Fresh Indian Cheese in a Butter-tomato Sauce (Paneer Makhani)
This is the vegetarian version of Chicken in a Butter-tomato Sauce, for which a tandoor-roasted bird is cut up and enfolded in a rich, creamy sauce. This vegetarian incarnation is much loved and generally eaten with Indian flatbreads, especially naans.
- 250 ml/8 fl oz tomato passata
- 250 ml/8 fl oz double cream
- 2 tsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 fresh hot green chilli, finely chopped
- 1¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp nice red chilli powder
- 1 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), crumbled (optional)
- 400 g/14 oz fresh Indian cheese (paneer), cut into 2 cm/ ¾ inch squares
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter plus
- 1 tbsp olive or peanut oil
- ¼ tsp whole cumin seeds
- 2–3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Combine the tomato passata, cream, ginger, garam masala, lemon juice, sugar, green chilli, 1 teaspoon of the salt, chilli powder, ground roasted cumin and dried fenugreek leaves (if using) in a bowl. Stir thoroughly and set aside.
Put the cubed cheese into another bowl. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Toss well to mix.
Put the butter, oil and cumin seeds in a medium, non-stick pan and set over a medium heat. Put all the cheese cubes in the pan in a single layer and brown them very lightly on at least two sides. Pour the tomato sauce over the top and stir to mix. Bring to a simmer, then heat very gently for 4–5 minutes, stirring with a light hand as you do so. Sprinkle the fresh coriander over the top before serving.