Its the south Indian version of Paneer butter masala using the Chettinad spices - fennel, pepper and lots of garlic, ginger and curryleaves. Here is the recipe for this lip- smacking paneer masala with a chettinad twist.
Fresh Paneer - 200 gms or as required - Cut into 1 inch cubes
Deep frying the paneer till golden is optional.
(used Milky mist paneer - 1 packet - did not fry)
Unsalted Butter - in room temperature - 2 tablespoons
Cashew nuts - 2 tablespoons
Poppy seeds (Khas khas) - 1 tablespoon
Onion - 2 medium - roughly chopped
Tomato - 4 large - roughly chopped
Ginger - 2 inches - peeled and roughly choppe
Garlic - 8 to 10 cloves
Green chillis - 1 to 2 (as per heat and taste)
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Sugar - 1 teaspoon
Salt as required
Chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon (optional)
Coriander leaves - handful - for garnish
Ground Masala Paste:
Roast the following in little oil, adding them in the order given.
Coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds - half tablespoon
Black Peppercorns - 1 teaspoon
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
Cloves - 2 to 3
Fennel (saunf) - 2 teaspoons
Green cardamom (Elachi) - seeds from 3 to 4 cardamoms
Dry red chillies - 2 to 3
Add fresh coconut - a little more than half cup and roast all the indredients together until the coconut is roasted.
Turn off heat and cool. Grind using little water and keep it aside.
Soak Cashewnuts and Poppy seeds (khas khas) in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain water and transfer it to the mixie jar and grind it using very little water. Let it sit in the Mixie jar.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a kadai. Add chopped onions, green chillies, chopped ginger, garlic cloves, curry leaves and fry till onion turns translucent.
Add Chopped tomatoes, and fry till it is almost cooked.
Cool the content and transfer it to the ground cashew, poppy seed Mixie jar. Grind to a smooth paste and Keep it aside.
Heat a teaspoon of oil with a tablespoon butter.
Add the Ground Masala Paste.
Fry for a couple of minutes in medium heat, until a good aroma comes and the butter/oil separates.
Now add the ground cashew, poppy, onion tomato masala.
When the content boils, add required amount of sugar, salt, red chilli powder (optional) and turmeric powder.
The content will thicken. Adjust the consistency using little water and allow the content to boil for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add a table spoon of butter and turn off heat.
Add the paneer (as is or fried) and stir in gently. Squeezing lemon juice at this point is optional.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Tastes awesome with chapathi or any roti or paratha variety. Truly spicy, tasty, lip smacking curry.
Note: This curry is really spicy. Adjust the green chilli, red chilli, red chillie powder, garlic and ginger as per taste.