Chettinad Paneer Curry
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 35 mins | Total Time: 50 mins | Serves: 4 – 6 | Author: Rohini Ramanathan
Chettinad Cuisine is widely known for its unique flavor and spiciness. This spicy flavor will tickle your taste and make you want to eat more! And, if you are bored of the usual sweetish paneer-based gravy, this recipe is for exploring the flavors of South Indian Cuisine. Chettinad Paneer Curry has a hint of fresh cilantro and curry leaves, along with all other spices like cumin, coriander, pepper, and other whole spices.
Paneer is the most common choice of preference among most people; hence this dish will be a big hit among your family and a party pleaser.
I have tasted this recipe only once in one of the local Indian restaurants where I live a few years back. The taste was so unique and very flavorful. I could still feel the taste!! I hope you will try this recipe and do let me know in the comment section below.
For Spice Paste
Oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin – 1 tsp
Cloves – 2 or 3
Cinnamon – 1 stick
Cardamom – 2 pods
Black Stone Flower – 1 small piece (optional)
Fennel – 2 tsp
Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp
Channa Dal – 1 tbsp
Red Chillis – 2
Peppercorns – 1/2 tsp
Nutmeg powder – a pinch
Ginger – 1/2 inch
Garlic – 6 cloves
Cashewnuts – 10
Desiccated Coconut – 4 tbsp
Cilantro – 1 handful
Curry Leaves – 2 or 3 sprigs
Water – as needed (for grinding)
Paneer – 200 gms (cut into cubes)
Onion – 1 medium-size (finely chopped)
Roma Tomato – 2 (finely chopped)
Ground Spice Paste – about 1 cup
Water – 2 cups
Salt – as needed
Oil – 3 tbsp
Bay leaf – 1
Cloves – 2
Cardamom – 2
Curry Leaves- 1 sprig
Slit Green Chilli – 1 (optional)
Red Chilli – 1 (broken into half)
To Prepare Spice Paste
- Heat oil in a pan. Once it’s hot add all the whole spices (except nutmeg, ginger, garlic, cashew, coconut, cilantro, curry leaves, and water). Let it roast well and turn golden.
- Now, add cashew, ginger, and garlic and fry well.
- Add the desiccated coconut and mix it well. Be careful not to brown the coconuts.
- Turn off the heat and add cilantro and curry leaves. Mix everything well and let it cook for a few minutes in the remaining heat.
- Allow it to cool off completely. Then, add a pinch of nutmeg powder and blend it with water to make a smooth paste. Keep this paste aside.
To Prepare Gravy
- Heat oil in a saucepan, once hot add the ingredients listed under “To Temper”. Let it roast for 1 minute.
- Add the chopped onions and saute well until golden brown.
- Now, add Roma tomatoes and saute well until tomatoes turn mushy.
- Now, add the spice paste and salt as per your taste. Give everything a quick mix and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add water to thin down the gravy, add paneer cubes and let it boil for 10 minutes. The gravy should be semi-thick (neither dry nor runny). Turn off the stove once you have reached this consistency.
- Serve it hot or warm with Butter Naan or Rice. Makes a great side dish for Roti or Dosa too.
- You can completely omit the green chilli in this recipe.
- I have kept this recipe very mild as we share the same with kids as well. You can increase the heat of this recipe by increasing the chillis (red or green of your choice).
- Do not skip any ingredients listed above.
- I have used peanut oil, but you can also use sesame oil. This might bring out the authentic taste.