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My not so Makhani Gravy - Paneer with tomato and yoghurt

Updated: Jun 16

We all know that the famed Indian “Makhani (butter) Gravy” has been done to death. Every restaurant worth its salt has it on its menu and ofcourse every restaurant claims to make the best Makhani gravy in town.

A few weeks ago a member of a popular food forum that I am a part of described a authentic gravy from an old Indian cookbook by ‘Jiggs Kalra’ called “Prashad”. Then a few other members followed suit and made the Gravy and sang praises about it. Now I was intrigued and I wanted to try the recipe myself. So I brought the book and checked the recipe out.

The recipe looked good but I was shocked at the amount of Butter and Cream used in the recipe which would give it that Buttery texture it called for. Now mind you I am a true Blue Punjabi and Butter doesn’t scare me, infact the more the better. However I had Australian friends coming for Dinner and I was not sure if they would appreciate the crazy amount of Butter and Cream in this gravy. I wanted to make a healthy dish but get almost the same results.

So I racked my brain and decided to substitute the Cream with Yoghurt and just add a small amount of Butter. I was pleasantly surprised at the final dish. Now if you are a Makhani Gravy purist please don’t read ahead because let’s face it Yoghurt cannot give the same flavour and silky texture that Butter can give. What I have made is not really Makhani gravy but it is a look alike which doesn’t make you fat or give you a heart attack. And unlike the real McCoy this dish took only 30 minutes to make.

I would request you to try this dish before writing off because trust me I had people licking their fingers and asking for second helpings.

Here is the recipe (Cooking time 30 minutes, serves 4)

Recipe inspiration "Jiggs Kalra”

500 gms fresh Paneer (Cottage Cheese) or Ricotta Cheese cut into cubes. If you are using Ricotta Cheese buy it from a supermarket Deli and not off the shelf.

3 medium sized Tomatoes

1 small Onion

3 Green chillies (I used 5 because we love it hot)

3 Cardamoms

3 Cloves

2 Bay Leaves

2 Tbsp Yoghurt (at room temperature)

1 Tbsp Butter

1 tsp Red Chilli Powder

½ tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Cumin powder

1 tsp Cumin

2 tsp Kasuri Methi (dried Fenugreek leaves )

1 tsp Ginger paste or fresh Ginger

Salt to taste

For the Gravy:

Blanch the Tomatoes in hot water till the skin tears. Keep them in cold water for a few minutes and then put the Tomatoes, Ginger paste and Yoghurt together and grind them to a smooth paste.

Heat Butter in a pan and add the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Bay leaves & Cloves. Once the start to splutter add the finely chopped Onions and Green Chillies and sauté till the Onions are almost Golden brown. Add the Turmeric, red Chilli powder, Salt and Cumin powder and sauté for 2 minutes on a low flame ensuring that the masalas don’t burn.

Add the Tomato and Yoghurt paste to this mixture and let it cook on a low flame till the Butter start to separate and the gravy becomes thick in texture. Sprinkle the Kasuri Methi at this stage and mix well.

Add the cubes Paneer and mix well coating the gravy evenly. Let it cook for 5 – 7 minutes before taking it off the heat.

Serve hot with some Rotis or Naans.

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