Paneer Butter Masala is one of most popular and frequently being ordered from a vegetation menu. This deliciously rich and creamy gravy is made with Paneer / Indian cottage cheese as main ingredient. It's a North Indian gravy that is mildly spiced with a slight sweet taste thats buttery and rich with flavor that everyone relishes.
This recipe has a slight twist of no artificial flavor or color added. I got this wonderful tip of using natural food color from my friend Padmaja. I have attached a Jain version of the same recipe below. Enjoy!!!
Paneer - 250 grams
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Ghee or Clarified Butter - 1 tablespoon
Onion - 2 nos (medium sized)
Cashew-nuts - 15 nos (soaked in water)
Almonds / Badam - 10 nos (soaked in water and peeled)
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Garlic - 3 cloves
Tomato - 3 nos
Beetroot - 1 small slice (2 inch)
Chilly powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Kasuri Methi / Dried Fenugreek leaves - 1 teaspoon + few for garnish
Sugar - 1 teaspoon
Salt as required
Fresh Cream - 1 cup
1. Cut Paneer into 1 inch cubes or rectangles and fry them in a non stick skillet with the oil and ghee. Using tongs gently flip them individually for an even golden brown color on all sides. Remove from heat draining the oil and keep it aside.
2. Grind the roughly chopped onions, ginger, garlic, soaked almonds and cashews to a fine paste.
3. In the same pan with the same oil, add the onion paste and stir it well. Add the chilly powder, garam masala, salt and sugar. Allow this to cook for 10-15 mins until the raw aroma disappears.
4. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for about 2-3 mins with the beetroot piece and grind it to paste.
5. Add the tomato paste to the skillet with the onion mixture and allow it to cook until the oil begins to leave.
6. Now is the time to add the kasuri methi leaves and fresh cream/ almond milk and stir gently.
7. Once it starts to come to a boil, add the fried paneer cubes and kasuri methi leaves for garnish and remove from heat. Serve hot with Roti or Naan. For the home cooked Naan recipe CLICK HERE.
Jain Version: Peas Butter Masala
Jains usually avoids root vegetables like onions, ginger, garlic, beetroot and also dairy products from cow like paneer and cream. When these root vegetables are eliminated in this recipe, the quantity of the gravy tends to reduce naturally. Hence substitute root vegetables with red bell peppers.
Ingredients required for substitution:
Green peas - 1 cup
Red bell pepper/ Capsicum - 2 nos ( roughly chopped)
Almond milk - 1 cup
Directions for substitution:
- Saute these bell peppers in oil and grind with the blanched tomatoes to paste.
- The green peas can be used instead of panner/indian cottage cheese but will have to be added in the skillet along with the tomato and red pepper puree.
- Simply use almond milk in place of fresh cream.
- Note the sugar quantity may be reduced or eliminated as the natural sweetness from the red peppers will suffice.
Notes and Tips:
- Blanching accentuates the natural color of the tomatoes. A small piece of beetroot being the rich color and make this gravy colorful without artificial color.
- Always allow the raw aroma of the onions to eliminate before the tomato puree is added to avoid long period of cooking.