This dish is special to me since it was one of those first few recipes I successfully managed to make during my just-married-and-don’t-know-how-to-make-a-thing days. I remember I used to go through these two big, thick Indian cookbooks that my husband had bought for himself during his bachelor days, frantically trying to find some easy dish to make each day. Save for some kabab recipes, those books did not have anything that interested me. I would finally end up in front of the laptop or my little book full of recipes (that I had copied from my mom’s trusted old recipe book), and make something from one of those. Interestingly, I found this paneer – shrimp recipe in a Chinese cookbook, a little odd, considering that almost all the ingredients are very Indian.
Now, I love paneer, I can eat anything made with it. I also like shrimp, but paneer and shrimp together?…I had my doubts, but went ahead with it since I had everything on hand. And I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the soft paneer and the succulent shrimp combo works. It is mildly spiced, and although similar to butter chicken/ paneer butter masala, it uses yogurt in the sauce making it a tad bit tangy. The original recipe also calls for the addition of dry mango powder which I have never used, and a whole stick (???) of butter. I use only about 3 tbsp. here, but you can just substitute it with oil. I also add more garlic and chili powder because we like it spicy.
We used to make it quite often but along the years I kind of forgot about this dish until my husband last week, out of the blue, asked me if I could make this. And of course, being the good wife that I am (ahem!), I made it for him the next day….:-)
Paneer with Shrimp in a Rich Tomato Sauce
Recipe adapted from Wok & Stir Fry, by Linda Doeser, slightly altered
12 jumbo shrimp
6 ounces paneer (Indian cheese)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup plain yogurt
11/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
3 -4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp corn oil
3 fresh green chilies, chopped
1/2 tsp kasuri methi
2/3 cup light cream or half and half
Cilantro for garnish
Shell the shrimp and cube the paneer.
Combine the tomato paste, yogurt, garam masala, chili powder, garlic, salt and coriander in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Melt the butter with the oil in a wok. Lower the heat slightly and stir fry the paneer and shrimp for about 2 mins. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Pour the spice mixture into the butter and oil left in the pan and stir fry for about 1 min.
Add the paneer, shrimp and kasuri methi, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through.
Add the fresh chilies and pour in the cream. Heat for about 2 mins. Garnish with cilantro and serve..