Paneer is a simple un-aged, acid set, non-melting fresh cheese that is easily made at home. And a favoured restaurant recipe is paneer makhni which is quite rich in fat. Here we give it a healthy twist and call it the Healthy Paneer Makhni.
Paneer (originating from Persian word for cheese) takes on various forms depending on which part of the country is comes from. For the northern parts of India, paneer means huge pressed blocks whereas Bengali paneer is beaten or kneaded. Paneer is easily made at home and should be consumed fresh. It becomes stale with keeping and brittle and useless with refrigeration. First, milk should be heated to boiling point. To coagulate the milk, add the required amount of acid coagulant (at home add some lemon juice or citric acid) to the milk and stir continuously. If using citric acid, first dissolve it in water. When the white curds separate from the yellowish whey, switch off the heat. Cover for three to four minutes. Drain into a muslin cloth or cheesecloth. Tie up the cloth and hold it under running water. Press out excess water. From this point, the preparation of paneer diverges based on proposed use. In Mughlai cuisine, the paneer-cloth is put under a heavy weight, such as a stone slab, for two to three hours, and is then cut into cubes for use in curries. Pressing for a shorter time (approximately twenty minutes), will result in a softer, fluffier cheese. Bengali cuisine demands paneer-dough produced by beating the paneer by hand into a dough-like consistency.
Here we need paneer cubes for Healthy Paneer Makhni:
Cut 200 grams paneer into two thick slices. Heat two teaspoons oil in a non-stick pan. Add 4 green cardamoms, 6 cloves, 2 inch stick cinnamon, 7-8 cloves crushed garlic and 1 ½ inch chopped ginger and sauté till fragrant. Add 2 chopped green chillies and continue to sauté. Cook 3 cups freshly extracted tomato puree in another non-stick pan with little salt till it reduces slightly. Add this to the ginger-garlic masala and cook. Heat 2 more teaspoons of oil in a grill pan and place the paneer slices on it. Sprinkle some salt and ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder and grill, turning sides once, till both the sides are golden. Add 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves to the tomato gravy and mix. Add salt, 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala powder, 1 teaspoon kasoori methi and 2 tablespoons honey and mix well. Once the paneer pieces are well grilled, take them off the pan and cut into cubes. Add these cubes to the gravy and mix. Just before serving add ¼ cup skimmed milk and mix. Serve hot with chapatti.
Make some tandoori rotis or naans at home and serve it with this Healthy Paneer Makhni and enjoy some restaurant style food!