The malai paneer dish I am eating is the softest, creamiest, and most beautiful I have ever had! Indian cottage cheese is known as paneer, while malai means cream. The dish is a paneer curry made in a milk cream gravy, as the name would imply. Cashew nuts increase the curry’s richness.
You can have Malai Paneer Korma with rice or any Indian bread. It tastes great and offers a healthy dose of protein. Make this meal if you’re planning a quick cat party or brunch with your friends; your guests will undoubtedly enjoy it!
Traditionally paneer or cottage cheese was always made at home. Once you get used to homemade paneer, you too will never head out to purchase it.
This Malai Paneer has a semi-dry consistency and a nice moistness due to the cream
Ingredients of Malai Paneer recipe
- 400 g fresh paneer, either homemade or purchased
- 1 cup cashew
- 4 tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium Onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 100 ml Malai (fresh cream)
- salt as required
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves – for garnish
- Wash the paneer with water and cut it into bite-size cubes and set aside.
- Finely chop the onion.
- Peel and crush the ginger-garlic to a fine paste in a mortar pestle. (you can use ginger-garlic paste).
- Grind cashew nuts and tomatoes in the small jar of a mixer grinder until a smooth paste.
Making Malai Paneer
- Put a deep pan on medium heat. Add oil and butter.
- Add the onions. Sauté for 2 minutes or until onions turn soft.
- When the oil is hot, add bay leaves, and ginger garlic paste, and Saute for 15-30 seconds or till the raw aroma of the ginger-garlic goes away.
- Add red chili powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and salt.
- Stir and saute the spice powders for a couple of seconds. Make sure you don’t burn them.
- Add in the tomato-cashew nut paste. Mix and sauté for 5 mins.
- Add 1 cup water and bring the mixture to a boil. (Add as per your need the consistency).
- Sprinkle crushed fenugreek leaves and Stir to mix again gently.
- Turn up the heat to medium, close the lid, and cook for 10 minutes or until oil floats on top of the curry.
- Now add paneer cubes, and cream, over it and mix until well combined.
- Do not cook for a long time after adding cream because it curdles if cooked more.
- Check for seasoning and add more salt, and garam masala as required. Turn off the flame.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve Malai Paneer!!
The Malai Paneer is an apt choice for a sumptuous starter or mocktail/cocktail snack. Since, we at home, are mostly roti and rice people, I serve it with that only along with a side of onion-lemon salad or cucumber-carrot salad.
You can even garnish it with chopped coriander leaves before serving and relish it with phulka or naan as well. You can Serve it hot with paratha or rice.
Tips and variations
- Cashew nuts make the curry and add to its creaminess. You can skip the cashew nuts in the gravy for a lighter version of the dish.
- You can also add boiled peas if you want.
- Once you add paneer and cream do not cook for long. Just simmer the curry for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
- If you like more gravy, then add more water and cook until you get desired consistency.
- Make sure that paneer cubes are added only towards the end of cooking.
- For a vegan preparation, you can substitute paneer or cottage cheese with plain tofu and milk cream with soy cream or ½ cup more cashew nuts. And don’t use butter, only oil.
- The malai paneer recipe can be halved or doubled.
Q: Can I use store-bought paneer for Malai Paneer?
A: Yes, you can use store-bought paneer for making Malai Paneer. However, if you prefer, you can also make paneer at home using milk and lemon juice or vinegar. Homemade paneer tends to be softer and fresher in taste.
Q: What can I serve with Malai Paneer?
A: Malai Paneer pairs well with various Indian breads such as naan, roti, paratha, or kulcha. It can also be served with steamed rice, jeera rice (cumin-flavored rice), or pulao (spiced rice dish). A side salad or raita (yogurt-based side dish) complements the flavors of Malai Paneer.
Q: Can I make Malai Paneer without onions and garlic?
A: Yes, you can make a no-onion-no-garlic version of Malai Paneer by omitting the onions and garlic from the recipe. You can still achieve a delicious dish by focusing on the spices, cream, and other ingredients.
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