Butter paneer masala is one of the most popular main course recipes of North India. Cottage cheese i.e. paneer is cooked in scrumptious gravy which has the perfect balance of flavors. Cottage cheese is fried which makes is juicy and same is cooked in rich tomato based gravy which has the hint of garlic and dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi). Well an update here: recently I did the recipe without frying the paneer to keep it healthy and it was wonderful. Certainly, absolutely fresh and soft yet firm paneer is required. If your paneer is not all that soft then fry and use it.
Butter paneer masala calls for paneer and tomatoes. To introduce some richness cashews and for the flavors, garlic and fenugreek leaves have been added. For extra smoothness heavy cream has been added. To maximize the flavors of the dish I have used homemade ginger garlic paste. It is important to process rather puree the tomatoes as shown in the recipe. Please do not take shortcuts there.
Paneer is a crowd pleaser, kids, adults, parties, wedding… it is everywhere and liked by everyone. And therefore we have a collection of paneer based curries. You can find it here. It has more than one butter paneer masala recipe, very popular palak paneer, and many many more recipes.
Certainly not with chapati! Serve it with butter naan, butter paneer masala and butter naan are meant to be together.
1.This recipe serves 4 persons.
2. Wash the tomatoes and cut into big pieces. Do not cut them into small pieces otherwise, they will be mushy and ruined when blanched.
3. Boil 2-3 cups of water and add the tomato pieces to it.
4. Let the tomatoes boil for 10-12 minutes. Boil the tomatoes till they are soft and peelable. Once the tomatoes have boiled, take them out and let them cool.
5. While the tomatoes boil, fry the paneer cubes. Update: Use fresh and soft yet firm paneer and skip the frying part.
6. Peel off the skin of tomatoes.
7. Grind the de-skinned boiled tomatoes with ¼ cup soaked cashews to smooth paste.
8. In the wok/kadhai, heat 1 tbsp ghee. Add 1 tbsp butter. Do not add the butter first as it might burn.
9. Add 1 tsp of ginger paste and 1 tsp of garlic paste or 2 tsp ginger garlic paste. Cook on low flame till the raw smell goes and it turns golden which will take about half a minute.
10. Add ½ tbsp red chili powder. I used Kashmiri red chili powder (it is less hot and more redder). If you are using the regular chili powder reduce the quantity accordingly. Cook for 10-20 seconds.
11. Add the tomato-cashew paste. Cook on low flame till the oil oozes. It will take 10-12 minutes.
12. Add salt to taste, ½ tsp sugar and ¼ cup heavy cream. Cook on low flame for 2 minutes.
13. Add ½ cup water and cook for 5-7 minutes.
14. Add the fried/raw paneer cubes and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.
15. Finish off with a handful of crushed Kasuri methi.
16. Bon appetit: Check consistency and seasoning and serve with butter naan or jeera rice.
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME 40 minutes
Wash the tomatoes and cut into big cubes. Do not cut them into small pieces otherwise they will be mushy and ruined while we blanch them.
Boil 2-3 cups of water and add the tomato cubes to it.
Let the tomatoes boil for 10-12 minutes. The time needed to boil the tomatoes depends on their quality. If they are too firm they might take a bit longer and vice versa. So keep a check on them. We want to make them soft and peel able.
While the tomatoes boil, fry the paneer cubes. You may deep fry or shallow fry them. Use a non stick pan to fry as the paneer tends to stick to the bottom while frying. Put the cubes in hot oil; reduce the flame as paneer browns very fast. Let it fry of some 20-30 seconds. Turn and fry evenly till golden brown. Once done take them out on a plate and before adding to the gravy, boil in water for a couple of minutes to ensure it remain soft and juicy.
Once the tomatoes have boiled, take them out and let them cool.
Peel off the skin of the tomatoes.
Grind the de skinned boiled tomatoes with ¼ cup cashews, which we had soaked for an hour. In case you missed soaking the cashew, put them in warm water for 15 minutes.
In the wok/kadhai, heat 1 tbsp ghee/oil.
Add 1tbsp butter to it. Do not add the butter first as it might burn.
Add 1 tsp each of ginger paste and garlic paste.
Cook on low flame till the raw smell goes and it turns golden; which will take about half a minute.
Add ½ tbsp red chilli powder. I used kashmiri red chilli powder (it is less hot and more red). If you are using the regular chilli powder reduce the quantity accordingly. Cook for 10-20 seconds.
Add the tomato-cashew paste.
Cook on low flame till the oil oozes. It will take 10-12 minutes.
Add salt to taste, ½ tsp sugar and ¼ cup heavy cream.
Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add ½ cup water and cook for 5-7 minutes.
Add the fried paneer cubes and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Finish off with 1 tbsp of crushed kasuri methi. I like to roast the kasuri methi slightly, cool it and then crush it. I (usually) don’t add fresh coriander to the dishes which have kasuri methi. But if you feel the dish looks incomplete without coriander feel free to add it.
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