Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Makhanwala is a very popular vegetarian dish all over the world. This is of course a vegetarian variation of the ever popular Butter Chicken. This 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.
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 given here is the one which has evolved after many attempts, and the one I have nailed down. It is sinful, but not atrocious, IMHO . A lot of the richness here comes from cashews or almonds, and the cream or butter used is negligible.
The recipe is as follows -
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 cream
butter for garnish
1) Cut the paneer in cubes or long rectangular pieces – any size or shape you desire.
2) Heat the oil in a wok and gently fry the Paneer pieces until they are browned. Remove with slotted spoon and drain. Set aside.
3) Puree the onion, garlic and ginger and add this to the remaining hot oil. Fry until cooked. Add water if needed to prevent sticking.
4) Make a fine paste of the cashews or almonds and set aside.
5) Add fresh tomato puree or crushed tomatoes to the onion ginger garlic mixture. Let it come to a boil and simmer.
6) Add all seasonings – salt, pepper, honey, garam masala and also the nut paste. Mix well.
7) Add the paneer pieces to the sauce. Now add the Kasoori Methi and simmer for 2 mins.
8 -) Add the heavy cream and serve hot with a few pats of butter on top.
This is sure to impress anyone, and is ready with very little effort. You Must try this and let me know.