Malai Baingan Paneer Masala

Paneer is an absolute favorite at our house. Initially, I was sort of skeptical of using paneer, considering it is high in fat and all..but being a vegetarian, it also becomes a good source of protein. I love its taste, so the above statement is in a way convincing myself that its good for me. 🙂 Being bored on combining paneer with the usual veggies, I tried it with eggplant one day and loved it. The key here is to use the large American eggplant and peel the skin off, so that the eggplant becomes soft and silky in the sauce.

1 large eggplant
1 cup cubed paneer
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup canned tomato puree
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp oil
1/4 cup milk/fat free half and half
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and cube the eggplant, the same size as the paneer. In a bowl combine the turmeric powder, garam masala, 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste and salt along with 1 tbsp oil. Toss this with the eggplant and the paneer cubes. Let sit and marinate until the oven is preheated. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the eggplant and paneer pieces on a single layer. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened.

While this bakes, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and continue cooking till raw flavor disappears. Add the tomato paste, the chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes to get the spices cooked. Finally add in the baked eggplant and paneer and the half and half/milk. Bring to a boil again. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot with roti or chapatis.

Verdict: The baked eggplants along with the creamy sweet gravy made this a delectable side dish for rotis. It was rich although an unusual combination. There is no rules when it comes to pairing one ingredient with another..paneer and eggplant, just became a new tasty combination.

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