Step by step Butter Paneer Masala recipe. Paneer Makhani aka Butter Paneer Masala is a vegetarian version of Murgh Makhani(Butter Chicken). India's favorite vegetarian curry. Loved and adored by many, takes the top place in the wedding menu list in Gujarat ;).
What is Paneer Makhani?
Paneer is Indian cottage cheese and Makhani translates to "Buttery". Paneer Butter Masala recipe is a rich and creamy Indian curry based on Indian spices, ripe red tomatoes, onion, cashew, and butter. The creamy sauce gives this curry a silky-smooth texture.
The Makhani curry is very versatile. The recipe calls for Indian cottage cheese Paneer. If you aren't a fan of Paneer, replace it with your favorite steamed or sauteed veggies or tofu.
What's in this Paneer Masala?
My recipes are tried and tested for many years. 😉 I only recommend using the exact mentioned ingredients for the taste I guarantee you.
Dairy and Nut:
- Paneer- Indian cottage cheese is the main ingredient of this recipe. Paneer is firm in texture and slightly sour. It is available at any Indian grocery store in the US.
- Butter- I like to use a good combination of some butter and some oil for this recipe. It is completely up to you if you want to go heavy-handed with butter. More the merrier ;).
- Heavy Cream- I am only using a small portion of heavy cream for this recipe. Sometimes I do not add the cream at all. The cashew itself is pretty much enough for a creamy and rich curry.
- Cashew- one of the main ingredients of this recipe. The richness of this curry comes from cashew cream. I like to use whole or pieces of unsalted cashews. I don't recommend using salted cashew for this recipe.
Produce and Spices:
- Tomatoes- I like to use ripe red Roma tomatoes for this recipe. Roma tomatoes are less tart than vine tomatoes. Pick the softer and red ripe tomatoes. Remove the seeds so you don't have to go through sieving the tomatoes.
- Onion- a medium yellow onion would work great for this recipe.
- Ginger-Garlic Paste- I like to use my homemade ginger-garlic paste for all the Indian curries. Use freshly grated ginger and garlic or store-bought paste. I do not recommend using the bottled minced garlic to create a paste.
- Tomato Paste- traditionally tomato paste is not added to the butter paneer. I like to add a tablespoon. It adds a slight sweetness to the curry.
- Red Chili Powder- I highly recommend using Kashmiri red chili powder for Indian cooking.
- Cumin-Coriander Powder- I like to use cumin-coriander in the majority of my recipes. Authentic or Modern the hint of cumin and coriander truly elevates the taste.
- Turmeric Powder- I am using a very small amount of turmeric for this recipe.
- Dried Fenugreek(Kasuri Methi)- crush the dried fenugreek(Kasuri Methi) between your two palms before adding it into the curry. Kasuri Methi gives a rich flavor to Makhani.
- Salt- I like to use pink salt for all of my recipes. The measurement for pink salt. Adjust the salt amount according to your taste or the type of salt you are using.
How to Make Butter Paneer?
I have made Butter Paneer Masala with so many different methods. I have used fresh cashew cream, didn't use whole spices, I have used canned tomatoes and canned tomato sauces.
So basically, I have tried and tested this recipe in many different ways. I have concluded that I am an old Indian soul who likes fresh ingredients and whole spices in my food. Just a handful of fresh ingredients tingling my taste buds. I bet you'll love this recipe. My method is quite easy and tastes delicious.
- Sauté thinly sliced onion along with cashew, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, clove and, Kasuri Methi, whole black peppers in oil and butter until slightly golden and soft.
- Add chopped tomatoes and powdered spices. Cook on low medium until tomatoes are soft and oil starts to separate. Takes about 8-10 minutes.
- Add ½ cup water and blend the curry with a hand blender until smooth. Or, turn the heat off, cool down the mixture for 10 minutes then blend it in the blender until smooth.
- Add cubed paneer and simmer on low for 5 minutes or until curry thickens up.
What to Serve Paneer Masala with:
Curries are served with plain rice, Indian flatbread, naan, or millet bread in India.
Tip for Rich and Creamy Curry
- Instead of using ½ cup water, use ¼ cup cream and ¼ cup water for rich butter paneer.
More Indian Curries You'll Love
Kitchen Tools You’ll Need:
Butter Paneer Masala Recipe | Paneer Makhani
- 8 oz (200-250 grams) Paneer , cut into 1 inch cubes
- 4 ripe red Roma tomatoes , chopped
- 1 large yellow onion , thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ cup unsalted cashews , take ¾ cup for slightly thicker curry
- 1 tablespoon Ginger-Garlic paste , or 3 grated garlic & ½ inch grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi) , crushed between two palms
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste , no added sugar or preservatives, and made from sundried tomatoes
- ½ cup water
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 2 cloves
- 2 whole black peppers
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream , optional
- 1 tablespoon butter , optional
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro , optional
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet or wok on medium heat. Add thinly sliced onion, cashew, dried fenugreek(Kasuri methi), and all the listed whole spices. Sauté the onion until slightly golden and soft.
- Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, powdered spices, and stir well. Cover the skillet and cook on low until tomatoes are soft and oil starts to separate. Takes about 8-10 minutes.
- Uncover the skillet and add ½ cup water. Now blend the curry with a hand blender until smooth. If you do not have a hand blender, turn the heat off, cool down the mixture for 10 minutes before blending it in the blender.
- Now add cubed paneer and stir well. Simmer the curry on low for 5 minutes or until curry thickens up and paneer softens.
- Garnish with a dollop of butter, heavy cream, and chopped cilantro.
- Serve it warm with plain rice or Naan.