Navratri has to be one of the most vibrant festivals of the subcontinent. So many different states have given the festival their own local flavour. The festival, essentially, is a nine-day long worship of Goddess Durga and her nine avatars. It is said that the Goddess descends on earth to be among her devotees for these couple of days. The devotees in turn do a variety of Pujas and offer her special bhog and prasad. A practice of observing Navratri vrat is also very common among a few devotees. A typical Navratri vrat meal is vegetarian to begin with, but that’s not all, one is barred from consuming pulses, grains and lentils too. Even table salt is in the ‘Don’ts list’. Naturally then people resort to the same, run-off-the mill ideas and complain about ‘missing’ their usual delicacies. Sure, Navratri fasting has a long list of rules, but it is a festival after all, therefore it is just criminal to be sad.  

You would be surprised to know that you can recreate your beloved veg dishes with only a few modifications. Like for instance, this Paneer Makhani which we can have all year round. Paneer Makhani is a popular North Indian dish that falls in the same illustrious league as the Shahi Paneer and Paneer Pasanda. Paired with naan, Paneer Makhani defines Punjabi indulgence to the T. What really works for us here though, is how they have managed to retain everything we like about the classic dish, and adapted it for our Navratri fasting requirements. So there is the tomato and fresh-cream based gravy, that makes it tangy and creamy at the same time. Further making the gravy richer are milk, khoya and cashewnuts. Since, it has to suit the vrat requirements, this lovely recipe by Chef Anil Khurrana, Hyatt makes use of desi ghee instead of refined or other vegetable oil, the salt used is also sendha namak, in place of table salt. The recipe does not have either garlic or onion. Interestingly, the recipe is also one of the items on the Navratri special festive menu being served at the Café by Hyatt Regency, Delhi.  

If you are looking for an epic paneer dish to cook tonight that can be savoured by everyone, here is a recipe you should try right away.

Paneer Makhani

  • Ingredients:
  • 400 g Fresh paneer
  • 1.5 kg Fresh tomato puree
  • 10 g Red chilli powder
  • 100 g Fried Cashewnut
  • 50 g Khoya
  • 20 g Ginger paste
  • 20 g Desi ghee
  • 50 g Sugar
  • 200 g Butter
  • 4 pcs Green chilli
  • 10 ml Fresh cream
  • 20 ml Milk
  • Sendha namak to taste

Method:

1. Heat ghee in a pan. Throw in some ginger and stir it for some time. Then add fresh tomato puree, salt, sugar, chilli powder, green chilli, and butter.  

2. Let it cook and reduce to 2/3rd of the quantity.

3. Now proceed to make a paste of cashewnuts, khoya and milk in a blender.

4. Add the cashewnut paste to the reduced tomato puree and let it cook for some time.

5. Slice up some fresh paneer and add to the gravy.

6. Let it cook for about ten minutes on medium flame. Remove from heat.

7.Your Paneer Makhani is ready, garnish with cream and serve with Kuttu Ki Poori.