Shahi paneer is a rich dish made from decadent ingredients including cashews, heavy cream, and of course Indian cheese AKA paneer. It’s the dish I most look forward to at Indian weddings (yes, even more than butter chicken!) and one I love making at home with buttery garlicky naan. The dish originated in India during Mughal rule, when rich dishes made using nuts and cheeses were prepared for the kings of the time. Legend has it that the dish was made on error by a royal chef, who accidentally added paneer cubes to the base for another dish called malai kofta. Today, shahi paneer has become a staple at Indian restaurants, weddings and special events, and soon on your dinner table!
In a deep skillet, add 2 tablespoons oil, onions, green chilis, cashews, ginger and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add in the tomatoes, stir. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender.
Remove the tomato and onion mixture from the heat, set aside until cool. Once cooled, blend until smooth.
In the same skillet, add in the butter, 1 tablespoon oil, green cardamom, turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander and cayenne pepper. Sauté on medium low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Pour in the strained tomatoes and salt. Stir to combine, simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Add in the onion and tomato masala (optional: this can be strained for a smoother masala). Bring to a simmer on medium heat, stirring to combine well.
Once the fat begins to separate from the masala, add in the paneer. Crush the dried fenugreek in between your fingers, add along with the garam masala, sugar and cream. Add in ⅓ cup of water, cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
Plate and garnish with cilantro before serving with buttery garlic naan.