Paneer Makhanwala

Paneer Makhanwala

North India enjoys more pastoral land than the South and has a tradition of dairy farming. The abundance of milk has influenced the cuisine of Punjab and its neighbouring states with milk products such as yoghurt, butter and the fresh cheese paneer are used frequently. This popular dish is also known as Paneer Makahani or Butter Paneer.

paneer – 1/2 lb. or 250 gms (cut into 1″ cubes)
ghee (to deep fry paneer)
1 onion
1″ piece of ginger
8 garlic cloves
3 tbsp. tomato puree
2 bay leaves
4 peppercorns
3 cloves
4 cardamoms
1″ stick of cinnamon
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp kasoori methi or dry fenugreek leaves
2 tbsp malai or heavy cream
1/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp freshly choppped cilantro
1/4 tsp sugar
salt to taste

  • Deep fry paneer in hot ghee till light golden. Keep aside
  • Grind the onions, ginger and garlic to a paste
  • Heat 1/2 tbsp. of ghee (use the one in which paneer was fried) in a heavy saucepan
  • Add ‘whole garam masala’ – clove, bayleaf, cardamom and cinnamon. Fry for 15 seconds, be careful not to burn the spices
  • Add the onion-ginger-garlic paste and fry till golden
  • Add the dry powders, fenugreek , sugar and tomato puree. Stir fry for 2 minutes or until the oil separates from the onion-tomato-spice paste
  • Add 2 cups of water. Simmer on low flame for 10 minutes
  • Add the cream, butter, paneer pieces and cook for 5 minutes until paneer softens
  • Transfer to serving dish. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with parathas or naans

John McLaughlin – has he been knighted yet? His playing epitomizes the best in Indo-Jazz fusion and I will doubtlessly refer to him elsewhere on this site, but this clip of him playing Cherokee is crazy!

“The forms are different, and they’re coming from different cultures, but whether we sit down or whether we stand to play together, what happens? What I go for—and I’m sure all the musicians go for—every time we play is to have a collective experience in which it’s all spontaneous; music becomes really quite magical at that point. The marvelous thing about improvisation is the allowance of spontaneity to come in, which is such an important element in music, and such an important element in life, because in spontaneity we can only be ourselves. We are being absolutely honest at that moment, and it’s really the only moment we have.” ~ McLaughlin in a 2013 Interview

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