Monday, July 11, 2011

Paneer Makhani Rolls

A great substitute for meat in Indian food is paneer, or Indian cheese. It can be made at home easily but just requires some time and planning ahead. Some Indian grocery stores sell it fresh otherwise all sell it frozen. In this recipe I have used it fresh and am going to run through the recipe with you below too. Frozen works well, but fresh is fresh and always the best! 
You can eat this with rice, roti, naan or on toast.
Makhan is the word for butter in Hindi. Translated this is basically buttery paneer. Traditionally, this recipe would be with generous endowments of butter and heavy cream. But since this was a home meal I made a healthier version. 
My friend Aman makes the best Chicken Makhani and uses fenugreek (methi) in his recipe and after trying his I cannot make a Makhani dish without fenugreek. Thank you for the fabulous secret Aman! 
Makes a 6-inch slab
Active time: 15 minutes
  1. 1.In a large pot bring to boil 1/2 gallon full-fat milk and 1 32oz tub of full fat plain yogurt with 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (to help split the milk) and 1 tsp salt. 
  2. 2.Keep boiling until the milk and yogurt has split and the water and cream are clearly separated.
  3. 3.Place a cheese cloth in a large sieve in your sink. Strain the milk-yogurt mixture. Tie up the cheesecloth and hang it over your sink to strain the cream entirely for 10–15 minutes. Give it a few gently squeezes.
  4. 4.Place the cheesecloth on a plate and weigh down with the pot filled with water. Let it weight for 30 minutes at least. 
  5. 5.If the paneer is not set as yet, keep it in the refrigerator for another 1 hour to set.
Serves 4
1 hour
  1. 1.Fry 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamoms and 4 cloves in 2 tbsp olive oil.
  2. 2.Add 2 minced white onions and fry until brown. This will take at least 20–25 minutes and stir to not burn. Keep frying until the onions are a very dark brown.
  3. 3.When half way done, add 2 minced garlic cloves and 1-inch grated ginger along with 3–4 fresh minced green chillies.
  4. 4.Add 3 large chopped tomatoes*1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 1/2 tsp ground mace, 1 tsp mango powder (ambchur) and 1 tbsp dried fenugreek (methi). Stir to cook until oil separates.
  5. 5.Add paneer, salt to taste and a pinch red food coloring. Top with 1 tbsp unsalted butter and let it come to a boil and simmer covered. This will allow the paneer to soak in the flavors.
  6. 6.Roll in rotis or naans, add sliced onions, a squeeze of lemon juice and enjoy!
*If you are making this in the winter and do not have access to local fresh tomatoes you can use canned tomatoes with a tsp of tomato paste.

I usually cook large batches of the base sauce (steps 1 through 4) but do not add the spices. After the sauce is made I freeze it in small plastic containers and then defrost as needed and spice it as required.
This makes Indian home-cooking way faster and always delicious and ready!

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