Garlic Basil Paneer

February 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

This saturday started slowly – it was around 10 in the morning by the time we woke up!! The weather outside was cold and wet with snow and rain. It made a very pretty landscape, but we were happy to stay at home – warm and dry :). The wintery weather called for some serious comfort food and the weekend mindset called for something quick and easy. This dish fit the bill. My mother used to make a variation of this dish and growing up this was a favorite with chapattis, a quick Indian flatbread.

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Paneer is an Indian cheese – mild, but creamy and smooth. We really like paneer, but most Indian recipes for paneer include multiple ingredients and many steps. But this dish is quick and easy and hits the spot – with the creaminess from the paneer, the heat from the chilies, the sweet and tart flavor of tomato and the freshness from basil. We ate this with fresh hot chappatis. This would be perfect with rice or naan as well.

Ingredients:
340 gms paneer (1 packet), cubed
4 thai green chilies (we like spicy, use less according to preference), finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
5 basil leaves
1 tsp vinegar
3 tbsp oil
pinch of salt

  • Heat a heavy skillet with 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat. Add the cubed paneer and fry until lightly brown on each side. Turn frequently to avoid burning. You might have to do this in two batches, depending on the size of the skillet. Transfer the browned panner from the skillet into a bowl of warm water.
  • Add the remaining 2 tbsps of oil to the skillet. Once the oil is heated through, reduce the heat to medium low and add the finely chopped onions, garlic and green chilies. Add a pinch of salt and stir occasionally, until the onions are translucent and soft.
  • Add the tomato paste into the skillet. Take care not to burn. Add 1-2 tbsps of water if the skillet is too dry and the mixture might burn. Stir frequently and cook until the tomato paste is slightly roasted (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce and half a cup of water into the skillet.
  • Drain the water in which the paneer was soaking (see Step 1above) and add the paneer to the skillet. Pour enough water in the skillet to cover the paneer cubes. Taste the sauce to adjust seasoning. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover the skillet and keep at a simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Add 1 tsp of vinegar to the skillet – adjust depending on the tartness of the tomato paste used. Take the skillet off the heat. Roughly tear the basil leaves and add to the pan. Serve immediately.
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