1green chiliroughly chopped, add more if you want more spice
3-3.5cupswater24-28 oz, divided
1/8teaspoonred chili powderor adjust to taste
1/8teaspoonblack pepper powder
1/2-3/4teaspoonsaltor to taste
1/4cupplain whole yogurt
225gramspaneercut into triangles
To a pan add the diced onion, roughly chopped garlic, ginger, green cardamoms, green chilies, cashews, almonds. Add around 2 (16 oz) to 2.5 (20 oz) cups water. Let it boil on medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes.Let it cool down slightly. I remove the skin from the almonds at this point (optional).
Once it has cooled down a little, transfer the ingredients to a blender. Blend to a smooth paste. Set aside.
Meanwhile cut your paneer. I cut the paneer into triangles for this recipe. Cut into cubes and then cut each cube into triangle.If using store bought paneer, remember to soak it in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes and then cut it. The resulting paneer will be much softer.
Now, heat a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the oil and ghee and then add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf and cloves. Saute the spices for few seconds until fragrant.
Stir in the prepared onion-nuts paste into the pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stir often.
Add in the coriander powder, red chili powder, garam masala, sugar, salt, cardamom powder and black pepper powder. Stir the spices and cook for 1 minute.
Remove pan from heat and add the yogurt, little at a time and whisking continuously. This is important so that the yogurt doesn't split. Cook for 1 minute.Also make sure your yogurt is at room temperature before you add it to the pan.
Add remaining 1/2 to 1 cup water to the pan and stir. Also, add the saffron strands, if using (crush them before adding) and stir.
Let the curry simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. It will thicken as it cooks. Add in the cream and mix.
Add the paneer and simmer for 3 more minutes.
Sprinkle some cardamom powder on top. Serve Shahi Paneer with naan or jeera rice!
If you are looking for a creamy tomato based gravy for Shahi Paneer, try this Paneer Butter Masala recipe.
I haven't tried it myself but if you want to make this vegan: replace plain whole milk yogurt with plain almond milk yogurt, cream with coconut milk and paneer with tofu. If you do try to make this vegan, let me know. I would love to know how it turned out.