Paneer Butter Masala/Paneer Makhani is a very rich and creamy dish which is the most popular among paneer dishes. In restaurant made PBM, you can see the oozing butter and a nice reddish colour as they add food colour. When I made it at home, I used very little butter and substituted the rest with oil to make it a little healthy. If you do not mind the use of butter, you may need about 3-4 tbsp butter for the authentic paneer makhani. Instead of heavy cream, I have used low fat single cream which is again a healthier option.
The recipe looks lengthy, but that's just because I have explained it in detail. You can prepare this in 30 mins.
Paneer cubes - 250 gms
Tomato - 2, to make puree (or use readymade tomato puree)
Cashew nuts - 6 to 8
Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Green cardamom - 2
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - a small piece
Onions - 2, chopped
Chopped ginger - 1 tsp
Chopped garlic - 1 tsp
Chilly powder - 1.5 to 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp or more (Check cooking tips for the recipe)
Tomato ketchup - 1 tbsp
Low fat single cream - 100 ml (optional)
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - to garnish
Oil - 2 tbsp
Butter - 1 tbsp
1. Soak the paneer cubes in hot water for 10 minutes. This is required for store bought paneer which will be a little hard after sitting in the fridge for days. Drain on to a kitchen towel and pat dry.
2. Boil the tomatoes in water for 5 minutes. Peel off the skin and remove the seeds and grind to a smooth paste. Puree is ready, keep aside.
3. Soak the cashew nuts in 1/4 cup of hot water for 10-15 mins.
We are now ready to turn on the stove :-)
4. Heat oil in a pan and saute the paneer cubes till they start getting light brown. Do not deep fry. Drain on to kitchen tissue and keep aside.
5. Heat another pan and pour the same oil used for frying paneer. Just add half of it and reserve the other half for step 8. Add cumin, cardamom,cloves and cinnamon and saute for a minute
6. Add onions, ginger and garlic and saute till onions start turning light brown. Add soaked cashews along with the water and boil for about 2-3 minutes.
7. Switch off the stove and let this cool. Grind to a smooth paste.
8. Heat the remaining oil and butter in a pan and saute the onion paste for a few minutes. Add tomato puree and saute till oil starts appearing.
9. Add salt, chilly powder, coriander powder and kasuri methi and combine well. Add tomato ketchp and some hot water to get the desired consistency and bring to a boil.
10. Add paneer cubes and garam masala and cook for 4-5 mins. Add cream and sugar and combine well. After adding the cream, the colour of the gravy becomes much lighter. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve hot with roti, naan, paratha or even rice. You may add a small blob of butter at the time of serving.
Recipe source: My friend Kiran, who is a Punjabi.