I do not do paneer sabji often these days as as we are almost vegan ourselves to give company to our strictly vegan toddler. I have to admit I haven’t missed dairy a lot except for the times when I eat dal rice/kichdi as it has to have some ghee in it for that taste. It is not dal rice without some ghee if you ask me 🙂 I also prefer to have some curd now and then. I am trying to do without it, but I am hoping the little one will outgrow her dairy allergies soon and that she would be able to enjoy eating yogurt as much as I do. But other than that we are totally vegan because we feel bad to be eating dairy in front of the little one who wants to eat everything we eat and cooking 2 separate menu is such a pain. I don’t remember the last time I bought cheese or used milk/cream in my gravies. But I had a packet of paneer sitting in the fridge which I got some days back to cook for some guests and I wanted to finish it off.
I am going to give options if you want to make this vegan. I have tried it this way too and it is equally good.
- 2 medium sized onions finely chopped
- 1 onion or half big onion diced and separated
- 1/2 capsicum cut in big chunks
- 1 packet paneer cubed or around 20 paneer cubes (use tofu if vegan)
- 3 big tomatoes finely chopped / pureed
- 11/2 tsp ginger- garlic paste / finely minced ginger-garlic
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder
- 1 to 2 green onions slit
- 11/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 cup yogurt (omit if vegan)
- 11/2 tbsp besan / gram flour
- 1 tsp crushed kasuri methi/ dry fenugreek leaves
- 2 pieces cardamom
- 2 cloves
- 1 bayleaf
- 1 inch piece cinammon
- 1 badi elaichi / big cardamom
- 1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
In your instant pot, switch on the saute mode and add the cubed capsicum / cubed onion slices and saute for 2 minutes in high heat with little salt so that they are cooked but still crunchy. Set it aside. (Non IP users can do it a normal kadai as well and follow the same steps)
Now add the oil + butter (omit butter if vegan). When it becomes hot, add the whole spices (cinammon, cardamom, bayleaf, badi elaichi, and cumin seeds) and slit green chillies. Let the spices roast and becomes fragrant.
Now add the finely chopped onions and saute until nice and brown in normal heat. ( I do not use high heat because they burn quickly) Make sure you saute the onions patiently because that gives you the sweet caramelized flavor.
Now add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute.
Add the yogurt, spice powders ( coriander, turmeric, cumin, chilly powder) and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure it does not burn. (Beat the yogurt to a smooth consistency before you add it to the pot)
You will see the yogurt has thickened up. Now add the tomato puree and saute for 3 to 4 minutes in high heat. When you see the oil coming from the sides of the pan, add the besan, garam masala, salt and mix well. Saute for a couple of minutes, making sure the besan has not formed into lumps.
Now add water (or milk/ cream) to thin the gravy, the paneer/ tofu cubes and sauteed onions and capsicum. Give everything a mix and let it simmer in low heat for couple of minutes.
Lastly add some crushed kasuri methi and serve hot with rotis/ parathas.
Use tofu instead of paneer and substitute butter with more oil.
Follow the same instructions, but skip the yogurt part. Instead make a puree of almonds/cashew along with tomato and saute it after you brown the onions and saute the ginger-garlic. ( I use about 15 to 20 almonds soaked in hot water for sometime)
The onion-tomato-almond mixture should cook well and release oil from the sides of the pan. Also add 1/4 tsp amchur powder when you add the spice powders like coriander, cumin powder.
Use almond milk to thin the consistency of the gravy.