A few Indian recipes are very special and undoubtedly, Paneer Butter Masala is one of those recipes that always comes to my mind while thinking about a nice family meal or gathering.
This is one of the first curries which I, along with my husband started to cook after long experiments. It was around a decade ago that after several experiments, we got the perfect recipe. Since then, we have been using the same recipe again and again for both Paneer and Chicken.
Most of the time when we get our fresh produce from the farmer's market, we make a makhani sauce with those wonderfully ripe tomatoes and store it in the freezer. We keep that in a single-serving container and it freezes really well. The key is to never store it again after thawing and try to use it within a month. This gravy has saved us so many times when we needed to prepare a wonderful meal for a sudden guest. With this sauce in the freezer, I am always confident that I can whip a wonderful meal in little time.
Sometimes, when we don't have this sauce stored or don't have time to do a sauce from scratch (from tomatoes) then we use canned tomatoes. The gravy made from the canned ones also tastes delicious and no one can tell the difference.
How to make Makhani Sauce?
Butter Masala Sauce /Makhani Sauce.
- 3 Cups Pureed fresh tomato(if using canned ones use half of the prescribed quantity.
- 1 Tsp Fenugreek seeds(Optional )if you are just learning to cook and not confident enough to handle it ,don't use fenugreek seeds.
- 2 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 Stick Cinnamon
- 2 Black Cardamom
- 1.5 Tbsp Kasoori methi
- 1 Tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- 3 Tbsp Ghee or Butter
- ⅓ Cup Heavy cream
- 2 Tsp Honey
- Salt according to taste.
- Heat butter /ghee.
- Add cinnamon,cardamom and fenugreek seeds.(Don't let fenugreek seeds change their color to brown , otherwise that will spoil the taste of gravy).
- Once they start crackling up add ginger garlic paste and fry it till the raw smell is gone.
- Add chili powder,salt and tomato puree /paste to it .
- Fry it for 2 -3 minutes.
- Add 3 cups of water, if you are using paste you can always mix it with water and use as puree.
- If using fresh tomato puree then add only one and half cups of water.
- Add Kasoori methi to it .
- Simmer the sauce till it looks reduced and the butter /ghee separates .
- Add cream and simmer for 7-8 minutes.
- You can keep the consistency of the sauce according to your liking .
- Quantity of cream can be adjusted to your own taste .
- Check the seasoning and adjust the salt if needed.
- Add honey to balance out the flavour .
- If you don't like to use honey you can use brown sugar but reduce the quantity since it can make your gravy too sweet.
- At this stage you can switch of the flame .
Paneer Butter Masala
- 2 Cups Paneer cubed
- 1 Tbsp Cashew paste (soak them and grind it into a paste.)
- 1 Tbsp Kasoori methi
- 2 Cups Makhani sauce(which we have prepared earlier)
- 1 Tbsp Heavy Cream(optional)
- ½ Cup Water
- Keep Paneer Pieces in salted warm water for 15 minutes.This step is mainly for store bought Paneer . If you have home made Paneer you don't need to do this .
- In a pan add makhani sauce and warm water and let it simmer 2-3 minutes.
- Add Paneer cubes ,kasoori methi ,and heavy cream (optional)and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.
- Taste it and adjust the seasoning . If you want your curry more on sweeter side add 0ne tsp of honey to it .
- Add cashew paste . Simmer it for 4-5 minutes on very slow flame .
- Check the consistency if its too thick then add little bit of water .
- Switch off the flame .
- Serve with rice or roti .