Last weekend, I had a craving for paneer. It was probably easier to grab some takeout from the Indian restaurant, but I decided to prepare one of the most famous Indian classic recipes called ” Paneer butter masala “. I can bet that most of my Indian readers are already nostalgic. It so happens that this classic Punjabi dish is one of the most ubiquitous dishes in restaurants, homes and huge parties. It is the go to dish for vegetarians who do not wish to indulge in the meat based entrees. My husband who does not enjoy paneer at all was floored by this version of the recipe that I created by tweaking the classic ever so slightly. In fact, he liked it so much that he went for seconds and told me that I should definitely write a blog post about this 🙂
Traditional Indian dishes are generally based on savory spicy gravies with fresh yummy vegetables or meats and in this case cheese, specifically the fresh cottage cheese common in south Asian dishes called “paneer” (pronounced [pəniːr]). It is widely used in Indian, Nepali and Pakistani cuisine. In case you cannot find it in your neighborhood Indian grocery store, you can use Queso blanco or Queso fresco. Paneer is high in protein and being almost flavorless, takes up the flavor of the sauces very well.
|Serving size||Prep time||Cook time||Passive time|
|3||10 minutes||30 Minutes||20-25 Minutes|
8 oz Paneer ( Indian Cottage Cheese )
4 tbsp Unsalted butter
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Bay leaf
1 tbsp Chopped green chili
1/2 inch Ginger root ( finely chopped )
2-3 Garlic cloves ( finely chopped )
1 ½ cup Fresh tomato puree
1 tsp Turmeric powder
¼ cup Red onions ( chopped )
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/4 cup Fresh cream
1 tbsp Coriander powder
1 tbsp Amchur (Dried mango) powder
1 tbsp Salt
½ cup Chopped cilantro
I always try to use fresh ingredients as they tend to make dishes more flavorful.You can make paneer very easily. Generally an acidic agent like yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar or citric acid is added to hot milk to separate the curds from the whey. The curds can then be drained in a cheesecloth to remove excess water. Compress into a solid block by placing the curds in a cloth under some weight. It is then chilled, cut into cubes and can be used in a variety of dishes.
- Heat a large sauce pan to medium and add butter. After it melts, add the paneer cubes and saute for about 2-3 min until they are golden brown. Set them aside.
- In the same pan, add cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf and saute for a minute .
- Add green chili and onions saute until the onions become translucent and then add ginger and garlic and cook until the raw smell of garlic is gone.
- Add the tomato puree ( I blended 3 ripe tomatoes in a blender), close the lid and cook for 15 min on low heat until the butter separates at the top.
- Add paprika, turmeric, fresh cream and coriander powder and cook for 5 min on medium heat.
- Add the sauteed paneer, amchur powder and salt to it and cook for another 2 min.
- Just before removing from the heat, squeeze a lime and add chopped cilantro and mix it well.
- Garnish with a swirl of some fresh cream to add a rich creamy flavor.
There you go !!
The savory spicy tangy paneer butter masala. This dish is best enjoyed with naan (A common Indian oven baked flatbread ) or cumin rice. My favorite naan to go with this dish is the garlic naan, which by the way would also taste awesome when paired with my curried red lentils (Dal fry)
I hope you enjoy eating this dish as much as I enjoyed preparing it. Do let me know how much you liked it, in the comments section. You can get this recipe and all the new posts by subscribing to the newsletter.
Thank you 🙂
Hope you have a nice day !