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Paneer Butter Masala is always one of those special dishes served in every restaurant in India. This paneer butter masala recipe is very easy and you’ll end up making it quite often than ever.
Paneer butter masala is also known as Paneer Makhani. Now, there are different views regarding this concept of calling it as paneer makhani. Many believe that these two are different dishes. Well, as far as I have understood, the difference is basically in the name and the choice of ingredients used in the recipe. They have basically the same ingredients but by changing the quantities of the ingredients and also by adding a few different ingredients here and there, the restaurants create a new dish with a new fancy name. At my home these are two same dish with lots of butter and cream and we all love to eat this. In fact, it is a very regularly made paneer dish at my home.
What is Paneer Butter Masala?
Paneer butter masala, as the name itself reveals, is a rich gravy based paneer (Indian cottage cheese) dish. Its curry has a buttery and soft texture, the makhmali texture, just as it is called. It is most commonly eaten with naan, garlic naan, lachha paratha or even with rice. As the main ingredients used in it are cream, cashew nuts and butter, this paneer dish is high on calories. But hey, you can always workout later on!! Just don’t give up on enjoying this paneer dish because of its rich gravy!!! Its taste is so amazing, I bet, you are going to love making it again and again!!
Difference between Paneer recipes
Many people believe that all the recipes of paneer have almost same taste and same ingredients. I will explain to you, a few of paneer dishes and why they are different from each other?
Paneer Butter Masala – As mentioned above, paneer butter masala has a rich and buttery gravy. It is high on whole spices and has a spicy flavour. Its gravy is reddish in color because of more tomatoes in it, than onion.
Shahi Paneer – Shahi paneer and paneer Butter Masala are the two most commonly confused paneer recipes. Shahi paneer as the name suggests, is a royal preparation. By royal, I mean the ingredients used are very rich in calories and taste off course. But then you may think, that even Paneer butter masala has a rich and creamy gravy. Yes, that’s right, but the main difference lies in the fact that in Shahi paneer, whole spices are not used so that the taste of this paneer recipe remains subtle. It is not supposed to be spicy. The gravy of this paneer recipe is also rich and dense with cashew and cream flavors. Its gravy is light yellow in colour due to less red chillies.
Kadai Paneer – This is quite a spicy variety of paneer recipes. The main thing to note here is the kadai masala, which is used in this kadai paneer recipe, is generally made fresh by roasting and coarsely grinding the whole spices. This paneer dish when eaten, has a predominant taste and texture of these spices. Also its gravy isn’t very smooth at all. It is thick but chewy. The gravy of Kadai Paneer is spicy red in color.
Paneer Malai Korma – This is essentially white gravy paneer recipe. Very different from all other varieties, it has an amazing taste and texture. Its main ingredients being onion and cashew nuts, leads to a stark white color to the gravy. Some make it pale white or creamish too, depending upon its preparation. It is subtle in taste but not sweet at all. It has a great burst of black pepper taste in it. All in all, a great paneer recipe again.
Paneer Lababdar – Paneer Lababdar is quite similar to paneer butter masala in respect to their ingredients. Both recipes have onion, tomatoes, cashews and cream, but the main difference is, that cashews and cream are in a very less quantity in paneer lababdar recipe. They are added to lend a little creamy texture to the gravy. But if you increase their quantity, you will end up making paneer butter masala instead of paneer lababdar. Another noticable difference is, that in paneer butter masala, you can very easily avoid adding onions, but in paneer lababdar, onions give a great taste and flavor and are not replaceable.
Paneer Pasanda – Paneer pasanda is a little different from all other paneer recipes. It has big size paneer pieces in its gravy which are stuffed with nuts, onion, coriander, paneer crumble and chutney. Its gravy is a point of discussion again. Many people say it is essentially a white gravy. However, you will find its gravy ranging from white, to light yellow or sometimes red too. So the gravy can be of your choice but the paneer slices in it are the main attraction in this paneer recipe.
There are many paneer recipes, other than the above recipes listed by me. The ones that I have mentioned here, are similar to paneer butter masala , and hence I thought to share with you all a little background of these recipes to further enhance your culinary knowledge. In my opinion, a recipe may have some mandatory ingredients list, but the taste essentially should be as per your palate. To add a little more green chilli and a little less cream or black pepper, is what makes it totally your recipe, which your family enjoys sitting together, with hearty laughs resonating in your home. Not to forget the benefit of hygienic and healthy food. Well, talk about the perks of homecooking!!! 😊👍
Some other interesting recipes;
Important tips for Paneer Butter Masala
- Paneer – Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) used in this dish has to be soft and preferably freshly made but firm enough not to crumble in the gravy. This fact that the paneer is fresh and soft yet firm, enhances the buttery taste in the dish.
- Butter – It is a main ingredient in this dish, but you can always choose to skip it, if you are too health conscious. Use olive oil or even regular cooking oil in place of butter. And yes, it will affect the taste of the final dish.
- Cream – Again, it is important to add cream in the dish. I personally feel , this should not be skipped, so no options for this ingredient. You can use homemade fresh cream (malai) in place of cream. Just beat it to a smooth consistency before adding it.
- Cashew nuts – These too are important. Do not skip these. You can choose to add them less in quantity, but do add and make the best paneer butter masala.
- Onion – You can avoid onions, if you wish to. Yes, skip them totally, if you want.
- Tomatoes – They are important as it is a rich, red coloured, little spicy and sour gravy. I like to add them in double quantity than onions. You can add even more if you like your dish to be more tangy.
Recipe video of Paneer Butter Masala
Paneer butter masala or paneer makhani, is best served with Indian breads. Below I have listed a few breads that you can enjoy with this paneer recipe.
- Butter Naan
- Garlic Butter Naan
- Chur-chur Naan
- Lachha Paratha
- Tawa Roti
- Pudina paratha
- Masala Paratha
- Oil – 1 tbsp + 1.5 tbsp
- Butter – 3 tbsp (50 gm)
- Jeera (cumin seeds) – 1 tsp
- Haldi (turmeric powder) – 1 tsp
- Red chillies powder – 1 tsp
- Dhania powder (coriander powder) – 1 tsp
- Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) – 1 tbsp
- Onion – 2 medium, diced
- Tomatoes – 3 big, diced
- Garlic – 4-5
- Ginger – 1 inch piece
- Bay leaf – 2
- Cinnamon – 2 small sticks
- Green cardamom (choti elaichi) – 4-5
- whole Red chillies – 1 (as per choice)
- Paneer (cottage cheese) – 300 gm
- Cream – 1/3 cup
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan.
2. Add 1 tbsp Jeera (cumin seeds) and let it crackle. Then add diced onions. Saute for a min.
3. Add 1/2 tsp salt, garlic and ginger pieces and saute again for a min.
4. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, cinnamon, green cardamom and whole red chilli. Saute on high flame for 2-3 min.
5. Add a cup of water and let it all come to boil.
6. Now, cover and cook this on low flame for 12-15 min or until the tomatoes are completely soft.
7. After about 15 min of cooking, add a handful of lightly roasted cashews. Cover the pan and simmer again for 5 min.
8. Now, cool this mixture a bit, take out the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks and then blend it nicely. Use water if required but try to use it in less quantity.
9. Strain this puree and get a smooth mix.
10. Now, heat 1.5 tbsp oil and 50 gm butter in the pan. Add the puree.
11. Add the spices; haldi, red chilli powder, dhania powder and salt. Mix.
12. Cook the gravy until it thickens a bit. Check for the consistency that you want for the paneer butter masala. Then add 1/3 cup of cream. Mix.
13. Add 1 tbsp of kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves). Mix nicely and add Paneer cubes.
14. Cook for another 2-3 min on low flame.
15. Serve hot with Naan or bread of your choice.
A personal Note
I enjoy sharing my cooking experiences with you all. Sometimes, recipes that I share here, have taken a lot of failed attempts to get to this perfect point. It would be really nice of you to take out some time and share with me your thoughts on this recipe blog or any other recipe from my blog. Also I would be so glad to help you out, in case you have any problems regarding the recipes. You can comment, ask any query or even suggest or request for other recipes, just below this blog.