Methi paneer is a delicious curry featuring Indian cottage cheese, fenugreek leaves, spices, onions and tomatoes. This simple recipe is great on flavors and is easy to make for a weeknight dinner. Serve this methi paneer with basmati rice, flavoured rice varieties like jeera rice, ghee rice or with plain parathas, naan or roti. In this post I share the stovetop method to make this healthy gluten-free dish.
About methi paneer
Methi paneer is an Indian dish where paneer is cooked in a flavorful curry consisting of fenugreek leaves. Methi is an Indian word for “fenugreek” and paneer is “Indian cottage cheese”. Fenugreek leaves are rich in iron, folate and many antioxidants and paneer is rich in calcium and protein.
So methi paneer is nutrient dense and is great to include in your weekly menu to boost your intake of natural protein and iron.
There are many different ways to make this dish. Most paneer curries are heavy and rich but this recipe makes a simple and lighter dish as it does not use any cream, yogurt, seeds or nuts. The curry base is just made with onions, tomatoes and various spices which is later pureed to get a smooth and delicious curry.
The sweet flavor of sautéed onions and tang from the tomatoes compliment the dish beautifully. The unique flavors of sautéed methi leaves is simply pleasing and delicious.
If you prefer a creamy curry simply add about 12 to 14 cashew nuts or blanched almonds or 2 tbsps of white poppy seed paste to the onion and tomatoes while you puree them. You can also add 3 to 4 tbsps of heavy cream once you finish the dish.
Methi leaves are available all-round the year but they are in abundance during the winters. These leaves are said to warm up the body so they are used in a lot of recipes during the colder days. We add them to lentils, parathas, stir fry dishes, chutney, pulao and this methi paneer is just another simple way to enjoy fresh leafy greens.
Substitutes & tips
- If you are not accessible to methi leaves you can simply make the dish with spinach or even with 3 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves also known as kasuri methi. Crush the leaves in your palm and add them directly to the simmering gravy.
- You can also make this dish ahead (without adding paneer), cool and refrigerate or freeze it. Reheat and add paneer to it when you intend to serve.
- For a vegan version replace paneer with tofu.
- I also add some green peas to this dish as my kids love it that way. They add sweet flavors to your methi paneer
How to make methi paneer (stepwise photos)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Fry 1 teaspoon chopped ginger and 1 teaspoon garlic (or half teaspoon paste of each ginger and garlic) till they begin to smell good.
2. Fry 1 cup diced onions until they turn lightly golden.
3. Add ¾ to 1 cup finely chopped ripe tomatoes and sprinkle half teaspoon salt. Fry until they turn mushy and completely blend well with onions.
4. Add ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chilli powder and ¾ teaspoon garam masala. I didn’t use cashews.
5. Stir and fry for about 2 minutes. Set this aside to cool. If you want you can add 12 to 14 cashews or blanched almonds now.
6. Pluck and wash 1 cup methi leaves in large pot filled with water. Rinse few more times to clean thoroughly. Avoid using the stalks as they taste bitter. Chop them fine.
7. Add to the hot pan and fry for 3 to 4 minutes until completely wilted and cooked. I did not use extra oil at this stage. If you want you may add 1 teaspoon oil for frying.
8. Add 200 to 250 grams cubed paneer and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. Do not over cook. Turn off the stove.
9. Add the cooled onion tomato mixture to a blender jar along with half cup water and blend till smooth.
Make methi paneer
10. Set aside the methi paneer aside. Add 1 tbsp oil to the same pan. Add half teaspoon cumin and 2 green cardamom.
11. When they begin to crackle, pour the blended puree to the pan. Add more water as needed to bring it to a gravy consistency. Cover and cook until the gravy thickens and you see specks of oil on top.
12. Add the paneer and mix. Adjust spice and salt as needed now.
13. Turn off the heat. Prevent over cooking to keep the paneer soft. Add in cream if you wish.
Transfer methi paneer to a serving bowl.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 tablespoons oil (divided 1 + 1 tbsp)
- 1 teaspoon ginger chopped or ½ tsp ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic chopped or ½ tsp garlic paste
- 1 cup onions cubed
- ¾ cup tomatoes , chopped, (do not choose very sour tomatoes)
- ½ to ¾ tablespoon salt (adjust to taste)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala (adjust as needed)
- 1 cup fenugreek leaves (heaped cup methi leaves or ¾ cup chopped)
- 200 to 250 grams paneer
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds / jeera
- 2 green cardamoms / elaichi (optional)
- 12 to 14 Cashews or blanched almonds
- Pluck methi leaves and soak them in a large utensil filled with water. Repeat rinsing them in fresh water and drain off and set aside.
- Add 1 tbsp oil to a hot pan. Fry ginger garlic till they smell good. Add onions and fry till lightly golden.
- Add tomatoes and sprinkle salt. Fry till the tomatoes turn mushy.
- Add red chili powder and garam masala.
- Fry for 2 to 3 minutes till the masala smells good.
- Switch off the stove. If using cashews add them now. Cool this and blend with ½ cup water to a smooth puree.
- In the same pan, saute methi leaves for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add paneer and saute for another 2 minutes. Set this aside.
- Add 1 tbsp oil to the same pan, add cumin and cardamom. When they sizzle, add the onion tomato puree. Add more water as needed to bring it to a gravy consistency.
- Bring it a boil and allow to cook well until the gravy thickens. you will see traces of oil on the gravy.
- Add the methi paneer that was set aside.
- Do not over cook to avoid rubbery or hard paneer. If you want you can stir in 3 to 4 tbsps heavy cream.
- Transfer methi paneer to a serving bowl and serve with rice, roti or paratha.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes