One of the most popular dishes among the fascinating and dazzling variety that north Indian cuisine offers is a preparation called “Paneer Butter Masala”. This dish, along with its non-vegetarian sibling, Chicken Butter Masala is hugely popular not just in India but also in Europe and America. In fact, some food writers claim that it is the second most popular foreign dish in the United Kingdom!
Many old-timers in the food and restaurant business say that Paneer Butter Masala in its current form was created by the chefs of the famous Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi, sometime in the fifties. However, food historians point out that the dish has its origins in Persian culinary traditions; in fact, the use of Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) as an ingredient has its roots in ancient Persian recipes. It is, therefore, possible that the present avatar of Paneer Butter Masala is an “Indianized” version of the ancient Persian recipe.
Regardless of its origins, one thing is certain: this delightful preparation of Indian cottage cheese in a rich and creamy tomato sauce is a perennial favourite among foodies and gourmets alike. So that’s what we will be making today – the famous Indian Paneer Butter Masala.
The ingredients that you will require are listed below.
Indian Cottage Cheese (Paneer): 250 grams
Tomatoes: 300 grams
Cashew Nuts: 20
Ginger (Adrak): 1 one-inch piece
Garlic (Lasun): 6 cloves
Mustard Oil: 2 tablespoons
Butter: 2 tablespoons
Green Chillies: 2
Dry Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi): 1 teaspoon
Cream: 3 tablespoons
Sugar: 1 teaspoon
Bay Leaf (Tej Patta): 1
Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon
Garam Masala: 1 teaspoon
Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 2 tablespoons
Salt: to taste
The quantities mentioned above are for preparing four servings. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings that you require.
For the butter, you can use either white or yellow butter; it can either be salted or unsalted. However, if you use salted butter, you may need to adjust the amount of salt that you add to the dish while cooking.
Cut the Paneer into small cubes.
Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and add to a blender. Blend into a smooth tomato puree. Transfer the puree to a bowl and keep aside.
Take hot water in a bowl. Add the cashew nuts and let them soak in the hot water for around 30 minutes. Then drain the water and place the cashew nuts in the blender. Add three tablespoons of water and blend the cashew nuts into a smooth paste. Keep aside.
Peel, wash and finely chop the ginger. Peel and wash the garlic cloves. Use a mortar and pestle to make a ginger-garlic paste.
Slit the green chillies lengthwise.
Coarsely chop the coriander leaves.
Let’s begin by making the tomato gravy for this dish.
Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a High flame. Soon the oil will reach its smoking point. Streams of aromatic white smoke will start rising from the surface of the hot oil. When this happens, reduce the flame to Medium and you are all set to start your cooking.
Add the bay leaf and sauté for a few seconds. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and continue to sauté for half a minute or so.
Next, add the tomato puree and stir to mix well. Cook for around five minutes, stirring the contents of the pan at regular intervals.
Now add the Kashmiri red chilli powder and continue to stir. The tomato paste will gradually thicken and form a mass.
Next, reduce the heat to Low and add the cashew paste. Cook for around three minutes, stirring the contents of the pan continuously.
Now add around 300 millilitres of water and let the mixture simmer till it comes to a boil. Let it boil for a couple of minutes.
Add the green chillies, sugar and salt to taste. Stir to mix well, and then let the contents simmer till the curry begins to thicken.
Now add the Paneer pieces and continue to stir slowly. Next, use your hands to crumble the dry fenugreek leaves into flakes and add them to the pan.
Add the garam masala and the cream (keeping aside a teaspoon of cream for the topping). Gently stir to mix the contents and then turn the flame off.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a serving dish. Melt the butter and drizzle it over the top of the dish. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Add a swirl of cream as a decorative topping.
Your traditional north Indian Paneer Butter Masala is now ready. Serve it hot. This is usually eaten with Naan, Paratha or Roti. Since it is a gravy dish, it can also be enjoyed with Pulao or even plain rice.
You can find more recipes at : https://www.purioilmills.com/recipes-in-english/