Shahi Paneer is a popular paneer-based dish consisting of creamy gravy. The dish is rich, heavy and full of fats. The dish is a little sweet, tangy, spicey all in one. Even so, it is delicious and like a treat.
The recipe originated during the Mughal era in India. Shahi means royal. Hence this dish was served to and enjoyed by the members of the royal families.
Paneer itself is a treat for many people and is cooked on occasion. Besides, this gravy is extremely rich in cashew paste, nuts, and cream. That is why you are sure to feel like a royal while eating this.
Ingredients For Shahi Paneer
Paneer – The star ingredient of the recipe. There is a variety of paneer available nowadays. Choose the one with a softer and silkier texture. Or the one with more cream content.
Oil – We are using regular cooking oil. You can use any type you like. Or can even substitute oil with ghee or butter.
Cashews & Onions – These will make the base of the gravy. Both of them are to be ground separately. If you like, you can add sesame seeds, almonds, or melon seeds along with cashews to make the paste thicker.
Spices – Bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper are the whole dry spices we will be using for taste and aroma. For more flavours, we will be adding salt, green chilli, and cardamom powder.
The ginger-garlic paste will provide the basic taste to the recipe. And turmeric powder will give a nice colour. Lastly, garam masala powder will enhance the flavours.
Curd & Heavy Cream – These ingredients will add to the gravy and the richness of the recipe. While curd will give tanginess to the dish, heavy cream will balance it out. And also, the colour of the dish is due to these ingredients and cashew paste as well.
Preparing Shahi Paneer
First, you need to soak the cashews in warm water. Grind them to a paste and then keep them aside for later. Next, heat water in a pan, add onion pieces and boil them until they turn soft.
If you are using almonds or seeds to the paste, then soak them with cashews and make a paste of them. Or another option would be to boil these with onion as well. And then grind it with onions to make a paste. Keep the paste aside.
Note: If you use this method, you can use that strained water later in the gravy. Hence do not throw it away.
Now heat oil in a pan. Add bay leaves, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, ginger-garlic paste, and green chillies. Saute them for a minute. Do not overcook them, or they’ll burn and give a bitter taste.
Then add the onion puree and saute till the oil gets separated. After that, add cashew paste and stir for 1-2 minutes. After that, add curd as well. Cook until it turns thick and keeps on stirring from time to time.
Add heavy cream, salt, garam masala powder, and cardamom powder. Mix everything well. After that, we need to add turmeric. Only add turmeric if you want to have a yellowish colour to the gravy.
Finally, add paneer pieces into it. Mix and cover it with a lid. Cook till the paneer turns soft. And shahi paneer is ready to eat. Enjoy it with roti, naan, or paratha. Or can also serve it with rice-based dishes like cumin rice, veg pulao, or ghee rice.
- Some people add tomatoes to the gravy. It is optional, though. However, keep in mind that it will affect both the colour and taste of the dish.
- Both powdered and dry spices are adjustable as per taste.
- You can cut paneer in any way you like. The shape will not make any difference.
- Those who are vegan or lactose intolerant have an option of replacing the yoghurt with almond milk yoghurt, cream with coconut milk, and paneer with tofu.
- Add less water if you want a thicker gravy.
- You can omit onions and garlic if you don’t eat that. But it will heavily affect the taste. These ingredients can be substituted with a bit of asafoetida but not too much.
- Sprinkle a lit bit of rose water or kewda to make it more royal-like.
- To attain absolute richness, you can add khoya (milk solids) as well.
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