Quick & Tasty Paneer Butter Masala

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Paneer butter masala is a creamy, yummy, gravy-style dish. While I was growing up, this used to be standard order alongside a plate of Tandoori Roti or Butter Naan. It is best eaten at a restaurant was my opinion: D The reason most people prefer eating this dish at a restaurant, is because restaurant gravies are silky smooth, creamy and flavorful. Of course a considerable amount of butter and ghee and cream goes into one portion of this curry, but it’s a once-in-a-while indulgence and I don’t like to count calories 😀

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My perfect Paneer Butter Masala has silky smooth gravy and sweetish, buttery taste, with soft and crumbly chunks of fresh Paneer generously dotting the curry. Sadly, most restaurants get this wrong rather than right. Either the Paneer is too old hence tough, watery gravy in terms of consistency, or the spices are not right, thus tainting the Paneer Butter Masala experience.

One of my Punjabi friends invited me home for lunch one fine Sunday. One of the dishes served for lunch was Paneer Butter Masala. My oh my, that taste is hard to describe! Homemade Paneer just melting in my mouth with a rich gravy that was so smooth and flavorful – I was hooked, booked and cooked from that day and vowed to try and replicate that taste at home. I studiously scribbled down the recipe that her mother was kind enough to share, and have been making this at home ever since. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Paneer – 200 gm (homemade for best results, or store bought)
  • Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes – 2 big, ripe
  • Ginger Garlic paste – ½ tsp
  • Kashmiri chilly powder – ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder – ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped – for garnish
  • Amul fresh cream – 1 tbsp
  • Ghee – 2 tsp
  • Butter – 25 gm
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste

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Directions:

  1. Chop one tomato finely, and puree the other tomato in the mixer without water. Chop the Paneer into cubes (or triangles or batons) as you prefer and set aside.
  2. Heat the ghee and butter together until melted, in a wide bottomed pan on a medium flame.
  3. Add the chopped onion to the oil and sauté for 2-3 mins until onions are soft and translucent.
  4. Add the ginger garlic paste and sauté for a minute or until the raw smell is no longer noticeable.
  5. Add the chopped tomato and pureed tomato to this and mix well.
  6. Add the spices (chilly powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric) along with sugar and salt to this and mix well until incorporated.
  7. At this stage, you can add a little water (about ¼ cup) to this mixture if it is too thick, so that the spices do not stick and burn at the bottom of the pan.
  8. Let this mixture cook on a medium-low flame uncovered for about 5-6 minutes, or until oil starts oozing from the sides of the mixture.
  9. Add the Paneer to this and mix gently, taking care not to break the cubes.
  10. Add the fresh cream and milk and mix well. Check for salt and seasonings, and adjust as required.
  11. Add as little or as much milk required, depending on whether you like thinner or thicker gravy.
  12. Add a small cube of butter to this and mix well. Garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.

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You can serve this with Rice or Rotis. I packed this Paneer Butter Masala along with Jeera Rice and some fruit for my husband’s lunch to office. He and his colleagues loved it and I received many compliments J It was quite a balanced meal in terms of nutrition, and a home packed lunch is always a healthier option compared to eating out. Once in a while, you can indulge in these curries without worrying about the calories! 🙂

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