Monday, 20 January 2014

Paneer Butter Masala - Paneer Makhanwala

Paneer Butter Masala - Paneer Makhanwala

I've been to a few restaurants that make this dish so perfectly, and that perfection is what I aimed at. I went through many recipes but none of the recipes appealed to me. I therefore mixed and matched ingredients, proportions and the method to my liking and to my utter joy what I put on the table had my family going ‘ummm’ with satisfied look on their face. It doesn't get any better than this!


300 gms paneer/cottage cheese
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons butter + 1 teaspoon butter
2 medium sized onions, chopped into 8-10 pieces
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
3 large tomatoes
15 cashew nuts
1/3rd cup milk
2 green chilies, slit, deseeded n cut into juliennes
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon red Kashmiri chili powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon garam masala powder
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi
½ cup cream
1 cup warm water
1-2 tablespoons coriander leaves (reserve some for garnish)
1 teaspoon cream, to garnish (optional)


  1. Cut cottage cheese into 1-1½ inch pieces, in desired shape.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil, add the cottage cheese pieces and lightly fry them.
  3. Remove when done and soak the cottage cheese pieces in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes. Drain. Keep aside. (This ensures that the cottage cheese remains soft.)
  4. Dry roast kasoori methi on a griddle/tava. Cool and gently crush into a powder with your fingers. Keep aside.
  5. Make a cross on the top of each tomato and blanch them in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Remove.
  6. Peel and chop of the eye of the tomato. Puree in a blender. Keep aside.
  7. Soak cashew nuts in milk for 10 minutes. Using the same milk, grind them to a smooth semi-thick paste. Use as much milk as needed and keep the rest aside.
  8. Grind the onions and the ginger-garlic paste to a fine paste.
  9. Add butter to the oil in which the cottage cheese pieces were fried and heat.
  10. Splutter cumin seeds. Add juliennes of green chilies, the onion/ginger-garlic paste mix and sauté till the raw smell of the onion evaporates and the mixture begins to turn light brown.
  11. Add the tomato puree and cook till the raw tomato smell evaporates. Allow the gravy to thicken till oil separates.
  12. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, sugar, salt and sauté for a minute.
  13. Add one cup of warm water and cook for 6-8 minutes till gravy thickens and oil separates.
  14. Remove the vessel from the stove. Cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  15. Add the cashew paste (with the remaining milk, if any), kasoori methi powder, coriander leaves and give it a good stir to blend it well into the gravy. Add the drained cottage cheese pieces, put back on low flame to simmer for a couple of minutes.
  16. Add cream and simmer for a minute more on very low flame.
  17. Garnish with the remaining coriander leaves, 1 teaspoon butter and a wee bit of cream (optional)
  18. Serve hot with naan or paratha. 
Chef Notes:

  1. Feel free to soak the paneer directly in warm water, without frying it if you so wish.
  2. This is a dish high in calories so make it for special occasions so that you don’t have to stint on the good stuff like cream and butter. 
  3. You may share the direct blog-link of the recipe/s but do NOT publish my recipes and my photographs on any blog-site or website without my explicit consent or attempt to pass off my recipe/s as your own. You will be held accountable for plagiarism. 

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