Royal saffron paneer

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This simple yet luxurious dish from Eleanor Ford's third cookbook The Nutmeg Trail combines creamy paneer with a lightly spiced tomato sauce that's perfumed with saffron. Serve with roti or paratha and other Indian dishes.

This recipe is taken from The Nutmeg Trail by Eleanor Ford (£26, Murdoch Books).

First published in 2022

Eleanor says: 'Mughal kitchens must have been exquisite places, the air scented with the saffron, flower waters and cardamom used to suffuse their rich, creamy foods. Here is a derivative of one of the courts’ most celebrated dishes, silky-soft morsels of fresh cheese cloaked in a sumptuous, sweetly spiced tomato cream with the merest thread of heat. Delicate and divine.'






Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion until soft and golden. Add the tomatoes, cardamom, cloves, turmeric and chilli powder. Season with jaggery and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes


Meanwhile, cut the paneer into bite-sized cubes and put in a bowl. Pour over boiling water, cover and set aside for 10 minutes to soften. (There is no need to soak if you are using homemade paneer)


Toast the saffron in a dry pan for just a few moments, you want to wake it up not scorch it. Tip into a small bowl and crush to a powder with the back of a spoon. Add a tablespoon of hot water and leave to infuse


When you are ready to serve, drain the paneer and add it to the hot pan of spiced tomato. Simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the saffron infusion, rosewater and all but a dribble of the cream. Warm through. Serve with the reserved cream, white dripped lacily on saffron yellow, and a red dusting of chilli powder

  • 1 tsp rosewater, (or use kewra/screwpine water)
  • 125ml of double cream
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, plus extra to serve

Eleanor Ford is an award-winning author writing about food and travel.

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