It has been a little more than 6 years since I got married; and like it happens with everyone, this life event not only brought my husband into my life but his friends and their college stories 😉 One such perennial mention was of a Paneer Lababdaar that they used to enjoy in their college canteen. In my hubby’s own words, he had never tasted any other Paneer Lababdaar which exceeded his college experience. To be honest, I had never actually thought of taking this as a challenge and prepare Paneer Lababdaar in our home. However I just thought of preparing this royal/rich dish last night. It did turn out really good. Whether it managed ti surpass my husband’s previous expectations, I will disclose that at the end of this post 🙂
For the benefit of everyone, Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) Lababdar is a very known/famous curry from the North Indian state of Punjab. This involves Paneer to be cooked in a rich and creamy gravy of onion, tomatoes, milk, cream and spices. The word Lababdar in Hindi means “extremely delicious” – and this curry truly epitomises it.
Paneer is a great source of Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B; it is also rich in Proteins and fat. For this recipe, I have replaced cream with a milk-yogurt mixture to make it slightly more healthy. So, let’s get going with our recipe.
The ingredients for making Paneer Lababdaar are :
1. Cottage Cheese (Paneer) : 250 gm
2. Onion : 1 big (chopped)
3. Tomato : 2 (chopped)
4. Garlic : 5 cloves (chopped)
5. Ginger : 1/4 tsp (chopped)
6. Bayleaf : 1
7. Cinnamon Powder (Dalchini): 1/8 tsp
8. Cardamom (Elaichi) : 1
9. Green Chilli : 3 (chopped)
10. Cashew nuts : 10
11. Sugar : 1 tsp
12. Salt : to taste
13. Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp
14. Dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi) : 1/2 tsp
15. Red Chilli Powder : 1/2 tsp
16. Turmeric Powder : 1/4 tsp
17. Yogurt : 3 Tbsp
18. Milk : 6 Tbsp
19. Oil : 2 Tbsp
Take a bowl and soak the cashew nuts in water for 15 minutes.
Heat oil in a pan. Temper with bayleaf, cumin seeds, cinnamon powder and cardamom. Add the chopped onion and sauté till it becomes translucent. Then add ginger, garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
Now add green chilli, and again sauté for a minute. Then add tomatoes, sauté it again and cook till the tomatoes become soft.
Switch off the flame; remove the pan from the gas and allow the mixture to cool down. Remove the bayleaf and put this onion-tomato mix in the mixer jar and grind it to a paste.
Transfer this paste again in pan and switch on the gas.
Grind the soaked cashew nuts into a paste. Now add this cashew nut paste into the pan; mix well and cook for 2 minutes.
Now add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt, and sugar. Mix it well and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add 3/4 cup of water, stir and let it boil. Then reduce the gas flame to low and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add paneer cubes, dried fenugreek leaves and mix well. Cook the curry for another 2-3 minutes.
Take a bowl. Add yogurt and milk in it, and beat it well. It works as cream. Now add this yogurt-milk mixture to the above prepared gravy and mix it well. Cook for a minute, cover it and switch off the flame.
Your creamy, rich and perfectly spicy Paneer Lababdaar is ready to be served ! Serve it with chapati, naan, parantha or rice and enjoy the royalness !
And as promised, I have to give you guys the verdict as given by my darling hubby – he accepted it was awesome and as good as his college canteen but did not have the same red colour! I would like to point out that my husband is my real critic in spite of enjoying all my prepared dishes – he is just stingy on good words 🙂
Insider Tips / Finer Points :
- Feel free to add cream instead of yogurt-milk mixture.
- You may adjust the spices according to your taste buds.
- You may also add garam masala to this recipe to make it more spicy.
- You can also garnish it with coriander leaves.
- Use Kashmiri red chilli, or use less green chilli if you want a more red colour gravy.