Butter Paneer Masala

As long as or as far as my memory goes – this has been my forever favorite restaurant dish. My visits to Indian restaurants were well spent on ordering and eating this dish. A super creamy tomato based gravy prepared in butter with cubes of paneer (cottage cheese) – served with naan (Indian bread) or just plain rice. This gravy is very very versatile…once it is ready- it accommodates grilled chicken,lightly sautéed potatoes, or choice of your grilled veggies, tofu etc etc. I like to add a few more veggies to my dish in addition to paneer. Now that I have learnt how to make it at home, it’s a home favorite than a restaurant favorite 🙂

Recipe source: This is generously adapted recipe from Chef Harpal Singh. His tip on cooking tomatoes and then puree them eliminates the process of adding artificial orange color to give a rich color to this dish.

This is what you need:
5-6 medium tomatoes – roughly chopped
20 cubed of paneer -1/4inch cubes (cottage cheese – found in Indian grocery store)
1 medium bell pepper (cut into cubes)
1 medium onion (cut into cubes)
3 tablespoons of chopped garlic(roughly)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
3 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
salt to taste
1-2 tablespoon of red chilli powder
1 tablespoon kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves – found in Indian grocery store)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon ginger paste
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
This is how you make:
– Heat a frying pan on medium heat – add 1 tablespoon of oil and saute onion and bell pepper for a minute and set aside.
– Now take a sauce pan on medium heat – add 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter – add garlic and saute it for about a minute and then add the tomatoes, cardamom powder and saute them on high heat for a minute or so and then bring them on medium heat and cover. occasionally stir it and then cover again till tomatoes become pulpy. This should take about 7-10 mins. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Now blend it to a fine puree. Strain this puree into a mixing bowl. This will separate the tomato skin leaving a silky puree in the mixing bowl.
– Now heat the sauce pan again on medium with 1 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons of butter – add ginger paste and saute for about a minute. Add the tomato puree and bring it to a boil.  At this point, add salt to taste, red chilli powder, garam masala powder and reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 5-10 mins – Now add the sour cream and let it cook for about 5 more mins. occasionally stirring it. Now bring it to a boil just once more and then add onions, bell pepper and Cottage cheese. Also crush the kasoori methi and it to the dish.
– Taste to check spices and salt and adjust accordingly. If you find it tart then add honey to balance the flavors. You can try adding sugar also to balance the flavors but honey brings the shine to the dish.
Switch off the heat and cover the sauce pan for about 10-15 mins. This lets everything come together and settle. Then it is ready to eat…
– Serve with any type of Indian bread or just plain white rice.

Try it – Enjoy!

Tip: Incase you are wondering why we are using oil and butter – as per chef Harpal, this avoids the butter from getting brown.

I am sending this recipe to http://foodandspice.blogspot.com/2011/11/celebration-of-indian-food-and-giveaway.html – let’s celebrate Indian food…


I am sending this to recipe to My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Kerrygold.


5 thoughts on “Butter Paneer Masala

  1. Julie says:

    Looks delicious and I am looking forward to making it! I am new to Indian cooking and was wondering what colour “bell pepper” should be in this recipe. Thank you!

  2. Anuradha says:

    You add the onion bits without pureeing in the end after sautéing them for just a few minutes? Won’t that give a raw onion flavor to the dish?

    • Hello…

      The sautéing of onions – took away the raw smell out of them. And by the time I added them they were perfect to eat. I dint want to puree them because I wanted to try the chef’s recipe as is with tomatoes. The onions and bell peppers were my addition and they did not hurt the dish.
      Hope this helps…

      Thanks for stopping by my blog.
      Have a good weekend.


      Sent from my iPad

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