Royalty on a Platter
The old kingdom of Lucknow was famous for its Awadhi cuisine. Befitting the royalty, it has the choicest flavours and ingredients and is slow cooked to perfection. Paneer Chandni is one such exotic dish. In my recipe, Verka Paneer is transformed into a melt in the mouth dish with a velvety gravy. Verka Ghee makes the taste even better !
- 300-350 gm Verka Paneer
- 1½ tbsp Verka Ghee
- 1 inch piece of ginger, scraped and chopped roughly
- 1-2 green chilies cut into large pieces
- ½ cup cashew nuts
- ½ cup ‘khoya’, grated or crumbled.
- 1 large onion, finely minced
- 4 cloves
- 3 green ‘elaichis’, peeled and powdered.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp cream
- 4-5 slivered almonds to garnish
- Place the cashew nuts, ginger and chilis in a blender and grind to a smooth paste.
- Heat Verka Ghee in a ‘kadhaai’, fry the cloves, then add the onions. Stir briefly to saute.
- Add the cashew-ginger-chili paste, stir well, then add the ‘khoya’.
- Mash the khoya into the other ingredients till it is smooth.
- The mixture can stick to the bottom, so keep stirring !
- Add a little boiled water , salt and pepper and ‘elaichi’ powder, then stir to get the correct consistency o. gravy.
- Cut paneer into even sized cubes and add to the gravy. Mix, cover and cook till the cubes are soft.
- Spoon the cream over the ‘kadhaai’, mix gently and transfer to a bowl.
- Garnish with almond slivers and serve with naans or ‘lachha parantha’.
Note: You can use ‘malaai’ from milk instead of buying cream. This is a pale coloured gravy (hence the name ‘chandni’). Do not allow the onions or khoya to brown. For a special occasion, garnish the dish with silver ‘varrk’ and a few strands of saffron.