Paneer pasanda is as exotic as pasanda kababs or sooley kababs for the vegetarians.......... pasanda is a dish where the meat or paneer is cut in big flat pieces , it is then grilled or shallow fried and then is served like a dry starter or dunked into a rich gravy......
I am not an expert of food nomenclature but i think any kind of paneer cubes cooked in a rich cashew nut gravy is not paneer pasanda ....thin slices of paneer sandwiching a rich stuffing in between is the essence of paneer pasanda.......and this posts intends to describe the assembling of the paneer pasanda , i have taken step by step pictures and the prepared pasanda can be frozen for future use or can be made with different types of gravies.
And as many of you might be aware of ........i am not a stickler of authenticity either......taste and convenience is a bigger priority for me............so while traditionally this pasanda is made with a white cashew gravy , i sometimes change the gravy .....so here it is in a tomato gravy and that too a rustic one.....no boiling-pureeing-straining of the gravy .......when i am cooking for just the two of us i don't have the heart to waste the precious fiber away and i like the texture of the gravy with bits of tomato n onions .......you can always go ahead and strain the gravy after finishing it and then simmer the prepared pasanda in it......
Ingredients for the pasanda......
paneer 200 gm ( a cuboid block of paneer is needed to make slices )
cashew nuts chopped finely 50 gm
mint leaves 1 cup loosely packed
green chillies 3-4 nos.
ginger grated 2 tsp
black peppercorns 2 tsp
salt to taste
cornflour 1 tbsp dissolved in 1 tbsp of water
procedure for assembling the pasanda....
Firstly prepare the stuffing of the pasanda...chop the mint leaves and green chilies very finely and crush the peppercorns , mix together everything ( except cornflour solution as it will be used to seal the sandwiches) ....i add about a tbsp of crumbled paneer to the stuffing to make it easier to stuff and to prevent the paneer pasanda from opening up while frying .....you get a few bits of scrapings of paneer when you cut it into neat slices as it is done here , so it's like using the scrapings too......it should be a loosely binding mixture...
Dip the pasanda in diluted cornflour solution quickly and shallow fry till lightly browned on both sides , it will be easier to do it in batches ........ drain on kitchen tissue.......
It can be fried like an open sandwich too as i have done here with one of them , whatever way you like it n whatever way it is easier to handle for you........
Keep aside and proceed for the gravy......
ingredients for the gravy..
tomatoes 250 gm
onions 150 gm or 2 large onions
2 fat cloves of garlic
4 cinnamon sticks about an inch long
whole coriander seeds 2 tsp
whole black peppercorns 1 tsp
red chilly powder 2 tsp or as hot you want
salt to taste
tomato ketchup 1 tbsp
butter 1 tbsp
fresh cream 1 tbsp
procedure for the gravy
Make a coarse paste of tomatoes and keep aside ... i used my chopper for this.
Make a coarse paste of onion and garlic separately and keep aside.
Heat the butter in a pan and add the coriander seeds, peppercorns and cinnamon stick and wait till they pop.
Add the onion and garlic paste at once with salt , stir to cook till the paste becomes translucent and shiny.
Add the red chilly powder and tomato paste and cook on medium heat till it becomes a thick sauce....stirring occasionally.
Add the tomato ketchup and the fresh cream to finish , bring to a bubbling boil , add some water if the sauce has thickened to your taste or requirement.
Add the prepared paneer triangles and cover for just a minute .
Serve immediately ...........if you need to serve the dish after a while it will be convenient to dunk the paneer pasanda triangles in the sauce just before serving ....after bringing the sauce to a quick boil .....
The paneer pieces may separate to expose the filling if the sauce is boiled too hard after adding them , so it is advisable to prepare the sauce and the pasanda triangles ahead of time and keep them separately until it is time to serve.
Taste wise , you get a strong whiff of mint while taking the first bite into the pasanda , more so if it is made in white gravy...so if you wish to have a mint cashew predominance stick to the white gravy ......this gravy has a cinnamon sweetness combined with sourish hot tomato slush and i like it .........the pasanda tringles are a different burst of flavors with mint-cashew as first notes and ginger and pepper hitting the tongue after a while.....leaving a tingling sensation n i love it....
The gravy is hot with peppers and red chilly so it is essentially a hot dish for me , many people like it blander ...that is cashew and mint being the core players and keeping everything else subtle........it can always be adjusted to your taste and preference .........i would suggest the white gravy paneer pasanda if you like it blander with cashew as a main flavor and especially if it is being served for a party ........it is essentially a party dish unless you feel like having a feast just for yourself n don't mind spending some extra time on the kitchen platform.........i make an easier version of paneer with essentially the same ingredients n flavors but that doesn't qualify to be called a pasanda ......will post that recipe soon..
Enjoy this pasanda till then......