Growing up in a South Indian household, Paneer was as exotic a dish to us as Polenta. Tandoor on M.G. Road was one of the first places I had a Paneer Makhni. Dada took us there with his business partner and family, when I was in junior school. The setting was formal and royal (ok, the waiters were dressed up in a turban!) and I was in awe of all the golden chandeliers. And there I tasted it…rich and creamy and tomatoey and cheesy. I was hooked…have been ever since. After that, it was something I religiously ordered whenever we dined out in a ‘North Indian restaurant’. (Ok, I still do!) The dish of course has moved from being exotic to completely local, with every Darshini across the corner serving ‘Paneer Butter Masala’! It’s almost staple in a North Indian Thali ordered in Bangalore. We never cooked paneer at home, because sourcing good paneer was difficult in the earlier days and mom’s home made paneer was at best – tough. Thankfully we have now come out of the dark ages and paneer is readily available in the supermarket. I know the original Delhite will scoff at the quality, but I know a trick which makes it as soft and pliable as the earstwhile Tandoor’s. Soak the paneer in hot water for five minutes before you cook it. It transforms into creamy, soft, textured awesomeness. Here’s a recipe that gives you all the flavor goodness without the evil restaurant flavor and colour additives. Who wants to stain their freshly manicured nails anyway?
Paneer Butter Masala
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
What you need:
250 gms Paneer (soaked in hot water for 5 mins and drained)
½ tsp Chili Powder
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Kasoori Methi (dried Fenugreek leaves)
2 tsp Ginger-garlic paste
1 Tbsp Ghee
1 Bay leaf
1 heaped tsp Coriander Powder
2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
4 Tbsp Cream
10 Cashew nuts
½ tsp Garam Masala
1 Tbsp Butter
Salt to taste
What to do:
Slice and dice the Paneer. Ensure its not too thick. Mix ¼ tsp each of the chilli and turmeric powder into the diced panner along with ½ tsp salt. Meanwhile soak the kasoori methi in teaspoon of hot water.
In a medium pan, heat the ghee on high. When it is hot, add the paneer pieces and fry from two minutes on either side, or until pale brown. This will seal the spices and prevent the paneer from falling apart in the gravy. Remove the paneer pieces and set aside. In the same fat, fry the bay leaf. When it starts sizzling, add the ginger garlic paste and stir for two minutes. Now add the coriander and the remaining chilli and turmeric, along with the tomato puree and stir vigorously for 2 mins until the pungent masala smell softens. Lower the heat, spoon in the cream (can substitute Yoghurt for a healthier option) and let it simmer for 5 mins. The colour will change from white to a rich orange as the spices blend in.
Meanwhile, grind the cashews with a Tbsp of hot water to make a smooth paste. Stir into the masala along with the paneer pieces, the garam masala and kasoori methi with the water. These are added to balance the tangy taste of the curry. Let the mixture simmer away for two minutes to ensure all the flavours meld.
To finish, stir in the butter and salt and enjoy hot with phulkas, naan or even some Ghee Rice!
Thanks Preethi… Would love to hear how it turned out!
Hey Swapna, I'm a fellow foodie who landed here via the Foodies in Bangalore group. All the recipes in your blog sound delicious and the accompanying photographs are “wow”! :). I've boomarked your blog, and will soon start trying out your recipes.
The PBM looks absolutely delicious. I can't wait to try it at home. :).
All the best with the blog! Great job! :).
Hey Prathima.. Thanks a ton 😀 You must join the meet next time, it was super fun!
Thats a delish, restaurant style PBM!!! Loved ur space Swapna..happy to be following u..My first time here actually..found ur space via the food bloggers meet group pic posted on FB!! Sure looked like fun..Wish I can be part of it next time 🙂