Oil – 3 tbsp
Paneer – around 300g, cubed
Whole spices – 1? piece of cinnamon, 3 cloves, 2 cardamom pods, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Onion – 1 large, finely chopped or ground to a paste
Ginger and garlic paste – 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
Tomatoes – 2 large, pureed
Cilantro leaves – 2 tbsp, chopped (plus a little extra for the garnish)
Cream or milk – 3-4 tbsp
Butter – 1 tbsp
Kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves – 1 tsp, crushed
Heat oil in a pan. Fry the paneer pieces lightly on all sides. Remove and keep aside.
In the same pan (there should be some oil left), add the whole spices and allow them to sputter and become fragrant.
Add onion and saute till golden. Add ginger and garlic pastes and saute well till the raw smell goes away.
Add the masala powders and mix well.
Add the pureed tomatoes. Cook till the oil separates and the gravy becomes thick. At this stage, you can blend the gravy, if you want a really smooth paneer masala.
Return the blended gravy to the pan. Add 1/2 – 1 cup water and salt and bring to a boil. Add the fried paneer cubes and simmer for a couple of minutes.
Finally, add the dried fenugreek leaves, cream and butter and mix gently. Do this on a low heat, so as not to curdle the cream.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot.
Paneer butter masala goes excellently well with a light pulao or Indian flat breads like rotis, naan or chapatis. Slice some onions and lemon wedges for a fresh side.