Butter Paneer Masala

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Butter Paneer Masala

Fans of paneer cheese are sure to love this butter paneer masala. A vegetarian version of the classic butter chicken, this dish of tender pieces of fried paneer cheese simmered in a rich, thick, creamy and buttery spiced tomato, onion and cashew gravy is a tremendously popular item in Indian restaurants. If I don't order matar paneer — my absolute favorite — my next choice is always a paneer masala.

Butter Paneer MasalaButter Paneer Masala
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on November 28, 2007

A vegetarian version of the classic butter chicken with tender pieces of fried paneer cheese simmered in a thick, creamy and buttery spiced tomato and onion gravy — an amazing centerpiece for a beautiful Indian meal

Preparation: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

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  • 3 tablespoons raw cashews
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
Other ingredients:
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 lb (225 g or 1 1/2 cups) paneer cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry fenugreek (methi) leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • handful of fresh parsley or coriander, chopped
  • Soak the cashews in water for 30 minutes. Drain and process in a food processor or mortar and pestle with a few tablespoons of water to get a paste-like consistency. Set aside.

  • Meanwhile, make a paste of the garlic and ginger in a mortar and pestle.

  • Prepare the onions and tomatoes. Bring two medium saucepans of salted water to a boil and fill two bowls with cold water. Peel the onions and cut a cross through the bottoms. Blanch the onions in 1 saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes, then immediately remove the onions and place in a bowl of cold water. At the same time, cut a cross through the bottoms of the tomatoes, blanch in the other saucepan of boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, and immediately remove and place in the other bowl of cold water. Once the onions and tomatoes are cooled, drain and purée separately in a food processor or blender to make an onion paste and a tomato purée.

  • Once the pastes are made, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. When hot, add the paneer cubes and cook, flipping often, until the paneer is lightly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

  • Add 2 more tablespoons of the butter to the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. When hot, add the onion paste and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes or until browned. Add the garlic and ginger paste to the pan and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes. Next add the chili powder, stir, and then add the cashew paste and stir to combine. Stir in the tomato purée, fenugreek leaves, ground coriander, garam masala, salt, turmeric, ground cumin and cayenne, and let simmer for 5 minutes.

  • Add the paneer and simmer for another 5 minutes. Depending on your desired consistency, a small quantity of water can be added at this point. Simmer for another 10 minutes or longer to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter and cream.

  • Let the curry stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Garnish each serving with fresh chopped parsley or coriander and serve with rice or any Indian flat bread.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Butter Paneer Masala


Anonymous said...

I made paneer for the first time just recently. IT was wonderful, and to think I had never been brave enough to do it before. Now that I can make it, your recipe is a must. Thanks for posting it.

TBC said...

Wow! that looks great, Lisa. This is something I would order while eating out. Never tried making it at home though.

Lisa Turner said...


It's remarkably easy to make and a very yummy dish. I highly recommend you give this recipe a try.