Paneer Makhani or Butter Paneer

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Paneer Makhani

Paneer Makhani or Butter Paneer (पनीर मक्ख़नी ) is yet another well known north Indian classic. Cubes of succulent home made cheese are simmered in a creamy, tomato sauce. Anyone who is familiar with Indian cuisine, would not have missed this rich flavorful dish. How to make Paneer Butter Masala – Cottage cheese chunks cooked in a rich and creamy masala base.

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)

  1. 14 oz paneer, (homemade or store bought)cubed
  2. 2 tablespoons thick drained plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
  3. 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder * /paprika/cayenne
  4. salt
  5. 2 teaspoon Kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
  6. 1 tablespoon oil

Note: If you are using store bought paneer, I would advise you to briefly soak them in salted hot water. The store bought paneer is usually very stiff and tight. To do the above, heat 1.5 cups of water for about 2.5 minutes in the microwave/stove top. The water should be boiling hot. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water and plunge the paneer cubes. Drain after a couple of minutes. You will see the cheese softened and it is ready to use.

Kashmiri Red Chili Powder is a red pepper powder which is rich in color, but low in heat, similar to the commonly used Paprika.

For the Sauce:

  1. 2 cups Makhani Sauce (without the cream added to the sauce)
  2. 2.5 cups water
  3. 1.5 teaspoon oil
  4. 1 small onion, cut into chunks
  5. 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  6. 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
  7. 1 tablespoon almond or cashew paste (soak the nuts and grind them to a paste)
  8. 2 teaspoon sugar
  9. 1 tablespoon Kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves, crushed

Makhani Sauce

  • Take 2 cup chopped tomatoes, 2 cloves, 4-5 cashewnuts, and blend into fine paste with help of little water.

  • In a pan add butter and crackle jeera than add ginger, garlic paste stir for few seconds than add pureed onion after few seconds add the pureed tomato paste stir and add garam masala and makhani sauce is ready to be used in this recipe.

  • Note: If you want a very smooth and creamy sauce, feel free to blend the above mentioned Makhani sauce in a blender to blend it all the spices and the other textures to make it smooth than strain it in a strainer. It is optional. You might mostly need to do this if you are using fresh tomatoes for the sauce as there might be some pulp. 

 

Butter Paneer Preparation:

Whisk yogurt, salt chili powder,  Kasuri methi and oil in a large nonreactive bowl. Add paneer cubes to the bowl and toss for the marinade to coat the paneer. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. On an oven proof tray, place aluminum foil. Place the paneer cubes with the marinade clinging to them in a single layer on the foil. Bake for 7 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. Then broil the paneer for 3 minutes; turn them over and broil for another couple of minutes. Set aside.

Heat 1.5 teaspoon oil in a pan. Saute the onion and pepper at high heat for about 2 minutes. The vegetables should be still crisp. Do not overcook. Set aside.

In a deep pan, add the Makhani Sauce; add 1 cup of warm water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the sugar, Kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves, chopped onion and bell pepper. Partially cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes at moderate heat.

Uncover, add the paneer cubes,  and the almond or cashew paste and stir gently for the spice mix to coat the paneer. Add 1.5 cups of warm water, cover partially and simmer for 15 more minutes over moderate overheat.

Reduce the heat and allow the temperature of the pan to come down. Add the cream and gently stir it in the pan. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

The Paneer Makhani is ready to serve.

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