A Spicy Paneer Ghee Roast Recipe to Help Heat Up These Long Cold Nights
With winter well underway here in the Northeast, we’ve been having quite a bit of fun in the Full Moon Ghee kitchen, finding ways to warm ourselves from the inside out. One of our very favorite recipes to make is a Mangalorean Chicken Ghee Roast, and while this is always delicious and satisfying, we’ve decided to try out the recipe’s vegetarian cousin and cook up a Paneer Ghee Roast for a change.
The Recipe: Paneer Ghee Roast
Ghee roast chicken originates from Mangalore in the Indian coastal state, Karnataka, a region well known for its flavorful cuisine. Vegetarians have adapted the recipe to be made with paneer instead of chicken and call it Paneer Ghee Roast. The recipe is usually eaten as an appetizer or snack, but we’ve made the gravy a bit creamier so that it can be eaten as an entree with rice or chapati.
For the Masala
|1 Tablespoon ghee||4 kashmiri red chilies or byadagi red chilies|
|2 teaspoons coriander seeds||2 guntur red chilies or hot red chilies|
|1 teaspoon cumin seeds||3 garlic cloves|
|¼ teaspoon fennel seeds||1 teaspoon tamarind, packed tightly, seeds removed|
|¼ teaspoon whole black pepper||6 Tablespoons water for grinding|
|20 fenugreek seeds|
Other Ingredients For the Marinade
|1 teaspoon lemon juice||200 grams (about 7 ounces) paneer, cut into cubes|
|2 Tablespoons curd (plain yogurt)||Salt to taste|
|2 Tablespoons ghee||¼ cup water|
|⅓ cup chopped onion||½ teaspoon jaggery powder, or as needed|
|10-12 curry leaves, kept whole or roughly chopped||Salt to taste|
|¼ teaspoon turmeric powder|
Preparing Masala Paste
- Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan (cast iron skillet or kadai). Use a well-seasoned pan.
- Once the ghee melts, add all the spices – coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, whole black pepper, fenugreek seeds, kashmiri red chilies (or byadagi red chilies), and guntur red chilies (or hot red chilies).
- On a low flame stirring often, roast the whole spices till they become aromatic.
- Once the spices are roasted well and are aromatic, add garlic cloves and tightly packed tamarind. Mix well and switch off the flame. Let this spice mixture cool.
- Place the roasted spice mixture in a small grinder jar, food processor or blender.
- Add water a tablespoon at a time and grind to a smooth paste, being careful not to make the ground paste too thin. (If the paste does come out too thin, then skip adding water when marinating the paneer.)
Marinating the Paneer
- Take all of the masala paste in a mixing bowl.
- Add 2 tablespoon fresh curd (dahi or yogurt), 1 teaspoon lemon juice and salt as per taste.
- Add 200 grams paneer cubes. Mix very well.
- Gently mix the paneer cubes with the masala so that the paneer cubes are well coated with the masala.
- Marinate paneer for 30 to 45 minutes. If keeping for a longer time, then refrigerate.
- In the grinder jar, add ¼ cup water and just swirl the jar, so that the masala paste which is stuck to the sides and bottom of the jar gets mixed with the water. You can also use a spatula or steel spoon to mix. Keep aside.
Making the Paneer Ghee Roast
- In the same pan, heat ghee until melted.
- Add chopped onions, curry leaves, and turmeric powder. Mix very well and sauté on a low to medium-low flame for 3 to 4 minutes or till the onions turn translucent.
- Add all of the marinated paneer mixture and masala to the pan and mix well.
- Add jaggery powder and water and stir all ingredients together.
- Simmer the gravy for about 2 minutes on a low to medium-low flame. Be careful not to overcook the paneer as the cubes will become dense and hard.
- As the gravy thickens, you will see specks of ghee on top. Turn off heat.
- Serve Paneer Ghee Roast hot and garnish with some fried curry leaves or coriander leaves if you like. Accompany with onion slices and lemon wedges.