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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Paneer Butter Masala

PANEER BUTTER MASALA…I don’t have to say anything more about this dish. It’s a very popular vegetarian curry, originating from my favourite cuisine ‘Punjabi’. This dish is cooked with Paneer or Cottage Cheese in a rich creamy tomato gravy. It’s mild in spice with a hint of sweetness and very aromatic. I love this dish. Paneer butter masala is delicious with roti, Plain Naan or with any flatbread, with fried rice and pulao. It may sound odd, but I love this with idlis too ;) It just tastes amazing. Like many other recipes, I learnt this from my mom.


Paneer Butter Masala is a ‘heavy on the waistline’ kind of dish. You need to add butter when sautéing the onion paste and in the end of the cooking too. It does give a fab taste, but when I cook for my family I totally skip the butter, cashew nuts and double cream. Also I use low – fat milk, still it gives nice creaminess to the gravy. But if you are have some guests around or a  get – together, its alright to add those extra calorie. 

Serves 3


You Will Need:

1 Onion, Finely Chopped
Tbsp of Kasuri Methi, Crushed
1/4 tsp of Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
Tsp of Coriander Powder
Tsp of Garam Masala
Tsp and a half of Tomato Ketchup
2 tbsp of Double Cream
Salt to Taste
Oil / Butter

Paneer Marination:

200g of Paneer or Cottage Cheese, Cubed
Approx a Cup of Milk

Onion Paste:
3 Medium Sized Onion, Cubed
7 Cashew Nuts
2 Cinnamon Sticks
4 Cardamom Pods
5 – 6 Cloves
A tbsp of Ginger Garlic Paste

Tomato Paste:

3 Large Tomatoes, Quartered

The Cooking:

Combine together the panner and milk.



Heat a tbsp of oil in a wok and add the cubed onions, cashew nuts, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves until they turn a light brown colour. Let this cool completely. Place the cooled onions in a blender along with the ginger garlic paste and this needs to be ground into a very smooth paste. Add a little water if needed.

On the same wok add the quartered tomatoes and cook it they become pulpy. This needs to be cooled and ground into a smooth paste.


Heat oil / butter in the same wok and add the finely chopped onions. This has to be sautéed till it turns a deep golden brown so that they will easily melt into the gravy in the end. If you don't sauté this properly, you will feel the bite of the onions in the gravy which you don't want.  

Now add the onion paste, kasuri methi (crushed between your palms) and stir continuously on high heat.

You will the know the onion paste is completely cooked when it starts to lump around and does not stick to the pan anymore. This is the thumb rule whenever you cook onion paste. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, coriander powder and garam masala.

 Stir this for a min, now the onion will not more stick to the bottom of the pan anymore. At this stage add the Tomato paste.

Give it a nice stir and cook the gravy on medium low heat for couple of min covered. Add the sugar and tomato ketchup. Stir well and pour in the milk.

Give this a good stir and cook the gravy for 10 – 15 min covered on a low medium heat. Then add in the cubed paneer and stir gently and cook it for further 5 min.

Lastly stir in the cream and take off heat.

Serve hot.

Important Pointers:
  • I never fry the paneer cubes, they add extra oil to the gravy and they tend to become harder.
  • Soaking the paneer in milk will keep them from drying out and they stay soft.
  • You can also microwave the onions instead of sautéing them on pan.
  • For any gravy which calls for pureed tomato or tomato paste, sautéing them on pan till they become pulpy gives nice colour to the gravy and also they cook easier.
  • Be careful when adding milk. There are chances of the milk separating. Always add warm milk to any gravy.
  • Keep the flame low or take the pan off heat when adding the milk.
  • Add in small quantities, and stir well before adding some more.
Happy Cooking!

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