After hundreds of requests, it is time I share with you my recipe for Paneer Makhani, AKA Butter Paneer! First off, let’s talk about the Paneer. Paneer is an Indian cheese made by adding acid into boiling milk to separate the curds from the whey. I have a great recipe for it that you can find by clicking here. What is incredible about Paneer is that it doesn’t melt. This allows you to fry it to get crispy edges while maintaining the shape of the cheese.
Paneer is perfect for thick gravy, like a traditional Makhani, which consists of a buttery tomato and onion based sauce. It is jam-packed with layers of spices for a beautiful melody of flavors when scooping it up with some garlic naan or roti and take a bite. Though it may be intimidating with all the ingredients, the final dish is totally worth the effort!
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil plus more for frying paneer
- 2 cardamom pods
- 15 cashews
- 3 large onions chopped
- 4 plum tomatoes chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste (grate garlic with a Microplane)
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste grate ginger with a Microplane
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- Red food coloring Optional
- 1 recipe Paneer Cheese
- Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the cardamom pods and cashews, fry for 1-2 minutes until cardamom becomes aromatic, and cashews become slightly golden brown. Add in the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Add in the tomatoes, salt, sugar, garam masala, cumin powder, chili powder, and coriander then cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Transfer the contents of the pot into a blender along with 1 cup of water. Blend for at least 2-3 minutes until silky smooth. Once blended, set aside.
- In the same pot, melt the butter then add in the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and cumin seeds. Fry for about 45 seconds until fragrant. Add in the ginger paste, garlic paste, chili powder, and turmeric, then cook for another minute until slightly brown on the edges. Pour the blended mixture back into the pot, followed by the heavy cream. If a deeper orange color is desired (optional), add in a few drops of red food coloring. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan and fry the paneer cheese cubes until golden brown on all the sides. Once fried, add the paneer to the gravy and stir to combine.
- Serve hot along with rice and/or Indian bread like Garlic Naan or Roti.