Paneer Korma

Paneer, also known as cottage cheese is one of favorite components of Indian vegetarian dishes. There are so many variations of paneer dishes, however, when a middle eastern friend recently asked me, “What’s a default word that comes to you when you open your eyes – curry?”, I could not help but wonder how many different kinds of curries I could make any given day.

I have some fun memories about paneer dishes growing up. My kiddo cousin, Sid wanted any kind of paneer dish everyday, so my aunt had excelled multiple ways of cooking paneer and there is absolutely nothing in this world that he enjoys more (maybe butter chicken, lol). I am sure he will relish every bite of this. Korma is a true legacy of the Mughlai cuisine from the Indian sub-continent, and typically it is defined as a dish where meat, egg, paneer or vegetables are braised with yogurt or cream and flavored with some amazing spices. This dish has an amazing creamy texture and is full of flavors that your taste buds would thank you for!!

Last Sunday, I made this along with some other staple Indian dishes, and man, we had a feast!! I would say – you should totally indulge in these delicious spice combinations and make your special korma, and when you do, you know what you can’t forget – Gobble Gobble!!

INGREDIENTS (Serves 2-3)
2-3 cups cubes of paneer (cottage cheese)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp olive oil/ ghee
2-3 ground green cardamoms
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 bay leaf torn
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground anise
1 tsp fresh minced garlic
1/3 cup yogurt/ cream
1 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish
salt – to taste

LETS GROOVE

  • Slice the onions thin and vertically.
  • Typically you will get paneer as a block in the Indian store and it could be frozen. So, heat water in a deep pan and immerse the paneer block in it completely so it softens up. Do not microwave it or else it will become very chewy when it cools down.
  • Cut the paneer into cubes.
  • Mix all the dry spices and keep them aside.
  • Heat the pan with olive oil/ ghee (I used ghee), and add bay leaf, ground cardamom and cloves and let them sizzle for like 30 seconds.
  • Add the minced garlic to it. Make sure you stir well so that the garlic does not burn, and gives a great aroma.
  • Add the onions and saute until it is caramelized.
  • Add the rest of the spices and mix well. Let the korma masala cook until the oil/ghee leaves the pan.
  • Take the masala off the gas, and let it cool. Once cooled, grind it into a coarse paste using your food processor.
  • Heat about 1/2 tsp of oil/ ghee and let the ground paste cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of water and the paneer into it. Let it cook for about 5-6 minutes
  • Add the yogurt/ cream to it. I used yogurt as that is the healthier option. Now mix it all properly and cover and let it simmer for about a few minutes until the masala is nicely coated onto the paneer and the gravy is thick.
  • Garnish it with chopped cilantro leaves.
  • Enjoy it with Indian bread (Roti) or naan (mostly loved with naan)

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