The Irresistible Butter Paneer Masala Curry: A Step-by-Step Guide with Tips and Tricks
If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of butter paneer masala curry. It’s a rich, creamy dish that’s typically made with paneer (a type of Indian cheese), tomato sauce, and a blend of aromatic spices. Butter paneer masala curry is a popular dish in Indian restaurants around the world, and it’s also a favorite among home cooks who love to experiment with different flavor combinations.
Butter paneer masala curry also known as paneer makhani masala has a rich and creamy texture with a mild heat and a complex blend of flavors. The tomato-based sauce is slightly sweet with a tangy acidity that is balanced by the richness of the cream and the nutty flavor of the paneer. The spices used, such as cumin, coriander, and garam masala, add a warm and aromatic depth to the dish without overpowering the other ingredients. Overall, the taste of butter paneer masala is a satisfying and comforting combination of creamy, tangy, and spicy flavors that make it a popular choice for Indian food enthusiasts.
What is Paneer?
Paneer is a type of fresh cheese that is commonly used in Indian cuisine. It is made by curdling milk with an acidic agent such as lemon juice or vinegar, which causes the milk proteins to coagulate and form curds. The curds are then strained and pressed to remove the excess liquid, resulting in a firm, crumbly cheese with a mild, slightly tangy flavor. Paneer is a popular ingredient in dishes such as palak paneer, paneer lababdar, paneer handi and paneer tikka, and it can also be used in salads and sandwiches for a protein-packed vegetarian option. It is widely available in Indian grocery stores and some specialty supermarkets, and it can also be made at home with just a few ingredients and some basic kitchen equipment. You can also make it in home. See this recipe to make it in home. Homemade Paneer
Ingredients needed to make Butter Paneer Masala Curry
Following ingredients are needed to make this paneer makhani masala curry:
- Paneer: Paneer is the star of the dish, and it’s a type of Indian cheese that’s similar in texture to tofu. The paneer is cubed and then added to the tomato-based sauce, where it soaks up all the delicious flavors.
- Oil or Ghee: The oil or ghee is used to cook the paneer and sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger. Ghee is a type of clarified butter that’s commonly used in Indian cooking, and it adds a rich, nutty flavor to the dish.
- Onion, Garlic, and Ginger: These three aromatics form the base of the sauce and add a depth of flavor to the dish. The onion is finely diced and sautéed until it’s translucent, while the garlic and ginger are minced and added to the pan for a minute or two to release their aromas.
- Tomatoes: The tomatoes are diced and added to the pan to form the base of the sauce. They add a sweet, tangy flavor and help to balance out the richness of the cream and paneer.
- Spices: The spices used in butter paneer masala are what give the dish its signature flavor. Cumin powder and coriander powder add warmth and depth, while garam masala adds complexity and a hint of sweetness. Turmeric adds a golden color to the dish, while chili powder adds a bit of heat. The amount of chili powder used can be adjusted to taste.
- Heavy Cream or Yogurt: The cream or yogurt is added to the sauce to give it a rich, creamy texture. Heavy cream is commonly used in restaurants, while yogurt is a healthier option that still adds creaminess and tanginess to the dish.
- Salt: Salt is added to taste and helps to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Fresh Coriander: Fresh coriander is optional, but it adds a bright, herbaceous flavor to the dish and makes for a lovely garnish.
- Butter: It is an important ingredient in butter paneer masala and is used to give the dish its rich and creamy texture. It is typically added to the sauce towards the end of the cooking process and melted into the tomato-based sauce to create a luscious and smooth consistency.
How to make Butter Paneer Masala Curry
To make this delicious makhani paneer masala heat up two tablespoons of oil or ghee in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cubed paneer and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until the paneer is golden brown on all sides. This will give the paneer a delicious flavor and texture.
Remove the paneer from the pan and set it aside. In the same pan, add one finely diced onion and sauté until it’s translucent and slightly browned. Then, add three minced garlic cloves and a one-inch piece of grated ginger and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add two large diced tomatoes to the pan and stir everything together. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down and released their juices. This will create a rich and flavorful tomato-based sauce for the dish.
Add cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala, turmeric, black pepper and chili powder to the pan and stir well to combine. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the spices are fragrant. This will infuse the dish with aromatic and warm flavors.
Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, use an immersion blender or transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. This will create a silky smooth and creamy sauce for the dish.
Return the pan to the heat and add heavy cream or well beaten yogurt to this gravy. Stir well to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer. This will create a rich and creamy sauce for the dish.
Add the sautéed paneer to the pan and stir gently to coat it in the sauce. Let the paneer simmer in the sauce for 5-10 minutes, or until it’s heated through and the sauce has thickened to your liking. This will allow the flavors of the dish to meld together and for the paneer to absorb the flavors of the sauce.
Add 2 small butter cubes at last and mix. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and chili powder. This will ensure that the dish has a balanced and delicious flavor as you needed.
Serve the paneer makhani hot, garnished with fresh coriander and cream if desired. This dish pairs well with rice or naan bread and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks that can help you make the perfect butter paneer masala:
- Use fresh ingredients: To get the best flavor and texture, it’s important to use fresh ingredients. This includes fresh paneer, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and ginger.
- Adjust the spice level: The amount of chili powder used in the recipe can be adjusted to your liking. If you prefer a milder curry, reduce the amount of chili powder, and if you prefer a spicier curry, increase the amount.
- Use a blender: For a smooth and creamy consistency, use a blender to puree the tomato mixture. An immersion blender or a regular blender will work.
- Fry the paneer: Sautéing the paneer in oil or ghee until golden brown gives it a nice crispy exterior and adds a depth of flavor to the dish.
- Add cream or yogurt: Adding cream or yogurt to the tomato sauce creates a rich and creamy texture. Heavy cream will give a richer taste, while yogurt will add a tangy flavor.
- Let the paneer simmer in the sauce: Allowing the paneer to simmer in the sauce for a few minutes will help it absorb the flavors and become tender.
- Garnish with fresh coriander: Adding fresh coriander on top of the dish before serving not only adds a pop of color but also a fresh flavor to the dish.
By following these tips and tricks, you can make a delicious butter paneer masala that’s sure to impress your family and friends!
Try These Other Popular Recipes
White sauce pasta with caramelized broccoli
Fried donuts with chocolate glaze
Butter Paneer Masala Curry
- 250 g paneer, cubed
- 2-3 tbsp oil or ghee
- 1 onion chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch ginger grated
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or yogurt
- Salt to taste
- Fresh coriander, chopped (optional, for garnish)
- 2 small cubes butter
- 1/4 tsp black pepper optional
- Start by heating the oil or ghee in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cubed paneer and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until the paneer is golden brown on all sides. Remove the paneer from the pan and set it aside.
- In the same pan, add the diced onion and sauté until it's translucent and slightly browned. Then, add the minced garlic and grated ginger and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the diced tomatoes to the pan and stir everything together. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down and released their juices.
- Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala, turmeric, black pepper and chili powder to the pan and stir well to combine. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the spices are fragrant.
- Use blender to blend this masala. Add the heavy cream or yogurt to the pan. Stir well to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the sautéed paneer to the pan and stir gently to coat it in the sauce. Let the paneer simmer in the sauce for 5-10 minutes, or until it's heated through, and the sauce has thickened to your liking. At last, add butter in it and mix well.
- Serve the paneer makhani hot, garnished with fresh coriander if desired.