Paneer butter masala

My grandson was recently introduced to paneer butter masala and this has since become his favourite dish. And so here is my take on this rich and decadent dish. I have tried to tone down the richness of the gravy but there is only so much you can and should do. Definitely not a dish for calorie counters, nevertheless, it is still a hot favourite of many. I make my paneer at home as I am quite wary of store-bought prepared foods and avoid them to the extent possible. Preparation time for this dish is about 30 mins and cooking time only about 10 mins. You will need an hour for the paneer to set before cooking.
To make the paneer
Milk – 2 litres
Turmeric powder -1 tsp (optional)
Juice of one lemon
Cooking vinegar – 2 tbsp (if required)

To make the gravy
Onion (medium) – 1 diced
Garlic cloves – 2
Tomatoes – 3 diced
Cashews – 10
Green coriander – small bunch
Green chillies – 2
Ginger – 1 tsp
Jeera – 1 tsp
Khus khus seeds – 1 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Kasuri methi – 1 tbsp (crushed)
Butter or ghee – 2 tbsp
Milk – 1 – 1 ½ cups

To make the paneer add turmeric powder to the milk and bring to a boil in a large pot. Turn off heat and add the juice of one lemon to the milk and continue stirring. You will see the milk curdle and form chunks of paneer. If not add the vinegar also. Continue stirring till the whey separates fully and becomes translucent. Transfer the paneer to a muslin lined paneer press (available online) and set a weight on it so that the paneer sets into a solid form. The whey is highly nutritious and can be used instead of water to make chapati dough, dals, smoothies etc. After the paneer has set (usually an hour) take it out and cut into small cubes. The paneer will be a lovely yellow colour because of the turmeric. 
Turmeric is my favourite spice (no surprise there!) and I use it generously in my cooking. The health benefits of turmeric are far too many to enumerate here and I will post separately about this. Suffice to say we should use it where ever possible.

Ingredients for gravy
Paneer, ghee and milk

In a blender grind all the ingredients (except butter/ghee, milk, salt, chili powder and kasuri methi) with some water to make a smooth paste. In a large kadai add the butter/ghee and the freshly ground spice paste. Continue stirring till spices are well cooked, add the milk, salt, chilli powder and garam masala. Mix well and add the paneer cubes. Stir till all the paneer is well coated with the gravy. Add the crushed kasuri methi just before you take it off the stove. Serve with hot chapatis and a fresh salad. Serves 4.

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