Shahi Paneer (Butter Paneer Masala)

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Shahi Paneer (Butter Paneer Masala)

I have been craving a substantial dinner lately despite the hot and humid weather we are currently experiencing in Ontario. Having a taste for something spicy and Indian, I could resist the block of paneer cheese in the refrigerator no longer and transformed it into one of my favorite classic paneer dishes, paneer butter masala or "shahi paneer". Punjabi in origin, tender lightly fried paneer cheese cubes are smothered in a rich spicy tomato, butter and cream gravy. A staple on the menu at most Indian restaurants, along with mattar paneer, this is very easy to prepare at home.

Serve with lightly buttered basmati rice or an Indian flatbread for a taste of India.

Shahi Paneer (Butter Paneer Masala)Shahi Paneer (Butter Paneer Masala)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on July 8, 2008

Simple but rich and delicious curry of fried tender paneer cheese pieces simmered in a spiced tomato, butter and cream sauce

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  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped or grated
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped or crushed
  • 6 to 8 green or red chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 14 oz (400 g) paneer cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried grated unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • pinch of asafoetida (optional)
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped and puréed (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Using a mortar and pestle or a small food processor, make a paste with the ginger, garlic and chilies.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee, butter or oil in a large non-stick frying pan. When hot, add the paneer cheese cubes and fry, turning often, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel, and set aside.

  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee, butter or oil to the frying pan. Add the onion and stir for 5 minutes or until softened and just beginning to brown around the edges. Now add the ginger, garlic and chili paste and continue to stir for another 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Now add the coconut, fenugreek leaves, chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin and turmeric as well as the asafetida and cayenne if using. Stir once, then pour in the puréed tomatoes. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

  • Add the fried paneer cheese cubes to the pan, along with the garam masala. Simmer for 10 minutes, adding a little water depending on how thick you want the curry to be. Add the butter, remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream and salt. Taste for seasoning, then cover and let stand for a few minutes to allow the flavours to blend.

  • Serve hot, garnished with fresh chopped cilantro.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Shahi Paneer (Butter Paneer Masala)


Laavanya said...

A creamy classic - sure to please our taste buds.. Nice! :)

Anonymous said...

That definitely looks delectably creamy! Sorry to hear that your stomach was queasy--glad you're better now. :)

Meeta K. Wolff said...

I love it! My favorite type of paneer dish and you make it so well!

Laura Paterson said...

lol - when I first saw your post pop up - I thought it said peanut butter masala!

Glad you're feeling better now :)

Thistlemoon said...

That looks just delicious, Lisa!

Ivy said...

Lovely ingredients, I am drooling. Lisa I am in love with Indian cuisine. As I cannot find paneer in Greece what other cheese can I use?

Anonymous said...

I love this dish and I'm really happy you've posted about it. I did have a question... Is there anything that can be substitute for fenugreek leaves?

Astra Libris said...

Heavenly! I'm floating away on a cloud of taste bud delight, just imagining how luscious this dish is...

I'm so glad to hear your stomach is feeling better!

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Ivy;

There really is no substitution for paneer, but you could try firm ricotta or cottage cheese. Though I have not made paneer myself, it's easy to do. There are plenty of recipes on the internet with pictures to go along with the instructions too. I highly recommend you give it a try. You will love it I am sure.

Hello Cookinpanda;

You could substitute some dry fenugreek I suppose. The dried leaves are not essential to the recipe. You could also throw in come dry curry leaves instead.

Johanna GGG said...

food always tastes so good after you have been off it - I think of Indian food as good for hot weather if only because you sweat so much after all those chillis (how many did you say!!!)

test it comm said...

Paneer butter masala sounds really good. I am going to have to get around to making some paneer.

Easy Indian Recipes said...

Hi! Your shahi paneer recipe was nominated as one of the "Best Shahi Paneer Recipes on the Net". To vote for it, please visit - your recipe is positioned at #102 (random order).