Paneer lababdar is a popular paneer gravy dish and can be found on the menu of many restaurants native from North Indian Punjabi cuisine.
For the tomato-cashew paste:
250 grams ripe red tomatoes
½ inch ginger [chopped]
2 to 3 garlic [chopped]
½ cup water
1 green cardamom
200 grams paneer [cubes]
2 tbsp grated paneer
100 grams onion [chopped]
1 bay leaf
1 or 2 green chilies [slit]
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp garam masala powder
¼ cup low fat cream, 25% to 35% fat
1 tsp kasuri methi [crushed]
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp butter
¼ to ½ tsp sugar or add as required
1 or 1.25 cups water
Salt as required
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
Preparing tomato-cashew-spices paste:
Take tomatoes, cashews, ginger, garlic, green cardamom, cloves and ½ cup water in a small pan, simmer this mixture on a low flame.
Cook till the tomatoes are softened. If the water dries up and the tomatoes are not softened, then add about 2 to 3 tbsp water and continue to cook.
Allow this mixture to become warm or cool completely and add to a grinder or blender jar.
Grind to a smooth paste without any cashews or tomato chunks or pieces. You may add some water if required while grinding. Keep this ground tomato-cashew-spices paste aside.
Preparing paneer lababdar gravy:
Heat butter in pan. Add bay leaf and sauté for a couple of seconds.
Add chopped onions. Stir well. Then continue to sauté as well as stir and cook till the onions become light golden or golden, add the tomato-cashew-spices paste. The mixture will splutter if there is water in it, so be careful. Stir very well.
Add cumin powder, coriander powder and red chili powder, stir and sauté this masala. You will see the masala clumping and gathering around itself.
Sauté till you see fat leaving the sides of the masala paste.
Then add 1 cup water. Stir very well. Add slit green chilies.
Stir and allow the gravy to come to a simmer, season with salt and sugar.
Add paneer cubes and grated paneer.
Stir and simmer the gravy for about a minute.
Then sprinkle kasuri methi which has been crushed along with garam masala. Stir and simmer for a minute
Lastly add low fat cream. Switch off the flame & stir very well. You can also add butter and mix well
Garnish paneer lababdar with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with chapatis, tandoori rotis or naan. Paneer lababdar also goes well with jeera rice or veg pulao.