Let me start by telling you that my father loves to experiment with food and is known for his chutneys and sandwiches. So it was no surprise when my mother mentioned a sandwich that he had made and all the compliments he had received from her colleagues. So when I asked him for the recipe, he said, "I sautéed some onions and tomatoes in a little oil. Added salt to taste and all the masala powders that I could think of and when the mixture had come together well, I added some paneer pieces and sautéed it for a few more minutes. After the mixture cooled down, I put it in the mixie (blender), blended it and put it back into the pan for further thickening. Once it was of spreadable consistency, I took it off the heat and used it as a spread for the sandwiches."
The thought of blending paneer did not sit well with me at first, but I had made up my mind to try it anyhow. So I bought some paneer during our weekend trip to the Indian grocery store. Before I could get to the sandwich, though, I made a paneer curry for dinner. A simple tomato-onion gravy with green chilies, garlic, ginger, turmeric powder, chili powder , cumin powder, and garam masala. I had a little left over and was wondering what to do with it when a bright bulb went on in my head!!! Wasn't this quite similar to my father's paneer mixture (before blending)? Without losing any time, I took the paneer curry out of the fridge, put it into the small jar of my mixie and blended away until it was a smooth paste. I added a small piece of paneer (because I have the very bad habit of picking out paneer pieces from the gravy and eating them separately, leaving very little pieces Vs gravy).
The mixture was super fragrant from all the spices that had gone into it the previous night, the only thing missing was the bright color of the tomatoes, because I had added a little milk to the gravy. Anyway, I added a bit more chili powder and salt and poured it into a small pan and let it simmer on low heat for a while. My kitchen was filled with an amazing aroma as the paneer mixture sat and reduced into a perfect spread-like consistency.
Alternately, I think this will make a nice Indian style dip/topping for chips, vegetables and crackers too. What say? Bon appétit.