Paneer butter masala recipe – Learn how to make the best restaurant style paneer butter masala at home. Paneer butter masala is one of the most popular vegetarian dishes from Indian cuisine. Isn’t it fun to recreate restaurant style dishes at home? I found this best paneer butter masala recipe years ago in one of the cookbooks in a library. I tried it and then made this for years and my entire family got hooked to this dish.
I love simple recipes and easy cooking that calls fewer ingredients and fewer steps to follow. This restaurant style paneer butter masala recipe is a winner, roughly adapted from Chef Sanjeev kapoor’s cookbook. Over the years i have simplified it for ease of cooking.
Paneer butter masala also known as butter paneer is a restaurant style rich, creamy and delicious paneer dish prepared using butter. It is one of the most popular dishes in Indian restaurants similar to kadai paneer, palak paneer, matar paneer and malai kofta.
No, Just like Chicken butter masala and Chicken makhani (Butter chicken) are different & not the same, even paneer butter masala and paneer makhani are different. Though both are cooked in butter with similar ingredients they are not the same. But some restaurants use the terms interchangeably.
Paneer butter masala is a restaurant derived dish and there is no one particular way it is made across India. Each restaurant follows their own method & a set of ingredients. Example – onions, poppy seeds, melon seeds, cream etc. That’s why no 2 restaurants serve the same tasting paneer butter masala.
Paneer makhani on the other hand is a dish made with specific ingredients tomatoes, cashews and cream. It does not make use of ingredients like onions, poppy seeds or melon seeds. You can check the recipe of Paneer makhani here.
Can I make paneer butter masala without onion & garlic?
This paneer butter masala recipe uses onion, that’s how it is different from the paneer makhani which is usually made without onions. You can also make this paneer butter masala without onion and garlic, just skip them and follow the recipe.
The only thing you would miss is the amount of gravy. Yes recipes that don’t use onions yield lesser gravy. To get the right color without using food colors, choose red ripe tomatoes and good kashmiri red chili powder.
This paneer butter masala recipe needs blanching or sauteing the onions and tomatoes in oil first and then blending which gives a unique flavor to the dish. This also gives a delicious taste than the one made using raw onion paste or tomato puree.
What is paneer butter masala served with?
Restaurant style paneer butter masala recipe
Paneer butter masala
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
Ingredients for paneer butter masala
- 200 to 250 grams paneer (2 heaped cups)
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1 cup onions cubed, 3 medium (optional)
- 1½ cups tomatoes finely chopped (3 large)
- salt as needed
- 10 to 12 cashew nuts
- 1½ tbsp Butter
- ¾ tsp sugar (optional)
- 1½ tsp ginger garlic paste (or ¾ tsp ginger paste)
- ½ tsp kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves)
- 3 tbsp cream (or 6 to 8 cashews more)
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves for garnish
Spices for paneer butter masala
- 1 bay leaf or tej patta
- 1 cinnamon or dalchini (optional)
- 3 green cardamom or elaichi (optional)
- 2 to 3 cloves or laung (optional)
- ¾ to 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder or daniya powder (optional)
- ½ to ¾ tsp red chilli powder kashmiri (adjust for best color)
Preparation for paneer butter masala
- Fry onions in oil till transparent.
- Add tomatoes & salt. Fry for 3 minutes. Cook covered till the mixture turns soft & mushy.
- Put in garam masala, coriander powder, cashews, red chili powder & sugar (optional).
- Fry till it leaves the sides of the pan. Turn off the stove.
- When it cools, blend with 1 cup water in a blender to very smooth.
How to make paneer butter masala
- Heat butter in the same pan.
- Fry cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms & bay leaf for 1 to 2 minutes. Saute ginger garlic paste till the raw smell goes away.
- Pour the blended puree, then add red chili powder. If needed pour ¼ to ½ cup of water.
- Cook until the gravy thickens & traces of butter or oil is seen on top. Let the gravy reach the desired consistency.
- Add paneer & kasuri methi . Mix & cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream if desired.
- Transfer paneer butter masala to a serving bowl. Garnish with cream & coriander leaves.
Video of paneer butter masala recipe
Preparation for paneer butter masala
1. You can lightly fry paneer in oil or butter and set aside. I prefer not to so I skipped.
2. You can either blanch the onions and tomatoes or will have to saute them. Sometimes onion paste lends a bitter taste. So blanching or sauteing is very much needed. I go ahead sauteing as it gives a nice flavor. Add 1½ tsp oil to a hot pan. Saute 1 cup cubed onions on a medium flame until they turn lightly pink in color. This takes just 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Transfer 1½ cups finely chopped tomatoes and salt. Again fry for 2 to 3 minutes, cover and cook till mushy.
4. Add ½ to ¾ tsp red chili powder, ¾ to 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp coriander powder (optional), 10 to 12 cashews and sugar if using.
5. Fry till the mix begins to leave the sides of the pan. You will begin to get a nice aroma of the mix. Off the stove.
Onion tomato base for paneer butter masala
6. Cool it and add it to a blender along with 1 cup of water and blend to smooth. To speed up the process, I added ice cold water to the jar first and then transferred the mix.
7. Blend to a very smooth paste, adding little more water if needed. If the mixture is not very smooth and silky, I suggest use a filter to strain the mixture. Pass the puree through a colander or sieve and collect it to a bowl.
How to make paneer butter masala recipe
8. Heat the pan on a low flame with 1 ½ tbsp. butter.
9. Add 3 cardamoms, 1 bay leaf, 1 small cinnamon stick and 3 cloves. You can also skip the spices but they add a good aroma. Fry till they are lightly roasted just for a minute.
10. Add 1½ tsp ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell goes off. If the raw smell of ginger garlic doesn’t go away or it gets burnt the entire dish will spoil. So take care to fry this on a low to medium flame until the raw smell goes off.
11. Next add the pureed onion tomato mix, little more red chili powder. You can skip the chili powder since it is used only for color. If you are not using onion in this recipe, then also you can skip using red chili powder now.
12. If needed pour ¼ to ½ cup water to bring it to the desired consistency.
13. Cover and cook on a medium flame until the gravy turns thick.
14. When the gravy is done you will see traces of fats over the gravy. This is the color you may get. Open the lid and cook until the gravy turns thicker.
15. Make sure the gravy reaches the desired consistency then add paneer and kasuri methi.
16. Stir well. Cover and cook just for 1 to 2 minutes. Cooking for longer can make the paneer harder. Add 2 to 3 tbsp. cream and stir.
You can add 1 tbsp cream, also finely chopped coriander leaves or ginger julienne for garnish.
Serve paneer butter masala with Jeera rice, chapathi, roti, naan or evenw ith plain basmathi rice.