Easy Paneer Butter Masala

Rich and yet, subtle, Paneer Butter Masala is a creamy, delicately flavoured and mildly sweet dish made with tomatoes, panner, cashews, cream and all of such lovely things that’ve been caramelised, simmered and blitzed into the smoothest sauce. I make mine with whole spices for an intensely flavoured curry but we could just as easily replace a whole spice with a pinch to a quarter teaspoon of the ground variety. While spices such as green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric powder, chilli powder and garam masala are essential and the melange of spices delivers a balanced and beautifully perfumed curry , the absence of a spice or two shouldn’t discourage you. Give it a go with what is available to you and tuck in; you won’t be disappointed 🙂

Equipment:

  • Food processor or blender

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp of flavourless oil
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • Whole spices (a generous pinch of fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds, a few green cardamom pods, 1 black cardamom if available and a couple of cloves , a small piece of cinnamon and a bay leaf or two)
  • 2 medium red onions, finely sliced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 inch square piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste; I started with 1/2 tsp and added another pinch at the end
  • 25-30 grams of cashew nuts, broken or chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • A 400 gram can of chopped tomatoes; ; you can also use 4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped and deseeded
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp of paprika; you could use a blend of paprika and chilli powder as well
  • 200 -250 grams of paneer cut into 1 square inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup of frozen peas (optional)
  • 3-4 tbsp of double cream; 4 -5 tbsp if using single cream or even whole milk
  • A generous pinch of dried fenugreek leaves

Optional garnish:

  • 1 tsp of cream
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Coriander

Method:

  • Place a non stick pan in medium heat and heat up the butter until brown.
  • Add in the oil to stop the butter from burning and add sugar.
  • Melt in the pan for a minute or two and add the whole spices.
  • Once slightly golden and aromatic, add the onions and salt.
  • Cook the onions down in medium heat until soft.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and cook them through for about 2-3 minutes .
  • Add cashew nuts into the mixture and cook on low-medium heat stirring ocassionally until golden and the ingredients are caramelised.
  • Add in the turmeric and garam masala and cook for just a minute.
  • Add in the tomato and give it a thorough stir.
  • Place the lid back on and cook stirring occasionally on medium heat until most of the moisture disappears and the oil starts to separate.
  • Add the paprika powder/ chilli powder and stir until combined.
  • Take it off the heat and stir off the heat for a minute until slightly cooled.
  • Place into a blender with a cup of cool water and blend into a fine paste.
  • Pour the mixture back into the pan ensuring that you scrape the sides of the blender throughly and place the pan over medium heat.
  • Add another 1/2 cup of water if needed and simmer for a minute stirring until combined.
  • Add the pieces of paneer and peas.
  • Place the lid back on and simmer for a few minutes until peas and paneer are cooked through.
  • Pour in the cream and the fenugreek leaves and stir carefully to combine, adjust seasonings and take it off the heat.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a drizzle of cream and chilli flakes and coriander.
  • Serve with rice, naan and/ or parathas and enjoy.

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