Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Makhanwala or Butter Paneer is a very popular vegetarian dish all over the world. This is of course a vegetarian variation of the ever popular Butter Chicken. This is a rich dish, and hence an indulgence. Mildly spiced with a hint of sweetness and the richness of butter, this is best served with hot rotis or Naans.
Paneer is the main ingredient here. It is also called Indian cottage cheese, and is easily available in Indian markets, and of course, anywhere in India. Many bloggers have compared it to Queso Blanco or Farmer’s Cheese and have suggested a substitution. Personally, I find that both Queso Blanco and Farmer’s Cheese are too salty and tend to melt if heated for some time.
If you do not have access to Indian markets, you can very easily make paneer at home yourself. Check out this page where I explain how to make your own paneer.
Over the years, I have eaten many variations of this dish, and also made many variations. Restaurants disappoint nowadays as they add more and more fat and sugar, so much so that there is hardly any flavor left. The richness here is balanced by adding crushed Kasoori Methi, or dried Fenugreek leaves which are readily available in any Indian market. The bitterness of these leaves cuts through the fat, making it tolerable.
Some people dump gallons of butter, some add heavy cream, some add ‘Khoa’ or ‘Mawa’, while some add nuts. The recipe for paneer butter masala I give here is one which has evolved after many attempts, and one I have nailed down. It is sinful, but not atrocious, IMHO :).
A lot of the richness in this recipe comes from cashews or almonds, and the cream or butter used is negligible.
The recipe for Paneer Butter Masala is as follows –
Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Makhni or Butter Paneer as it can be called is the vegetarian version of the famous butter chicken. Made with specific spices, my recipe is easy and ready in minutes.
- 200g fresh Paneer
- 1-2 small onions or shallots
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp Punjabi Garam Masala
- 1 Tbsp crushed Kasoori Methi
- 1/2 cup cashews or almonds soaked
- 2 cups tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
- salt to taste
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
- butter for garnish
- Cut the paneer in cubes or long rectangular pieces - any size or shape you desire.
- Heat oil in a wok and gently fry the Paneer pieces until they are browned. Remove with slotted spoon and drain. Set aside.
- Puree the onion, garlic and ginger and add this to the remaining hot oil. Fry until cooked. Add water if needed to prevent sticking.
- Make a fine paste of the cashews or almonds and set aside.
- Add fresh tomato puree or crushed tomatoes to the onion ginger garlic mixture. Let it come to a boil and simmer.
- Add all seasonings - salt, pepper, honey, garam masala and also the nut paste. Mix well.
- Add the paneer pieces to the sauce. Now add the Kasoori Methi and simmer for 2 mins.
- Add the heavy cream and serve hot with a few pats of butter on top.
This Paneer Butter Masala is sure to impress anyone, and is ready with very little effort. You Must try this and let me know.