The first step starts with defrosting the paneer block. The paneer that we buy usually has plastic wrapped around it, so in order to make it easy to remove the plastic cover, I usually keep the paneer out of the fridge in room temperature for a couple of hours, and then cut the plastic using a knife (without cutting the paneer) carefully.
Once the plastic cover is removed, defrost the paneer block in microwave. I usually microwave in high for about 3 minutes which is enough. If you know a better way of defrosting the paneer, you can do it. If you use fresh paneer you can skip steps 1 & 2.
Cut the defrosted paneer block into medium sized cubes, cut gently to avoid the pieces breaking or crumbling.
In a blender, blend the tomatoes, green chili and water until you get a smooth pureed tomato mixture.
Heat oil in a pan and lightly saute the bay leaves.
Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for another 1 minute.
Add the tomato mixture to the pan, and bring the mixture to a boil.
Cook the tomato mixture in medium to low heat until the tomato gravy starts to separate from the oil, which will take a few minutes.
Once the tomato gravy is cooked and the gravy starts to separate from the oil, add the butter, salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and cumin seeds powder to the tomato mixture and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the garam masala powder and cook for another 1 more minute in low heat.
Add the sugar and mix well, saute the mixture for another 1 minute so the sugar will dissolve and all the ingredients will nicely blend together. Now the base gravy for the paneer curry is ready.
Gently transfer the paneer cubes to the pan with the cooked tomato gravy, gently stir the contents using a good quality spatula to coat the paneer cubes with gravy, without crumbling the paneer.
Cover and cook in low heat for about 4 to 5 minutes in low heat or until the paneer is cooked and soft.
Keep the heat at very low, and add the heavy cream (or use whole milk if there is no cream) to the curry, gently stir to mix the contents well.
Switch off the stove and immediately remove the pan from the stove, and keep the stove away from heat. Yummy, quick and easy paneer curry is ready to serve!
Serve the delicious and easy paneer curry with rice for lunch or dinner or enjoy it as a quick yummy side dish with dosa, chapathi, poori etc.