Learn how to make Nawabi Paneer Curry ~ Shallow fried Indian cottage cheese and green peas cooked in rich, creamy coconut and cashew nut gravy
So it’s just couple of days before I hang my office wear and see myself sporting jeans and comfy t-shirts.
It’s just couple of days before my stilettos are replaced with bare feet/trainers/sneakers.
It’s just couple of days before my office files are replaced with story books.
It’s just couple of days before my MS office calendar is wiped clean of meetings, seminars, trainings, project deadlines to colouring, learing, visits to the park, play groups, and other kid related activities.
It’s just couple of days before my jovial, friendly, caring and loving boss (ahem, my hubby is my boss at office) is replaced by the most demanding, clingy, attention seeking, bossy and loving boss who will make me work 24X7 without pay, holidays and other perks!
Creamy and dreamy Nawabi Paneer Curry
Yes, I am taking a year long unpaid sabbatical from work and will take a role of stay at home mom! Hubby even has drawn a contract letter and wants me to sign the dotted line saying I will not whine and complain as soon as he steps in and also I will not order him to come home early leaving behind all his works before 5 pm! I may be mad but not stupid! Just because I didn’t allow him to take sabbatical to be with Lil Dumpling doesn’t mean that he can come up with such silly ideas! :) Did I say that I have no plans of signing the contract or agreeing to whatever he says?! Psst… Let’s keep it between us, shall we?
Rich and creamy Nawabi Paneer Curry
Among all that excitement and happy thoughts about getting to spend all that time with Lil Dumpling lurks this nagging bit of nervousness and doubt like some most annoying, unwanted guests in our life! As much as I am bubbling up with excitement at the prospect of having the chance to relive my childhood through Lil Dumpling, I am getting little anxious about loosing my interest in my current job I like and the routine I have set for myself. I think I will miss getting up in the morning, dressing up to work, and spending time in adult company and not talking about potty training, day care woes and other such things.
Nawabi Paneer Curry ~ In sweet coconut and nutty cashew nut gravy
But when I thought about it more and deeply, I realised that my anxiety is actually born due to my fear of unable to keep Lil Dumpling entertained and busy throughout the day! Lil Dumpling is at a stage where his curiosity level is at the peak with him wanting to know every single thing that comes on his way and I am not sure if I have right answers to satiate his curiosity! With unpredictable weather, I find it difficult to take him out every day to get some fresh air in his lungs! Oh, there are many such things that make me sort of nervous and I fear that I may not be able to keep him as active as they do in his day care! I guess I have to take a deep breath and keep my spirits up and take everything in a stride! Only time will tell how I cope with this new role of stay at home for one super active, curious and lovable kid that I am blessed with! My only wish is I don’t end up regretting for the decision I am taking in a hope to make my little one a very happy kid!
Nawabi Paneer Curry ~ From Hyderabadi Nawab’s royal kitchen
With all this fear and anxiety popping their ugly head once in a while, we decided to celebrate Lil Dumpling’s 3rd birthday with few close friends. I took a mammoth task of cooking for 15 people which I have never done before! So understandably I was a walking and talking bundle of nerves for the week before the party. It took me a week long to decide on the full party menu and then a weekend to source all the ingredients needed for cooking. One thing I was sure to cook for my guest was a very rich Paneer dish which everyone likes. At first I thought of making either Kadai Paneer or Matar Paneer, but finally settled for cooking Nawabi Paneer Curry inspired by the recipe by Mallika Badrinath’s cookbook 100 Vegetarian Gravies. I made this Nawabi Paneer Curry with other 3 curries; Rhengan Reveya, Chole Masala, and Bombay Bataka/Potatoes and served them with Peas Pulao and Garlic Naan. For starters I decided to cook assorted vegetable pakodas (cauliflower and bell pepper fritters), Punjabi Samosa and Stuffed Bell Pepper/Capsicum Pakodas which I will be posting the recipe soon. Our friend Julie brought along delicious Vegetable Puffs to add to the list of starters. For desserts, I cooked a batch of delicious and melt in mouth Mango Panna Cotta (recipe will follow shortly) and thick and creamy Carrot Kheer/Payasam.
Nawabi Paneer Curry ~ Sinfully delicious!
Only problem I had with cooking for 15 people was I didn’t own many pots and pans large enough to cook for so many people in bulk! And with so much sautéing and frying that goes with Indian cuisine, I was worried that I may end up burning a dish or two while multi-tasking! But as if luck was on my side, I received an email from Remy from Swiss Diamond asking me if I am interested in testing their non-stick cookware of my choice and reviewing it?! After exchanging few emails to and fro, I finally decided to test their 36 inch non-stick wok with lid.
(Img source: Swiss Diamond)
The product was delivered to my office and it drew some attention from my colleagues who wanted to know what was in that HUGE box sitting on my desk when I came back after lunch break! Yes, the product was very well packed in a 2 and half feet square cardboard box with enough soft packaging to avoid any damage while shipping from their Luxemburg warehouse. I was impressed with the care they had taken with packaging, but they could have used little smaller cardboard box as half the box was empty when I opened it. It was difficult for me to carry it all the way to our car park which is some quarter mile from my office building!
Once home, I opened the package and found this beautifully crafted wok with a glass lid (with adjustable steam vent for advanced moisture control) and a tempura rack to drain oil from deep fried foods. It is 14 inch wide and both the wok and the glass lid are quite heavy. The wok is well crafted with heavy duty cast-aluminium body. It is not flimsy or thin like other non-stick woks I own, and also it doesn’t require any special oven ring as it has perfectly flat cast aluminium base with sloped sides and hence the heat is equally distributed and will never tip or spin.
Nawabi Paneer Curry ~ Fit for the royals
When it came to cooking, I found the product really excellent! Swiss Diamond product boasts patented non-stick coating, reinforced with real diamond particles which allow oil-free cooking. I just used a teaspoon of oil to test the product by making our most favourite dish Aloo-Gobi which requires stir frying the potatoes and cauliflowers at high flame with spices. I usually end up with some burnt pieces of vegetables sticking to the bottom of the pan, no matter how fast I keep stirring them. And there are times when the vegetables kind of get breaks and mashed up after stirring them continuously for so long. But this was not the case with Swiss Diamond wok. The vegetables were evenly cooked and the potatoes and cauliflower florets had nice, crispy bite to them with the spices evenly coated. And none, yes not even one, vegetable was stuck to the pan!!! After transferring the cooked food to the serving dish, I found the wok to be ridiculously clean as if it was washed already! The use and care is really simple! There was no soaking with warm soapy water required to loosen up the burnt food stuck to the pan nor was scrubbing necessary! I just let the wok to come to room temperature before gently cleaning it with just warm soapy water and sponge.
At almost £170, it is definitely one of the most expensive pieces of cookware I own, but I feel that it is worth every penny! It is well crafted, well designed, heavy-duty product with real diamond particles in non-stick coating. They sure look durable and are also oven safe up to a temperature of 260 deg C and are suitable for both gas and electric cook tops! Swiss Diamond also sells specially designed products for induction top cooking. You can read more about them and their products here.
(Img source: Swiss Diamond)
Now the exciting part is the nice people at Swiss Diamond have agreed to GIVEAWAY the same 36 inch non-stick wok with glass lid and tempura rack worth £169 I tested to one lucky reader of Monsoon Spice! Yes, one lucky reader can win this beautiful piece of craftsmanship and cook all your favourite food without worrying about the food sticking to the pan or worrying about cleaning the whole mess! This wonderful product giveaway is open to the UK readers or those who have valid UK shipping address. T
UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations, Vidya :) Please email me your UK shipping address at siakrishna(at)gmail(dot)com as soon as possible. Thank you all for participating in the giveaway.
Nawabi Paneer Curry ~ Thick, creamy and delicious coconut and cashew nut based curry
Coming back to the recipe of Nawabi Paneer Curry, the shallow fried soft paneer pieces with green peas cooked in a rich coconut and cashew nut based gravy from the Hyderabadi royal kitchens of the Nawabs seduced me enough to include it in our menu. I made few tweaks to the recipes by adding bell peppers and also grinding the green chillies and cashew nuts along with the coconut and whole spices. The final result was one rich, creamy, calorie laden, very high in fat but absolutely delicious Nawabi Paneer Curry that won many hearts at the birthday party. Lil Dumpling loved every spoonful of this Nawabi Paneer Curry with Peas Pulao. Overall, this Nawabi Paneer Curry is fit for royals, and as we Indians like to treat our guests like royals this is the perfect dish to serve at any party and impress the crowd!
Ingredients for Nawabi Paneer Curry
Shallow fried Paneer for Nawabi Paneer Curry
Spices used for Nawabi Paneer Curry
Coconut - cashew nut paste for Nawabi Paneer Curry
Nawabi Paneer Curry (Shallow fried Indian cottage cheese and green peas cooked in rich, creamy coconut and cashew nut gravy)
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Recipe Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Spice Level: Low to Medium
Serves: 6-8 people
Shelf Life: 3-4 days in refrigerator
Recipe Inspiration: 100 Vegetarian Gravy Recipes by Mallika Badrinath
Serving Suggestion: With any Indian flat breads (Whole Wheat Naan or Butter Naan or with any stuffed parathas) or plain/flavoured Basmati rice
2 cups (200 gms) Paneer/Indian Cottage Cheese, cut into I inch squares or triangles of 1 cm thickness
1 cup Green Peas, fresh or frozen
1 large Bell Pepper, cut into 1 inch squares or triangles (Optional)
1 large Onion, very finely chopped
½ bunch Coriander Leaves, finely chopped (Around ½ - ¾ cup)
1½ tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 Bay Leaf
½ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
2 cups Coconut Milk, canned or fresh
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp Oil or Ghee
Salt to taste
For Coconut and Cashew Paste:
½ cup grated Coconut, fresh or frozen
¼ cup Cashew Nuts, soaked in hot water for at least 15 mins
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
4 Green Cardamoms
1 heaped tsp Cumin Seeds
2-4 Green Chillies (Adjust as per taste)
Nawabi Paneer Curry
- Drain all the water from soaked cashew nuts and mix them with all other ingredients listed under coconut-cashew nut paste. Grind everything to smooth paste by adding very little water at time. Make sure that there are no lumps formed. Keep it aside until needed.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil or ghee in a pan and shallow fry paneer pieces till they turn golden brown on both sides. Keep the fried paneer pieces in a large bowl of hot water until needed. This helps in keeping the paneer pieces soft.
- In a same pan add a tbsp of oil or ghee and mix in very finely chopped onions. Fry them on a medium flame until they turn golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, on medium flame.
- Mix in ginger-garlic paste and bay leaf and fry them till the raw smell of ginger and garlic disappears and the onions are nicely caramelised, about 2 minutes.
- Next add the ground coconut-cashew nut paste and turmeric powder and fry it for 3-4 minutes on medium flame till the oil separates.
- Now add the coconut milk, finely chopped coriander leaves and salt to taste. Reduce the heat to simmer and let the gravy come to gentle boil, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add shallow fried paneer pieces, green peas and bell pepper and adjust the seasonings. Add about a cup or more of water to get desired consistency of the gravy. Let the curry simmer for about 10 minutes for all the flavours to blend well.
- Serve this absolutely delicious, creamy Nawabi Paneer Curry fit for the royals with any Indian flat breads (Whole Wheat Naan or Butter Naan or with any stuffed parathas) or plain/flavoured Basmati rice. It tastes even better on the next day.
Nawabi Paneer Curry ~ Shallow fried Indian cottage cheese and green peas cooked in rich, creamy coconut and cashew nut gravy
- Vegans can substitute Paneer with firm tofu for equally delicious treat. You can even skip shallow frying the tofu and can directly add it to the gravy as mentioned in the cooking instruction above.
- You can also add a tsp of Garam Masala or Kitchen King Masala just 5 minutes before you switch off the flame.
- Soaking cashews in hot water for couple of minutes helps in grinding them to smooth paste without forming any lumps.
- Addition of bell pepper is optional and it is not used in an original recipe. I like the little peppery, smoky flavour it adds to the gravy.
- This Nawabi Paneer Curry tastes even better on the next day. So make sure you cook enough to relish it for next few days! :)