Any vegetarian who goes to an Indian restaurant always orders nan and paneer butter masala as one of the dishes. It almost seems incomplete when you don’t order a paneer dish while dining out. Its the vegetarian counterpart of butter chicken masala. Paneer is Indian cottage cheese and it doesn’t melt under heat. It’s almost like tofu, you can even substitute extra firm tofu for paneer in this recipe if you don’t have access to paneer. Its unbelievably easy to whip up this dish at home and trust me no one will believe that you made this at home because it tastes so much like the restaurant version. Well at least I had that experience when my friend A took her first bite and asked if I did a take out from a restaurant:) It does have a lot of butter and cream, but what’s life without an occasional indulgence right? The original recipe from here. Make this for your next Indian party, you will be popular among friends:) You can make the masala ahead and freeze. When ready to serve add cream and paneer.
2 cups paneer/tofu cubed
1 big red onion chopped ( about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 one inch cinnamon sticks
2 dry red chillies broken
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
4 tablespoons tomato paste or 5 tomatoes pureed ( I used paste and it gives a beautiful color)
1/2 cup cashews or almonds ground with 1/2 cup milk ( I used cashews)
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika/red chili powder
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
1.5 teaspoons kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves ( found in Indian grocery stores. very important for flavor)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 cup heavy cream/half and half ( I used cream)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a big pan. Once its hot, add chopped onions and sauté for 10 minutes till onions turn translucent. Add a pinch of salt and keep it aside. Once cooled, grind to a fine paste.
2. In the same pan, add butter and 1 tablespoon of oil. Once its hot, add bay leaves, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks and dry red chillies. sauté on medium heat for 30 seconds.
3. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for a minute.
4. Add onion paste and cook for couple of minutes.
5. Add tomato paste/puree, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder, red chili powder/parika and salt. Cook on high heat for 10minutes till you see the oil separate from the rest of the ingredients.
6. Add almond/cashew paste and tomato ketchup and cook for 3 minutes.
7. Add cubed paneer and cook covered on low heat for 5minutes.
8. Sprinkle kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves and mix gently.
9. Remove from heat and mix in the heavy cream.
10. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with nan or rice.