To make up for your Butter Chicken craving during fasting periods, you should give this relatively easy Butter Paneer recipe from ecurry‘s delicious blog a chance. For the authentic paneer taste, take the trouble to go an extra mile by making the paneer at home from scratch. It takes nothing more than 4 cups of boiled full cream cow’s milk and a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar to curdle the milk solids left to hang in a cheesecloth so that they coalesce to form the soft cheesy mass I used in this recipe. Do not let the long ingredient list scare you, I am pretty sure you must be having most of them lying somewhere in the spice rack of your kitchen drawers. If you cannot find fenugreek/methi leaves in shops, grow your own from methi seeds soaked overnight and harvesting the sprouts after a week or so. While you can leave out a few things, do not omit the methi; they are what imparts the distinctive flavor to your makhani sauce.

PANEER MAKHANI

Ingredients:

For the Paneer Marinade

200g paneer, homemade or store bought

1 tablespoon thick unsweetened yogurt

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

1 teaspoon methi/dried fenugreek leaves

Kitchen salt, to taste + 1/2 tablespoon oil

For the Makhani Sauce

1/8 cup melted butter/ghee

2 inch stick cinnamon

2 small green cardamoms

1/2 teaspoon methi/fenugreek seeds

2 tablespoons ginger paste

1 1/2 tablespoons garlic paste

1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

Kitchen salt, to taste

2 1/2 cups pureed fresh tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon methi/dried fenugreek leaves

2 hot green peppers, split

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 small onion, cut into chunks

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into chunks

1/2 cup warm water

1 tablespoon almond or cashew paste

1 teaspoon unrefined sugar

5-6 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 cup full cream milk

Method:

  • For the makhani sauce, heat butter over low and add cinnamon stick, cardamoms and fenugreek seeds.

  • Once the seeds start to sizzle, add ginger garlic paste, salt, chili powder and stir fry till the fat separates.

  • Add the tomato paste, hot green peppers, cinnamon powder and dried fenugreek leaves and stir it well.

  • Simmer to reduce the tomato sauce till done. Make sure to cover the pan as it will bubble and splatter.

  • If you want a smooth and creamy sauce, cool and blend the sauce to combine all the spices. Set aside.

  • For the marinade, whisk the yogurt, salt, chili powder, dried fenugreek leaves and oil in a large bowl.

  • Add cubed paneer to the bowl and toss so that the marinade coats paneer. Rest for about 15 minutes.

  • Bake them for 7 minutes in a pre heated oven at 350 degree. F and then broil the paneer for 3 minutes.

  • Turn over and broil for another couple of minutes until they turn golden in color. Remove from oven.

  • Heat oil in a pan, sauté onion and pepper at high heat for about 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.

  • In deep saucepan, add the Makhani sauce and warm water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low.

  • Add sugar, sautéed onion and bell pepper. Partially cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes at moderate heat.

  • Uncover, add paneer cubes, and the almond paste and stir gently for the spice mixture to coat paneer.

  • Cover it partially and simmer for 15 more minutes over moderate heat. Add water if sauce is too thick.

  • Reduce the heat and allow the temperature of the pan to come down. Add the milk and heavy cream.

  • Stir it gently and simmer for another 5-7 minutes. Serve warm with naan or plain rice. For 6 persons.

Paneer Makhani