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. You could add a red chilli too, if you like your food to spicy.
In 20 seconds, add the quartered onions, tomatoes and green chilli. Stir to coat the vegetables with oil.
Add cashews/roasted gram. Roasted gram is also called chutney daal. These ingredients are added because they give the gravy a certain thickness in the consistency and also prevent a watery look. Add coconut chunks. You can add 1/2 a cup of fresh coriander leaves if you have it and vary the taste by leaving it out when you don’t. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Grinding the Masala for the
Cool the cooked vegetables slightly. If you have a large mixie jar/food processor, it will be easy to grind this to a slightly chunky paste. Add salt and some sugar/jaggery.
Frying Onions with Ground Masala
You can use the same thick-bottomed pan to continue. Heat oil/ghee in it. Now add finely chopped onions. After they are translucent, add the ginger-garlic paste.
It is important to keep stiring it, so that it does not burn or stick to the pan. Fry till you get a lovely aroma, about five minutes.
Add 1/2 tsp each of coriander powder and turmeric powder. Also you can bring in variations by adding your favourite kind of dry spice. Any one that is available at home will do. It could be a meat masala/tandoori masala/chicken masala/paneer masala/a homemade one. Just add 3/4 tsp of it and fry well. This is the step that develops colour in the gravy, hence it is worth letting it become a deep golden brown colour.
Add the ground masala into this fried onion mixture. Let it cook for five minutes.
Adding Paneer and the Finishing Touches
Add the paneer pieces. You can add some milk or cream and kasoori methi too. Stir gently, adjust the salt. In order to keep the paneer soft, you must take it off the flame immediately. Otherwise it will turn tougher.
If however, the paneer is brought “loose” or from a large block, let it cook for an extra five minutes to avoid any tummy bugs. This is important especially in the summer season.
Serve with a sprinkling of coriander leaves and a drizzle of fresh cream. It goes well with simple phulkas, roties, plain steamed rice and all pulaos.
Paneer GravyCourse: Sides
30 minutes to a flavour-filled paneer gravy that can be served with all kinds of mains. With suggested variations to add a fresh taste every time you cook it.
250 gms of Paneer, cubed (or Paneer made from a litre of milk)
1 + 1 tbsps oil/ghee
2 large onions, quartered + 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, quartered
1-2 green chillies
Whole spices: 3 green cardamoms, 1 clove, 1 cm of cinnamon, 5 pepper corns
1/4 of a small fresh coconut, chopped or grated (approx 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp cashew nuts and/or roasted gram
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp kasoori methi (optional)
1/4 cup of cream/milk (optional) +1 tbsp to decorate
1/2 cup of coriander leaves (optional) + few sprigs for garnishing
- Heat pan and add 1 tbsp of oil/ghee. Carefully add the whole spices. In a few seconds, add the quartered onions. Stir for a minute, Now add the quartered tomatoes and the chillies. Stir well.
- Add coriander leaves if using. Now add the coconut and the cashews and/or roasted gram. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Cool.
- In the pan used earlier, pour in 1 tbsp of oil/ghee. Fry the finely chopped onions till translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for 5 minutes, till the mixture is golden brown in colour. Don’t let it burn.
- Add the coriander powder, turmeric powder and the chosen masala powder. Fry for half a minute.
- Grind the cooled vegetable mixture to a slightly chunky paste. Ensure the jar is big enough, else the mixture will spew all over the kitchen counter.
- Pour the ground masala into the pan with the fried onions and dry spices. Stir well and cook for five minutes. Check the salt. Add a tsp of pepper powder if you wish.
- Stir in milk/cream and kasoori methi if you want to include them. Now add the paneer pieces and take it off the stove. If the paneer has been bought “loose”, keep it on the heat for 5 minutes more.
- Garnish with cream and coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice/roties/phulka and some plain green vegetable salad.
- Source your paneer from a trusted place, or make it yourself. Keep in fridge till required.
- For and special occasion/when you have guests, you can make the dish richer by deep frying the paneer pieces for 2-3 minutes in hot oil before adding to the gravy. I normally avoid this.