Paneer butter masala recipe with step by step pictures, video. The popular restaurant style gravy side dish for Indian flatbreads.
Other than eating Paneer butter masala at restaurant, the recipe was first introduced to me by my friend Sangeeta. Till then I had no clue about the creamy texture that we get in restaurants. So first of all thanks to her for the recipe.
This is the recipe I follow, as I make it weekly for Aj, it is very easy for me these days. I already have posted a microwave version. But I know many of the readers google search specifically. So thought I should post this yummy recipe here.
Paneer butter masala or butter paneer is a popular Indian recipe. It is widely known through out the world as most of the Indian restaurants have this as main side dish in their menu card.
Buttery, creamy, rich side dish for flatbread with Indian cottage cheese Paneer is such a delight for taste buds. It is very easy to prepare this at home if you follow the steps.
There are numerous versions of the recipe available in the internet. But since it is widely made in Indian restaurants and households, each have it’s own touch. There is no major right or wrong as long as the base remains same.
It is made with a creamy base out of onion, tomato, cashews, spice powders. Use cream for making the gravy rich and delicious. Saute the base in butter or top it with generous butter.
Juicy, tender and soft fresh paneer blends well in this buttery gravy.
Paneer – Even though fresh homemade paneer is best in the gravy, you can also use fresh paneer available in Indian groceries.
Any fresh paneer which is not frozen and available in regular shelves of the cooler works too. This usually have an expiry of 20 days alone. Make sure to choose the fresh ones, not the one close to expiry.
Frozen paneer works too, just make sure to pick up a good quality ones. As far as I have used, Kohinoor works for me well. Frozen paneer have a variety called malai paneer, which has more fat content and stays soft. Irrespective of fresh, frozen, malai variety, I make sure to keep immersed in hot water before adding in the gravy.
Tomato – Use red ripe tomatoes for best color, taste. You can also substitute this with 2 to 3 tablespoon of store bought tomato paste or ¼ cup store bought tomato puree. Adjust the quantity according to the tart.
Cream – Tinned nestle cream or cooking cream works best. Alternately, use milk instead of water to dilute if you do not have cream.
Butter – Unsalted butter is perfect for making butter paneer as it is won’t affect the salt measurement in the recipe.
Why my paneer turns rubbery?
Do not over cook the paneer. Add to the gravy towards end and just bring to a boil after that.
Should we fry paneer before adding to gravy?
I usually do not do this for butter paneer. Prefer the un fried texture than the fried ones. But it is not a mistake to do so. If you want you can go ahead and do it.
I feel frying affects the texture of paneer to more firmer texture. But just follow my rule of soaking in hot water to keep the paneer soft.
Can we use tomato puree instead of tomato?
Store bought tomato puree is double tart than the fresh tomatoes, so you have to add very less and careful with the amount while adding.
I love how store bought tomato puree adds texture, taste and color that matches restaurant’s butter paneer.
How to grind cashews smoothly?
I used cashews while sautéing instead of adding it as paste.
It is usually hard to grind small amount of cashew paste required just for the recipe. So if you want to use cashew paste, I suggest soaking more quantity of cashews and keep it preserved in fridge or frozen, use as needed in the recipes.
To freeze the cashew paste, you can use the ice tray and let it freeze. Once frozen, you can put the cubes it in ziploc or airtight container. Use one or two cubes according to the quantity of the gravy.
Just add it while sauteeing the onion tomato base masala.
How to avoid the gravy split (curdle)?
The gravy splits or curdles when there is no binding agent in the base. So use fine cashew paste to avoid this happening.
Also the trick my friend taught me is to slowly add, mix little by little in low flame. Do not add all the cream/ milk in one go.
- You can add milk fully to make it gravy without adding any water. This way you get thicker and more creamier gravy.
- I have added garlic, ginger and cashews while sautéing.
- If you have ginger garlic paste, then you can add while you fry ground onion tomato.
- Same applies for cashew paste. You can saute along ground onion tomato paste.
Paneer butter masala keeps good for couple of days in fridge if it is left over.
Freezing – You can divide into portions and freeze paneer butter masala up to 3 months. Defrost and reheat to use it.
Some of my friends also make the base gravy over weekend and use it up in the week days. This need not be frozen but can be kept in the fridge for 5 days. You can also freeze it eventually.
Paneer butter masala recipe
- 1.5 cups Paneer cubes
- ¾ cup Onion, cubed 2 small sized
- 1 cup Tomato, cubed 2 small sized
- 4 Garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon Ginger chopped
- 2 Green chilli medium spice
- 5 Cashew nuts
- ½ cup Milk
- ¼ cup Cooking cream
- 1 teaspoon Kasoori methi
- 1.5 teaspoon Red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- Salt – As needed
- 2 teaspoon Oil Divided
- 1 tablespoon Butter Divided
- 3 tablespoon Coriander leaves
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 Cardamom
- 1 Clove
- 1 Inch Cinnamon
- To start with, heat a pan with oil, 1 teaspoon butter. Add garlic, ginger and green chillies.
- Tip in cubed onion and give it a fry. Add cashews and saute until onion turn translucent.
- Remove in a plate for cooling.
- Meanwhile, keep paneer cubes in hot water until use.
- Grind it along with cubed tomatoes to a smooth paste.
- Heat oil and temper with Cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
- Add the ground onion tomato paste and give it a stir.
- Tip in red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric, kasoori methi and mix well.
- Continue frying the masala for 4-5 minutes in medium flame or until the raw smell goes off.
- The onion tomato mixture should be thick, shiny and ooze oil. Add oil in between if needed.
- After that, pour milk little at a time in low flame and stir well to mix. Repeat again until you add all the milk.
- Adjust water (I added ¼ cup) and sprinkle required salt. Mix well.
- Once it start to bubble again, add paneer drained from water.
- Mix well and in goes the cooking cream.
- Keep the flame in low and don't let the gravy boil vigorously. Just mix in low flame for 2 minutes and switch off the flame.
- Garnish with 3 tablespoon of coriander leaves. Top it with remaining butter.
- I used kashmiri chilli powder (Mild spiced). Your gravy color depends on chilli powder and tomatoes you use majorly.
- If you add water, then the gravy may not be orange and will be more red.
- The cashews give a smooth and creamy texture, mild colored gravy and also prevents milk/ cream from curding.
- Butter can be omitted and made with oil alone, but remember this is butter paneer masala 😉
Step by step photos
1. To start with, heat a pan with oil, 1 teaspoon butter. Add garlic, ginger and green chillies.
2. Tip in cubed onion and give it a fry.
3. Add cashews and saute until onion turn translucent.
4. Remove in a plate for cooling.
5. Meanwhile, keep paneer cubes in hot water until use.
6. Place the cooled items in a blender.
6. Add cubed tomatoes (yes, raw!) on top of it.
7. Grind to a smooth paste.
8. Heat oil and temper with Cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
9. Add the ground onion tomato paste and tip in red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric, kasoori methi and mix well.
10. Continue frying the masala for 4-5 minutes in medium flame or until the raw smell goes off.
11. The onion tomato mixture should be thick, shiny and ooze oil. Add oil in between if needed.
12. After that, pour milk little at a time in low flame and stir well to mix. Repeat again until you add all the milk.
13. Adjust water (I added ¼ cup) and sprinkle required salt. Mix well.
14. Once it start to bubble again, add paneer drained from water.
15. Mix well and in goes the cooking cream.
16. Keep the flame in low and don’t let the gravy boil vigorously. Just mix in low flame for 2 minutes and switch off the flame.
17. Garnish with 3 tablespoon of coriander leaves. Top it with remaining butter.
This post is updated with new content on 23/06/2021