Any Indian restaurants are sure to list Paneer Butter Masala on their menu. One of the favorites of any Indian, this North-Indian curry is rich, creamy and pleasing to the eye with its bright orange-red color.
Paneer Butter Masala
I usually prepare my own home-made Paneer at home. But occasionally I get it from the stores to simplify my work. The usual ready made brands that I trust and buy usually are Nanak and Mother dairy. Recently I had got Paneer manufactured under ‘Nanak’ brand name, and it was a totally bad experience for me. The paneer block had bits of egg-shell like pieces in it (which when I had later contacted their Manager, I was told that the pieces were scales of deposited calcium chloride from the surface of the tubes in which the coagulation of milk takes place, which look like egg shells, he also apologized for it and asked if he could replace the product). It was totally unpleasant, and I hence had to discard the curry I had prepared using it, as I did not like the feeling of a crunchy Paneer.
The following is my sisters recipe, which I thoroughly enjoyed eating along with fresh warm Methi wale Naan.
Butter Paneer Masala – Paneer in rich buttery tomato-cream sauce
Home-made Paneer block – 400 gms
Tomatoes – 4, medium sized, chopped
Long green chillies – 2, chopped
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Onion – 1, large, finely sliced
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Kasuri methi – 1 tsp
Tomato Ketchup – 1 tbsp (I used Heinz)
Canned Tomato puree – 2 1/2 tsp
Half and half cream – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Cashew nuts – handful, whole
Fried Paneer cubes (Paneer is Indian Cheese)
1. Cut the paneer block into rectangular bite size pieces. Heat Canola oil in a pan, and shallow fry the paneer pieces until lightly browned on all sides. Remove using a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined platter. Keep aside. Also, fry the sliced onions and cashew nuts individually in the same oil until golden brown. Remove using a slotted spoon onto a platter and keep aside.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes and green chillies into a blender and blend into a smooth puree.
3. Heat 2 tbsp butter in a medium sized saucepan at medium heat and as soon as it warms up, add the ginger garlic paste. Fry for a minute. Add the fried onion and mix well. Pour in the pureed tomato+chilli paste. Add coriander powder, garam masala, red chilli powder, kasuri methi, tomato ketchup and tomato puree. Let cook for 5 minutes covered on simmer.
4. Pour in half and half cream and salt. Mix well. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the fried paneer pieces and let it cook for a further 3-5 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and fried cashew nuts and serve.