Fresh paneer, puree of tomatoes, yogurt and aromatic spices resulting in a Velvety smooth gravy– paneer makhani or butter paneer. The use of the term ‘makhani’ means buttery ; smooth as butter. As with all great foods, using fresh ingredients takes this dish many notches up. It’s best to use homemade paneer, for a highly flavorful paneer makhni that makes “melt in the mouth” phrase a reality.
Having said that, there are those of us who want to put a delicious meal on the table and do not necessarily have the time to do it from scratch; so for those of us, we have the ready made packs of paneer. These may not turn out melt in the mouth divine, but are a good substitute, if you follow the tips posted at the end of the recipe.
- 10 oz paneer [cut into desired shapes – cube, triangle, rectangle – about ½ in thick)
- 3 C tomatoes ( chopped ; seeds and skin removed)
- ¼ C chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp roasted ground cumin
- 1 tsp kahmiri red chilli powder or degi mirch powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- Salt to taste
- 1 Tbs oil
- 2 tsp ginger paste
- ½ tsp garam masala powder
- ½ cup greek yogurt [at room temperature and whisked well)
Spl equipment : hand blender
- Heat the oil on medium heat and add the ginger paste.
- Cook for a half a minute and add the cumin powder, stirring all the while.
- Add the tomatoes and the salt. Stir, cover and cook for 5 - 7 minutes on medium heat.
- When you see the tomatoes turning mushy, work the hand blender into the tomatoes and make a smooth paste. Add a little water if needed.
- Still on medium heat, add the whisked yogurt and keep stirring the mix, until it comes to a boil.
- Add in the chilli powder, roasted ground cumin, chopped cilantro and the kasuri methi.
- Cook for another 5 minutes. Since there is not much oil in the dish, there won’t be much to separate, but you will see some of it coming to the top.
- Add the paneer, cover and switch off the heat. Leave the pan on the heat source. The paneer will cook on the residual heat.
- For store bought panner – Cut the paneer in desired shape. Mix half a cup of milk and half a cup of water and boil it. Remove from heat and soak the paneer in this mixture for at least half an hour. Drain the paneer and add it to the tomato masala when ready.
- If you absolutely MUST, you can use canned tomato paste instead of the tomatoes. It reduces the cooking time. However, with the Cans not being BPA free, I have switched to using fresh tomatoes.
- Using Greek yogurt or yogurt that is not tangy/sour is important. If you don’t have to watch your waist you can add 1/2 C of half and half or heavy whipping cream to half a cup of yogurt – It gets richer and creamier!