Soft and spongy Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese), covered in aromatic tomato sauce and drizzled with heavy cream! Paneer Butter Masala is not for days when you want to diet. It’s for days when you want to indulge but at the same time, make it easy and quick. Pair it with rice or naan or roti, chances are very high that you’ll lick the plate clean.
When you talk of Indian Restaurants, there are a few dishes that will always pop in your mind – Paneer Tikka Masala, Paneer Makhni, Paneer Butter Masala and also the same dishes, but with chicken. What makes these dishes so alluring and lip smacking? It’s the aromatic tomato sauce/gravy. If you get that right, you can make these dishes effortlessly at home.
Here is a detailed recipe of Makhni Sauce that I had shared earlier. It’s a keeper. So, go ahead and give it a try! By the way, the sauce also works amazingly on wraps with grilled chicken or veggie.
Paneer, as we all know, is one of the most preferred vegetarian options for rich curries. It’s often either Paneer or Cauliflower but do a survey and you will realize that paneer tops the list. We eat Paneer at least once a week, mostly in forms of curry. It is fast cooking and packed with protein.
What Makes Paneer Butter Masala so tasty?
Paneer Butter Masala is also sometimes known a Paneer Makhni! The name might give you a feeling that it’s the addition of butter. Well, butter does make everything better but, it’s the spices that go in along with the creamy tomato puree in this curry which do the magic.
- Kasoori Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)– This is one of the key spices that make the gravy so aromatic. You absolutely need it and cannot replace it with any other spice mix.
- Whole Spices – Cinnamon Stick, Cardamom, Fennel and Cumin Seeds.
- Ground Spices – Cumin Powder, Fennel Powder, Kashmiri Chili Powder, Garam Masala Powder and Cinnamon Powder.
While most of the people don’t add Cinnamon Powder in this curry but I learnt this many year back from a friend and it elevates the taste to a whole new level. It adds a mild sweetness to the overall taste of the curry.
- Tomato Puree – The rich red hue of the gravy comes from Tomato Puree. If its peak season for tomatoes, surely make tomato puree at home. But if not, use the canned puree. I always use canned puree for these rich curries as it gives the absolute best color to the Paneer Butter Masala.
Whether you pair it with rice or bread, this restaurant style rich creamy Paneer Butter Masala is a treat. And it can be made quite effortlessly, even on busy weeknight.
Here are some more Paneer Recipes for you to try:
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1-inch fresh ginger
- 12.69 oz paneer, diced bite size
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/3 cup cashew, grind to powder
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 and ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 green cardamoms
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 and ½ teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon fennel powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- Pound or grate the garlic and ginger.
- Place a skillet or pan at medium heat and pour the oil. Once the oil heats up, add the whole spices (cumin seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon stick). Crush 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves between your palms and add it to the pan. Stir it around and add the garlic ginger. Stir it around for a few seconds.
- Add the onion, salt and turmeric. Mix it around and cook for 1 minute. Add the cumin powder, fennel powder and chili powder. Mix it around and cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour the tomato puree, 1 cup of water, sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix it around. Add the cinnamon powder, mix it around, cover the pan and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the diced Paneer cubes, rest of the fenugreek leaves and garam masala. Sauté for 1 minute.
- Dollop the butter, ground cashew and cream. Mix it around and simmer for 1 minute.
- Serve warm with a drizzle of cream on top.