This recipe is for all those paneer lovers and it is the king of all paneer recipes. I serve it with roti, Nan and even boiled rice.
Butter Paneer Masala or Paneer Makhani it was for lunch the other day. For Punjabi vegetarians it is the ultimate dish with its delicious creamy smooth gravy with a little hint of spiciness. Now there is nothing special about Butter paneer masala as it is available all over North India but I am in Guadalajara, Mexico and I didn’t even think Paneer or Cottage Cheese would be available at the store. To my pleasant surprise paneer was available and it was just perfect. It is known as Queso Panela; queso in Spanish means Cheese and there is a whole array of Mexican cheeses.Made with whole milk it has low fat and its origins can be traced back to Burgos, Spain. Panela is usually eaten fresh as a snack or to top salads. I have seen panela crumbled over tacos.
When I visit Delhi I am offered all sorts of paneer dishes as I am a vegetarian but strangely I am no paneer lover. I have seen paneer lovers in the north crumbling fresh paneer over any dish or eating it raw.
Paneer butter masala is also known as Paneer Makhani in Punjabi cuisine. The butter is used generously and the tomato based gravy and cream gives the gravy a smooth, tangy and creamy texture. If you do not get paneer locally then you can just make it at home. You need only two ingredients; milk and lemon or vinegar or curds. I have a blog on how to make paneer here. Check it out.
Recipe for Butter Paneer Masala
250 grams Paneer cubes or Cottage Cheese
4 tbsps butter
1 tsp Ginger Paste
1 tsp Garlic Paste
1 Bay leaf
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
1 Onion, chopped
6 Tomatoes blanched and chopped
1/2 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
2 tablespoons Fresh Cream
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
1 cup thick curds
1 green chili or 2
Pinch food colour (optional)
Fresh Cilantro chopped
Take a bowl and add the curds. Now mix in the ginger garlic paste, salt, chili powder, garam masala, and turmeric. You can add the food colour to give it typical restaurant style gravy. I didn’t have any food colour here and I used Kashmiri saffron. Now add the paneer cubes, salt and marinate for an hour.
In a pan or kadhai, heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of oil.Add and all the whole spices and the ginger, garlic paste. Sprinkle the kasuri methi, sauté for a minute or two and add the chilies. I didn’t have green chilies and I used one whole Serrano chili. Serrano peppers are medium sized Mexican chili peppers and fiery and sharp.Serranos look like jalapeños, but they are smaller pointed, and lots spicier. Add the onions and stir till nice and pink and translucent but not brown.
Add the blanched and chopped tomatoes. Mix well. Cover and cook on simmer till the oil leaves the edges. Add the marinated paneer and cook until you get nice thick gravy. Switch off the flame and serve Butter Paneer Masala or Paneer Makhani garnished with fresh cream and a blob or butter. I like to add some fresh cilantro too.
Serve hot with nan, roti, paratha, rice, bread or tortilla.