For the second day of cooking from Vaishali's blog, I naturally had to select a paneer dish. Somehow reading her post when she posted this Paneer gravy, I decided I must make it sometime. Knowing how much my kids love Paneer gravies, I knew I could do with yet another version of Paneer gravy. I especially liked the fact that Vaishali named the dish as Laajawaab, because that's how her son reacted saying Paneer Laajawaab hai! The same scenario happens at home.
Every time I feed my boys that they like, right on they show their liking with a thumbs-up sign. That attests that the dish meets more than their expectation and I am supposed to make it again. Well, it was the same with this dish too. Not only did Chinnu love it so much, but he also wanted the same for dinner as well. So I had to save it up just for him.
It is interesting to note my family reaction when I was making this dish. Until the moment I was ready to make this dish, I hadn't actually gone through the recipe, and reading it calls for bottle gourd was a real surprise. However in our household, though it might surprise most, bottle gourd is a vegetable that graces the stocks regularly. And it so happened that we had just the amount I needed for this gravy.
Knowing that I was cooking with a vegetable with a Paneer, I wasn't ready to reveal to my family. I know they can get prejudiced with it. So I kept the part of the bottle gourd a very guarded secret. When everybody appreciated how creamy and rich it tastes, I sheepishly nodded and said Vaishali has great recipes. Only with hubby dear, was I bold enough to ask if he wants to know what has gone into the gravy. Knowing that I might say the unexpected, he was smart enough to ask me not to share. He said it was enough to know that the dish is very good and that I can include it in our regular menu, but he was not willing to be part of the secret..:)Anyway coming to the gravy, I must implore you to try, for you will surely get hooked!
Step by Step picture Recipe
Paneer / Indian Cottage Cheese - 250 gms
Onion paste - 1/2 cup
Bottle gourd puree - 1/2 cup
Ginger Garlic and chilly paste - 2 tsp
Tomato puree - 1/2 cup
Whole Cumin Seeds / Jeera 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Roasted cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Milk for consistency (I added about 3/4 cup)
Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
For final garnish
Garam Masala - 3/4 tsp
Kasoori Methi - 2 pinches
Fresh cream or malai - 2 tsp (opt, I didn't add)
Chop chilies, ginger and garlic. Make a smooth paste.
For the bottle gourd puree, peel and chop into pieces. microwave for 10 mins. Once cooled, make a puree.
How to make the Paneer Lajawab:
Heat a non stick pan with ghee, roast paneer lightly. Remove and keep it aside.
Then add the oil to the pan, temper with cumin seeds, when it crackles, add onion, ginger garlic chilly paste. Let it cook for couple of mins
Next add the bottle gourd puree. combine everything well and continue cooking for couple of mints, till the moisture is gone. Now add tomato puree and cool for 5 mins in sim.
Add all the dry spice powders and cook till oil separates.
Add paneer and milk to adjust the gravy consistency.
Garnish with fresh cream if you are using.
Sprinkle garam masala and kasoori methi.
Serve with Naans.
Notes: I didn't add the cream or extra milk. The gravy was very rich without all these as such.