Friday, 25 March 2016

Smoky Paneer Masala Recipe

Well, it has been quite some time since I blogged last. It has been a hectic month and thanks to lovely readers like you wait for me so patiently, I have been able to focus completely on all that needed to be done!

So, what's been up with me? My husband has recently joined IIM, Trichy as a Professor. We've moved base to this lovely city. I have been busy moving and setting up the house. My younger brother (the sweetheart that he is!) had come with me to help me set up. We travelled to pristine Rameswaram with him and explored the city too. Now, that I have settled in, I am back to my love, food writing.

Paneer Masala Recipe

It has been quite an interesting experience so far to manage my own kitchen (yes, I have my own kitchen now!). With the taste preferences (similar and very very disparate, both) that my husband and I have, planning menus has been an interesting challenge. What fun it is!

Paneer Masala Recipe

This is one of the recipes I have made that we both really liked (yay!) and has gone down on my menu permanently. I got the idea for the trick from this recipe from my paternal aunt (which doesn't sound as great as 'foi' does). We had gone to invite her for our wedding and invariably, as it does with foodie families, the conversation turned to food and sharing recipes.

Paneer Masala Recipe
We were having  a lovely paneer masala that we had ordered from a restaurant. She said if you liked this one, try  a little trick next time you make paneer. Roast the onions on the stovetop before you grind them for the gravy. And I did... oh, I am soooo glad I did!! This paneer masala not just has a smoky edge, the roasting of the onions also gives them a lovely caramelisation that just takes the gravy to another level! So, thank you foi for this trick, it worked out beautifully for us!

This recipe goes best with these parathas.

Smoky Paneer Masala Recipe

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 2


2 medium sized onions
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3-4 whole black peppecorns
1 dried bay leaf
2 tsps garlic paste
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 tsp red chilly powder
2 tsps garam masala
1 cup water
100 gms paneer cut  into 1/4 inch cubes
Salt to taste

Fresh corriander leaves to garnish


Peel the onion, keeping it whole. Take a  fork and insert it into the onion to be able to hold it while roasting. Turn on the stove top and roast the onion on the flame.

Keep turning. It should only char a little, not turn too black or you will get a burnt flavour in the gravy. And take care with your fingers, the fork can turn very hot if you don't pay attention!

Roughly chop up the charred onion and puree it in a mixer-grinder.

In a pan, heat oil on a low flame. While it's heating, add in the whole peppercorns and bay leaf. Add them in the warm oil, they release flavour better that way.

After about 30 seconds, add in the pureed onions. Cook on the low flame till the oil starts to separate. This will take some time- about 7 to 8 minutes. Do not turn up the flame to high or you will burn the onions before they are cooked through. Have patience, great rewards await you!

Next, turn up the flame to medium high and add the tomatoes. After about 30 seconds, turn the flame to simmer and let the tomatoes cook till the oil separates.

Add in the red chilly powder and the garam masala and roast them in the mixture on low flame for another minute.

Turn up the flame to high and pour in the water to get the gravy. Let it come to a boil.

Once the water comes to a boil, lower the flame to simmer. Add the paneer pieces and salt. Stir in gently or the paneer will break. Simmer for about a minute.

Garnish with corriander leaves and serve with hot parathas.

Relish the paneer masala and the compliments!