My all-time favorite Indian dish is called Shahi Paneer Korma. Our local Indian restaurant’s menu describes it as “homemade cheese sauteed with fresh ginger, garlic, onion, & tomato, cooked with a creamy sauce and garnished with nuts and raisins.” YUM. It’s so good, we served it at our wedding!
Since our budget doesn’t allow for eating at restaurants very much anymore, I decided to try my hand at making Shahi Paneer Korma at home. My first effort wasn’t so good…it smelled and tasted like feet, and we wound up getting takeout. The second try was quite good (though still not 100% authentic). I’ll probably be fiddling with ingredient amounts for a while, but here’s the recipe as it stands now.
2 tbsp each butter and extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Indian chili powder (or 4 tsp Mexican chili powder)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 cup water
1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained, or 1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cans tomato sauce
3/4 cup cream
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup cashew halves or pieces
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 lb paneer, cubed (I found mine at my local Indian grocery)
A little canola or coconut oil for lightly frying the cheese
Heat butter and olive oil in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onions until they’re brown and maybe even a little charred. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for another 1-2 minutes before adding the salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper, curry powder, and cardamom. Stir before adding the water to deglaze the pan. Pour in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, cream, and yogurt and stir to combine. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
In a separate pan, heat a little (really, a little!) canola or coconut oil and add the cubed paneer. Fry lightly on each side until just golden brown.
Add coconut, raisins, and cashew halves to the korma 5-10 minutes before serving, to give the cashews time to soften a little. Stir in the paneer and serve with Basmati rice.