Frankly, I don't know what an authentic Paneer Lababdar tastes like. I have tried this dish in different restaurants and every place seems to have their own unique version of this dish! I tasted this dish for the first time during our stay in Simla, couple of years back. We went to have lunch in this small 'dhaba'. I remember not being very impressed with the place and wondering if their food will be any good. But their paneer lababdar wiped out all my fears. In fact the taste of that curry still lingers in my mouth and I can tell you I haven't found any other place serving this dish matching that taste! But one thing is common and that is the thick tomato gravy. So definitely lababdar is all about paneer being cooked in a spicy and tangy tomato gravy.
This recipe is my own version - after having browsed through several recipes on the internet. It goes extremely well with hot rotis or even plain steamed rice. Enjoy :)
Paneer Lababdar: Recipe
- Paneer - 250gm, cubed
- Tomatoes - 4 medium, finely chopped
- Onion - 2 small, finely chopped
- Garlic paste - 1 tsp
- Ginger paste - 3/4 tsp
- Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
- Red chilli powder - 11/2 tsp
- Coriander powder - 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Thick cream - 1 to 2 tbsp
- Tomato paste - 1 tsp
- Water - about 1.5 cups
- Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) - 1 tbsp, crushed in hand
- Coriander leaves - finely chopped, for garnish
- Heat oil in a kadai and add the cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add the onions and the ginger - garlic paste. Saute well for few minutes.
- Add the finely chopped tomatoes along with the tomato paste. Cook well till the tomatoes become mushy and the oil begins to separate out.
- Add the dry spice powders - red chilli, turmeric, coriander and salt to taste. Combine well.
- Add water and stir well. Let it simmer for few minutes. If you want a thinner gravy you can add more water.
- Add the thick cream, followed by kasoori methi and combine.
- Next add the cubed paneer and gently mix. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.
You can slightly grill the paneer for a firmer texture.
You can replace thick cream with low fat milk as well; less than 1/4 cup or more.