Paneer Butter Masala – one of the most popular Indian gravies using Paneer or Cottage Cheese. I can swear that this is one curry recipe that finds its way into road side eateries to highway dhabas to super posh restaurants – all alike. No restaurant menu would be complete without the legendary Paneer Butter Masala. Not just that, it is the safest option to order when you are not sure about a restaurant. Nothing can really go wrong with the combination of Paneer and Butter in a curry right? Right.
So there is a small story with how this batch of creamy delicious Paneer Butter Masala got made. One fine Sunday, I made fresh Paneer at home and immediately used it to whip up some really good Paneer Butter Masala to go with our rotis. For once, I was satisfied with the pictures I clicked – it was one of the days when everything fell in to place. And then I did the unthinkable. I accidentally deleted (wiped off clean) all pictures from my SD Card without having taken any backup. Sigh. I lost quite a lot of pictures (and recipes) and I can’t put in words the feeling of utter helplessness.
There was nothing I could do about it. Except that I could cook and click again. Ha! So that is exactly what I did. Albeit feeling a little bad for the lost pictures. The good thing about all this drama was we made Paneer Butter Masala twice in a week and both the times it was a super hit. Unlike many recipes that use fresh cream for Paneer Butter Masala, I don’t use any. And yet, it turns out creamy and delicious. Read on the recipe below to know more 🙂
Check out other Paneer/Cottage Cheese Recipes here.
To make Paneer Butter Masala
What I used –
- Onions, 2 medium
- Tomatoes, 2 medium (ripe)
- Paneer/Cottage Cheese, 150-200 gms
- Butter/Oil, 1 tbsp
- Cashews, 6-7 whole
- Dried Bay Leaf, 1
- Ginger Garlic Paste, 1 tsp
- Kasoor Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves, 1 tsp
- Red Chilli Powder, ¾ tsp
- Garam Masala Powder, ½ tsp
- Turmeric Powder, a generous pinch
- Sugar, ¼ tsp
- Salt, as needed
- Water, as needed
Prep Work –
1. Powder the cashews into a finely in a mixer/blender and add ½ cup of water, make a smooth paste out of it – this is the cashew cream/milk. Set aside.
2. Chop onions and tomatoes into cubes. Sprinkle some water and set them on microwave high for 4-5 mins until they are cooked and there is no raw smell. Let them cool down completely. Make a smooth puree out of it. Set aside.
3. Chop Paneer into cubes. If taken out of fridge, immerse them in hot water for 5-6 mins. Set aside.
How I made –
1. In a pan, heat butter/oil. Add dried bay leaf and ginger garlic paste. Sauté until the raw smell is gone. Add the pureed onion tomatoes. Sauté until the butter/oil starts to leave from edges.
2. Add all the masala powders – red chilli powder, garam masala powder, turmeric powder, sugar and salt. Mix well and cook for 3-4 mins on low flame until they are cooked. Add some water and let the gravy boil on low heat.
3. Add the prepared cashew cream/milk and mix well. Soon the gravy begins to thicken – add ½ cup of water as needed and boil the gravy for a couple of mins. Crush kasoor Methi/Dried fenugreek leaves between your palms and add it to the gravy. Add cubed paneer and mix well. On low heat boil the gravy for another 3-4 mins. Remove from heat.
- Instead of cooking onion tomatoes in microwave, can be cooked on stove top too. Either use a tsp of oil or sprinkle some water and cook covered until they are tender.
- I used cashew cream but instead of it, regular cream can be used too. When using fresh cream, don’t boil the gravy after adding it. There are chances of it curdling.
- While making the cashew milk, I used my instant method of powdering them fine first followed by adding water. If you can plan ahead, soak them in some water for 30mins and then grind into a smooth paste – there is no difference in texture or taste.
- Adding a small amount of sugar helps in cutting the tanginess of tomatoes.
- Butter makes this gravy rich but I have made it just oil or half-half oil-butter – works well too!
- If the paneer is straight out of the fridge, immerse it in hot water for 5-6 mins so that it is soft again.
- Dried Fenugreek Leaves or Kasoor Methi is very important for this dish. There is a slight bitterness in these leaves but they add to the taste of this gravy making it unique.
- Always crush the Kasoor Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves before adding to the gravy to make them fragrant.
- Adjust spices as per preference.