15 April 2014

Paneer Koftas in Capsicum Makhani

Paneer or Indian cheese is an amazing ingredient which can be suited and adapted for most cuisines. It can be cut into blocks and used for lip-smacking Tikkas or crumbled up for dumplings served in gravy.
Paneer is an excellent source of calcium. I read somewhere that adults above the age of 40, especially women should have a bowl of fresh paneer and boiled peas salad everyday as it is a fantastic supplement of Estrogen.

How to make Paneer :

Milk - 1 ltr
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Boil milk in a heavy-bottom saucepan.
2. As it reaches boiling point, add the juice of a lemon and let the milk curdle.
3. Strain by using a muslin cloth on a strainer. If the recipe uses fresh and/or crumbled paneer, use as is. Else place in a container and refrigerate till set.
Tip : Do not discard the 'whey'; this can be used within the next 2-3 days (refrigerated) and can come in handy for preparing chapati/paratha dough, etc..


Ingredients :

For capsicum makhani gravy : (Or you could simply use 2 packets of Maggi Bhuna Masala - Makhani variant, if available)
Large tomatoes (blanched and peeled) - 3
Capsicum - 1 (diced)
Cloves - 2
Butter - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste - 2 tsps
Onion - 1 large (ground)
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves) -1/2 tsp
Tomato ketchup - 1 tsp
salt to taste
Cream - 3 tbsps

Paneer Koftas :
Crumbled Paneer - 1 cup
Green chillies (chopped) - 2 (1 if large)
Chopped coriander - 2 tbsps
Salt to taste
Maida - 1 tbsp
Cornstarch - 1 tbsp

Other :
Chopped dhaniya - for garnishing

Method :

1. For the koftas or dumplings, blend together Paneer, green chillies, dhaniya and salt. Transfer to a bowl and add the maida and cornstarch. Mix gently and refrigerate for about 30 minutes

2. For the gravy, heat oil or ghee in a pan. sprinkle jeera and let crackle.

3. Add the ginger-garlic paste followed by the onion paste. Cook the two well. Add capsicum and cook for about 5 minutes.

4. Now add the tomato paste, chilli powder, kasuri methi, garam masala, tomato ketchup and fresh cream (in the end) and stir well. Let cook for about 7-8 minutes. Best to cover, so the aroma is retained. Take care to not let the capsicum become too soggy, but should retain some crunchiness. (I must add here that when I opened the lid, the aroma of capsicum cooked in the gravy was simply heavenly!!)

5. To prepare the koftas. prepare a paste of maida and just enough water to get a thick paste. Make small rounds of the paneer mix, dab some dry flour on your hands if the mix is sticky.

6. Dip the rolls in the maida paste and fry on medium heat till golden brown. Before doing this, always drop a small tester round into the oil to see if it breaks and paneer starts oozing out. If it does, add a little maida to the mixture to get a better binding. Strain the excess oil from the koftas and keep aside.

7. Warm the gravy. On a serving dish place the dumplings or koftas and pour the gravy gently on top. Garnish with chopped coriander.
Serve with chapatis or rice.