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Taste of Northern India: Paneer Makhani

Marilynne Cheng

Words and Photos by Radhika Bhagat

One Northern Indian dish that I have learned from my mom is paneer makhani. Even though I can never make it as well as she can, it still remains one of the dishes I love to make! Paneer makhani is a tomato and cream-based sauce that goes really well with either naan bread or white rice. Paneer is a type of cheese that can be found at a local Indian grocery stores, or sometimes even regular grocery stores. When you combine the two together, you get a dish that will definitely be a crowd-pleaser! 

Ingredients (serves 4-5 people):     
15-20 cubes of fried paneer
10 ounces of tomato puree
2 medium-sized onions
6 ounces of cream cheese
½ cup of half-and-half cream
1 ½ tablespoons of garlic paste
1 ½ tablespoons of ginger paste
¼ of a stick of butter
salt, to taste
chili powder, to taste
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tbsp. of Kitchen King Masala
Chopped cilantro, for garnishing

1. Peel the onions and chop them into medium-sized chunks.
2. Let the onion chunks boil in about 2 cups of water until they are soft.
3. Drain the water and grind the onions in a blender.
4. Take a nonstick pan and set the heat to medium.
5. Add the ¼ stick of butter.
6. After the butter has melted, add the ginger and garlic pastes.
7. After you see the mixture turn into a light golden brown, add the onion paste.
8. When the onion paste starts coming to a boil, add the cream cheese. Many people tend to add the cream cheese after the tomato puree, but I like to add it before because it’s easier to prevent lumps.
9. Mash the cream cheese until there are no lumps.
10. Add the tomato puree and the half-and-half. Stir for about 5-7 minutes.
11. Add the Kitchen King masala, turmeric, powder, chili powder and salt. Be careful when adding the Kitchen King masala and chili powder because it can get really spicy!
12. Add the paneer cubes and stir again for another 5 minutes.
13. When it starts coming to a boil, the paneer makhani is ready!
14. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
15. Serve with Naan and/or rice.