Paneer Butter Masala – Restaurant style

Every time when we go to an Indian restaurant one thing we have to order is Paneer! Without paneer the dinner is just not complete. It could be Kadai-paneer, Saag panner, Paneer butter masala, Palak-paneer, Paneer bhurji, Matar-paneer etc…whatever but Paneer has to be there. :)

As you know by now that I love good food but what you do not know is that I am crazy for panner. If you haven’t read my About page, probably you do not know this story. Like other foodies I also crave for tasty food. But for me I crave it at weird times (nahhh I am not pregnant). So that reminds me of me making a Paneer Butter Masala when I was preparing for my finals in Idaho… and guess what time did I make it? 3 AM…yes, at 3 AM!! See that’s the perfect example of me not compromising on good food and how crazy I am for Paneer!! And BTW I got A- in my final :) So it was worth an effort. Right?

Most of you are familiar with Paneer but if you are not, Paneer is a fresh cheese made of milk and lemon juice. Very easy to make and super delicious.You can make it fresh and use it the same day.

Paneer is such a versatile ingredient that you can prepare your entire meal out of it. One of the most popular curries of Paneer is Paneer butter masala. It is cooked in a rich buttery onion-tomato gravy and flavored with bitter fenugreek leaves. I added almond paste to make the curry more flavorful and rich. If you prefer healthier version of this you can cut back on butter and use half and half and not heavy cream. You can enjoy this Paneer butter masala with Tandoori naan/roti or just serve it with plain jeera rice. I also tried making Roomali roti but it was not a successful experiment so I am not posting the recipe for it. :( But I will keep trying.

Remember the aroma and texture of this curry you get in a restaurant?? So creamy and smooth! I always used to wonder how do they make it like that?? After trying out few recipes I finally figured out a proper way of cooking this delicious dish which has the same aroma and texture of the curry you get in a restaurant. :)

So, here I present you my awesome recipe of an Authentic Paneer Butter Masala.

Total time: About 35 minutes

Yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Paneer cubed
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 one inch of cinnamon sticks
  • 2 Red chilies broken
  • 1 big Red Onion chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 4 Tbsp Organic tomato paste (or you can use 5 tomatoes pureed)
  • ½ cup almonds pureed with ½ cup milk
  • 1 Tsp Garam masala powder
  • 1 Tsp coriander-cumin powder
  • 1 Tsp red chili powder
  • ½  - 1  Tbsp Paprika powder (for color as well as taste)
  • ¼ cup tomato ketchup
  • Salt – to taste
  • 1 ½  tsp Kasuri methi (the most important ingredient…do not skip this – you can easily find it in an Indian grocery store)
  • ½ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 cup half and half/heavy cream

Method:

Soak almonds in half cup of milk and set aside.

Heat one Tbsp of oil in a pan. Add chopped onions and sauté it for about 10 minutes on medium-high flame till they are translucent. Add a pinch of salt to it. Keep it aside. Let it cool down a bit and purée it in a blender.

Now in a big pan add butter and a Tbsp of oil. Do not skip on oil otherwise your butter will get burnt. Once oil/butter is hot enough add bay leaves, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks and red chillies all together. Sauté for about 30 seconds on medium heat. Now add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for another 45 seconds.

Add onion paste and cook for another 2 minutes. Once onions are cooked, add tomato paste /puree,  coriander-cumin powder, garam masala powder, red chilli powder, paprika powder, and salt to it and cook on high heat till oil separate. It will take about 10 minutes. In between purée almonds with the milk. Once tomatoes are cooked add almond mixture and ketchup to it and cook for 3 more minutes.

Add paneer pieces and salt (if needed). Cook covered on low heat for five minutes. Sprinkle kasoori methi and mix in lightly. Thr bitterness of Kasoori methi will balance out the flavors of ketchup.

Remove from heat and mix in the heavy cream/half and half (I used half and half to cut back on some calories ;)). If you are using half and half you need to let the curry cook for 5 more minutes. But if you are using cream no need to cook further.

Taste and check the salt amount. Add more if requires. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and some cream if you prefer.

Enjoy this restaurant style Paneer Butter masala with Tandoori naan/roti or jeera rice. I can just eat it like that :)

Enjoy!

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