Paneer makhani, or “Butter Paneer Masala,” is a rich, creamy tomato curry. It is a popular restaurant dish often eaten with naan or some other flatbread. It also goes well with rice.
Paneer makhani is definitely a go-to dish at everyday Indian restaurants. But there is nothing more disappointing than ordering paneer makhani from a restaurant and getting flavorless chunks of paneer in a watered-down sauce.
The gravy in this recipe does not disappoint. It is thickened with cashews, which makes it taste so rich and creamy and so satisfying. I love to pour it next to a heaping serving of basmati rice and let the extra gravy soak into it.
- Be sure to cook the onions just until softened and to cook down the tomatoes enough. You don’t want too much caramelization on the onions for this recipe.
- Serve with any kind of flatbread, especially naan
Paneer Makhani (Butter Paneer Masala)
- 4 tbsp butter separated
- 8 oz chopped paneer either homemade or store bought will work just fine
- ½ medium onion about ½ cup, thinly sliced pole to pole
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp roughly chopped ginger
- 1 14.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes roughly crushed with your hands or a fork
- 14 whole cashews about 2 tbsp
- 1 green chili slit into half I usually use either jalapeno or serrano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder or red paprika work too
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ¾ tsp salt or to taste
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves kasoori methi
- cilantro for garnish optional
- In a small bowl, soak the cashews in 1/4 cup of water. Set aside. ( For how long)
- Heat 1 tbsp butter in a 12 inch frying pan. Add the paneer cubes and fry until slightly golden. Remove
- Add 1 more Tbsp of butter and add the onions and cook until softened. Add the ginger and garlic. Cook for one more minute.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Until the mixture thickens and oil separates/ rises to the top.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender along with the cashews and blend to a smooth paste. Strain the paste if it doesn’t blend into a very smooth mixture. Add 1 to 1.5 cups of water.
- Wipe the pan and add 1 tbsp of butter under medium heat.
- Add the slit green chili, ground cumin, kashmiri chili powder. Cook for about 20 seconds and
- Transfer puree back into the pan. Cook 5 minutes.
- Add the garam masala, sugar, dried fenugreek leaves and salt. Stir well.
- Add the paneer. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in 1 tbsp of butter.
Fenugreek seeds and dried fenugreek leaves are available at local Indian stores and easily available online. Don’t skip the dried fenugreek leaves in this recipe it’s an important flavor component.
Paneer is also available at Indian stores and often available at Whole Foods. But it’s really easy to make if you can’t.