Shahi durbari paneer pasanda

Shahi durbari paneer pasanda is made with a very rich gravy made with almonds and cashew nuts paste and cream. This gravy is a little different from the one I detailed in pudina wale paneer pasanda recipe. Almonds paste, boiled onion paste, cream being some additions and mint leaves and pepper powder being some deletions.

Shahi durbari paneer pasanda is a very delectable dish made with stuffed and fried paneer in the smooth, rich, aromatic and delicious sauce (curry). Paneer pasanda is generally very popular vegetarian dish and served in the restaurants.

Pasanda in Hindi means liking. The original name came from mutton pasanda in which the meat is pounded to tenderize and the favourite part of the meat is taken. It was served in the Imperial court of Shah Jahan and is still served in restaurants. You can serve stuffed paneer pasanda in any sauce (curry) of your liking like butter chicken sauce.

I have stuffed the paneer with mewa (raisins, almonds and cashew nuts) and mint leaves. I have made the sauce with onions and tomato puree. I have also added fresh mint leaves to give a different flavour. It is very delicious and rich. If you want you can add very little dry mint powder to the sauce.

Paneer can be stuffed with any dry fruits you like. I have added mint leaves for the flavour.

Ingredients

  • Oil for shallow frying
  • Stuffing

  • Paneer (cottage cheese, grated) – 1/2 cup
  • Almonds (badam, chopped) – 6
  • Raisins (kishmish) – 1 tbsp
  • Cashewnuts (kaju, chopped) – 5
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Green chilli (chopped) – 1
  • Garam masala – 1/4 tsp
  • Crushed pepper powder – 1/4 tsp or a pinch
  • Mint leaves (chopped) – 10
  • Sauce or curry

  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Butter – 2 tbsp
  • Onions (medium size, boiled to make paste) – 2
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Green chilli (chopped) - 1
  • Tomato puree (concentrated) – 4 tbsp
  • Tomato ketchup – 2 tbsp
  • Kasmiri chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Green cardamom powder – 3/4 to 1 tsp
  • Single cream – 1 1/3 cups
  • Kasoori methi – 2 big pinches or 1 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Whole spices

  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Cinnamon stick (3 inches) – 1
  • Green cardamom – 4
  • Cloves - 6
  • For almonds and cashew nuts paste

  • Almonds – 8
  • Cashew nuts – 8
  • Coating for frying paneer

  • Plain flour – 1/3 cup
  • Crushed pepper – a small pinch

Method

    Stuffing paneer pasanda

  • Cut paneer into triangle shapes, but a little thick like say 1 cm, as the dry fruits mixture has to be stuffed.
  • Slowly and carefully cut or make a slit in the centre of paneer. The intent is to make a little pocket inside the paneer so that we can stuff easily. A few might get cracks and few may even break, but that’s fine. This is the preferred method as this will hold the stuffing properly.
  • Alternatively you can just cut any shape you like and sandwich the stuffing like how we make sandwiches.
  • Chop mint, almonds, raisins, and cashew nuts. Add it to the grated paneer. Add salt and crushed pepper to this, mix well and keep it aside.
  • Stuff slowly and carefully so that it does not break.
  • Mix plain flour and crushed pepper.
  • Coat the stuffed paneer slices in the about mixture.
  • Heat a pan with oil and when it is hot shallow fry the paneer pieces until it is lightly brown on both sides and crispy from outside.
  • It will be easy if you fry it in the batches then put them on the kitchen towels to drain the excess oil.
  • Cooking the gravy

  • Cut the onions into half and boil for 15 to 20 mins.
  • Grind the onions to a smooth paste with 1/3 cup of water and keep it aside.
  • Soak the almonds and cashew nuts in hot water for about 20 to 30 mins.
  • Remove the skin of almonds and make a smooth paste. Use a little water while making the paste.
  • Heat a big and wide vessel, add oil and butter. When it gets hot, add whole spices and after about 30 seconds, add the onion paste and 1/2 cup water.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste, tomato puree, chilli powder and mix well. Cook for 2 mins and add 3/4 cup of water again. Cook for 10 mins on a medium flame and then a further 5 mins on a low flame with the lid closed. Stir occasionally and cook until it is dark in colour and starts leaving oil.
  • Add almond and cashew nuts paste, green chilli, and 3/4 cup of water again. Mix well and cook for 10 mins with the lid closed. Stir occasionally.
  • When the gravy becomes thick and starts leaving oil, add ketchup 2 tbsp, butter 1tbsp, cream, 1/4 cup water and green cardamom powder. Mix well and cook on a low flame for about 15 mins until its colour changes to a darker colour and leaves oil.
  • Crush kasoori methi with your hand in to a powder and add to the curry. Cook for 10 mins over a low flame. Stir occasionally.
  • Do not worry about the cream as we are cooking only over a low flame.
  • If the curry becomes thick, add water according to the consistency you want.
  • When the curry is ready, just before serving, place the stuffed paneer, paneer pieces and/or paneer koftas.
  • I made the paneer koftas with the remaining stuffing. Just roll the stuffing into a ball and coat it with plain flour and shallow fry.
  • Serve this smooth, delicious and aromatic shahi darbari paneer pasanda with naan, puri or roti (chapathi).

Notes

  • Add water according to the consistency you want for the curry.
  • You can use the remaining boiled water of onions in the curry.
  • If the paneer cracks while stuffing it is okay. After coating it in plain flour and frying in oil, the cracks will not be seen.
  • If you do not want to add cream, then just use milk and make the gravy.
  • In this delicious gravy, you can add paneer pieces, paneer koftas or even chicken pieces.
  • Instead of kashmiri chilli powder, you can add ordinary chilli powder.
  • If you want, you can make the gravy in advance and at the time of serving, just fry the paneer pieces, place them on the gravy and serve.

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