Paneer pulao is the dish which is usually eaten in North Indian Punjabi marriages, Its fragrance in the banquet hall or in that area pulls person like a magnet to eat it. Though this dish is very simple and easy to make, provided one knows to the correct method to make it, else that fragrance will never come. Paneer Pulao (Cottage Cheese Rice) is made with marinated paneer and is cooked on low flame with Indian spices and cashews.
So let’s try out the Paneer Pulao/Cottage Cheese Rice Recipe
1 bay leaf
1 black cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch saffron
1 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp powdered turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup ghee
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
10 green cardamom
100 gm yogurt (curd)
150 gm medium size paneer cubes (Cottage Cheese cubes)
2 cup basmati rice
2 sprigs mint leaves
2 tsp ginger paste
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp cashews
3 tsp raisins
salt as required
Paneer pulao is very easy to make if one knows how to make it correctly. Take a clean bowl and add paneer cubes (The cubes should be medium size, not too small, else the cubes will crumble down)
In the bowl, of paneer add a pinch of salt, curd, a little turmeric powder, mustard oil, half tsp each of ginger and garlic paste and keep aside. Refrigerate it for 3-4 hours so that the spices are infused in the paneer pieces.
Heat half of the ghee in a deep bottomed pan. The pan should have a lid that fits tightly to it. Now slice the onions into thin strips and deep fry them in the ghee till golden brown. You can also deep fried your dry fruit after this, cashews etc
Keep aside the fried onions and now add cinnamon, 3 cardamoms, black cardamom, black pepper, bay leaves. Allow them to splutter and sizzle. Once the fragrance starts coming from them, reduce the flame and add the ginger and garlic paste.
Saute on low flame till the raw smell of ginger-garlic paste goes away. Add rice, salt as per taste, turmeric powder (Haldi), a 1 tsp of sugar and cook on low flame.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining ghee in a shallow pan. Take out the marinated paneer cubes (Cottage cheese cubes) from the refrigerator and deep fry them. Keep the flame low and fry till the paneer is golden in color.
Now add this paneer cubes (Cottage cheese cubes) to the rice and mix well. Mix gently. Crush the remaining cardamoms to powder and add them to the rice. Add the garam masala and the red chili powder and mix gently. Add the fried cashews and raisins at this point. Dissolve some saffron strings in milk and add to the rice.
Add 4 cups of water to the rice, mix well and cover the lid.
Once it comes to boil, reduce the flame and cook covered till the entire water is absorbed.
After 15 minutes. Once the rice is done, remove from fire and serve with chopped mint leaves with some curry or raita.
Tip: Your Paneer pulao will never turn soggy if you remember the ratio of water and rice. Always, the water is double the quantity of rice.