Butter-Roasted Paneer With Tomato Curry
Roasting mild paneer with yogurt and ghee (or butter) gives it a complex, toasty flavor that’s balanced by the spices and gentle acidity of a quickly made tomato curry. This recipe is adapted from Anita Jaisinghani of Pondicheri in Houston. She prepares her own paneer several times a week to use in curries, salads and crumbled over roasted vegetables. But store-bought paneer will work well here and makes this satisfying dish supremely weeknight friendly. Serve it with rice or flatbread on the side, if you like, to catch the heady sauce. If you have dried fenugreek leaves, you can crumble a tablespoon or so into the curry right at the end.
- Serves: 3 persons
- 1to 1 1/4 pounds paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes (2 to 3 packages, depending on size)
- 5to 6 tablespoons plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 3tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter, melted
- Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and freshly ground black pepper
- 2tablespoons neutral oil, such as vegetable, safflower or grapeseed oil
- 1teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
- 2cardamom pods, cracked
- 1cinnamon stick
- 1medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3garlic cloves, minced or finely grated
- 2teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger (from about 3/4-inch piece)
- 2teaspoons garam masala
- ¼teaspoon ground turmeric
- Pinch of ground cayenne or red-pepper flakes
- 1(15-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
- ½cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish
Step 1Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 2In a mixing bowl, combine paneer, 3 tablespoons yogurt and ghee. Toss until paneer is well coated, then spread it in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Roast until the edges are golden, about 13 to 18 minutes.
Step 3While the paneer is in the oven, make the tomato curry: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add cumin, fenugreek (if using), cardamom and cinnamon, and let cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add onions and sauté until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger, 1 teaspoon garam masala, turmeric, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 4Using the back of a wooden spoon or your hands, break up tomatoes into pieces and add them, along with their liquid, to the skillet. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir to combine, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the mixture has thickened slightly, 6 to 8 minutes.
Step 5Remove the pan from the heat and stir in cilantro, remaining 1 teaspoon garam masala, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of yogurt, depending on how creamy you want your sauce. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
Step 6Add paneer to pan and gently toss until well coated. Let paneer sit in the sauce for at least 10 minutes to absorb its flavors. Reheat gently over low heat, if needed. Garnish with more cilantro and serve.