- Servings: 4
2 cups chopped onions
2 Tbsp fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp neutral, high-heat oil (canola or grapeseed or peanut), divided
2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder (pure ground chili, not Mexican-style chili powder that's pre-mixed with cumin and oregano -- you can substitute paprika with a pinch of cayenne)
3+ cups chopped fresh tomatoes (if substituting canned, only use 2 cups)
2-4 tsp honey
1/2 cup half-and-half, or a slightly smaller amount of heavy cream
2 Tbsp fenugreek leaves (also called kasoori methi)
1 lb paneer cheese, cut into cubes (large cubes make for a more dramatic presentation, though small cubes absorb more delicious sauce -- cut it as you prefer)
salt to taste
1/4 cup cashews, whole or pieces
In a food processor, puree the onions, garlic and ginger into a smooth paste. Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil over a medium heat, and saute the wet paste until it dries out a bit, and begins to turn a light golden color. Stir occasionally and keep the heat low to prevent it from forming a crust -- you want it to cook evenly. Add more oil if needed to keep it from sticking.
While the onion-garlic-ginger mixture is cooking, measure out all the dry spices except the fenugreek leaves (cardamom, turmeric, cumin, garam masala, and chili powder or paprika) into a small dish and set aside. Dump your tomatoes into the food processor, grind into a puree, and set aside.
When the onion-garlic-ginger mixture is golden brown, add your pre-measured spices. Stir to combine and saute for a minute, to toast the spices without burning them. Add the tomato puree, stir, and simmer over a medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, to reduce slightly and develop the flavors. Stir occasionally.
After 20 minutes, add the honey and half-and-half, and simmer gently for another 10 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed. Add the fenugreek leaves and paneer, and simmer for another 10-15 minutes to meld the flavors.
While the dish is finishing its final simmer, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over a medium-high heat. Add the cashews, and cook until lightly browned. Scatter the toasted cashews over the shahi paneer, and serve.