Paneer and peas in makhani gravy

A gravy that comes together quite quickly and tastes as beautiful as the one ordered from a restaurant minus the cream and oil.

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Paneer or cottage cheese is such a versatile ingredient. Plain with chaat masala or stuffed with dry fruits, it’s always a hit either for a simple dinner at home and when serving to guests.

In this recipe, I am doing a classic combination of cottage cheese and peas which can be enjoyed with any form of Indian bread or even a simple, plain rice. But feel free to use any vegetables of your choice. Here are some substitutions you can do to get the best out of this gravy:

  1. Pair it with any kofta or
  2. Boiled and sautéed potato with some little sprinkling of garam masala
  3. Par boiled cauliflower and peas
  4. Cottage cheese and capsicum
  5. Potato and capsicum
  6. Mix vegetable like peas, corn, beans, carrot

The makhni gravy which is the base of this recipe is called makhni for a reason. Makhni means buttery and therefore a generous amount of oil is used for sautéing the paste and then the cream is added to finish off the dish. No doubt, it tastes delicious but then when making at home for a simple family dinner, my heart just doesn’t allow for such a heavy hand at both oil or cream.

I have also seen many recipes that suggest use of cashews to bring a creaminess to the dish which makes the gravy creamy as well as a healthier option compared to the cream. So here is where my own two bits come with this gravy. I have been part of those days when eating nuts was a treat. Diwali would mean boxful of nuts to be savored and stored for the days to come. My mother would methodically store the nuts in the freezer so the oil from the nuts wouldn’t spoil them making them taste bitter. The nuts were then used over a period of time as a treat or on a special occasion.

In this recipe, therefore aiming to make the gravy both healthy and creamy, I have used a combination of nuts and seeds which not only makes it healthier but also an economical viable option. Melon seeds combined with cashews in equal proportion gives this makhni gravy a smooth, creamy finish making it a simple, everyday dish. I also used this gravy in paneer and black chickpea (kala chana) biryani pie, the recipe of which you can see here.

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Let me know how this recipe turned out for you by writing to me in the comments below. And if you take a picture, please tag me on my instagram handle @acookwithin to share your creation😊 It would make my day!

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