Top marks for paneer butter masala

July 18, 2007


paneer-butter-masala.jpgMy little sister is little no more.

I had the great pleasure of attending her university graduation ceremony yesterday. As she strode up the stage a confident, pint-sized princess in a flowing gown, I couldn’t help wonder what happened to the bald midget that used to eat mangoes in her knickers what seems like only a few years ago.

Now officially homeless and jobseeking, the Bollywood starlet is spending her days looking for meaningful employment. All under the strict tutelage of her older and somewhat wiser sister (that would be me) and a much older and wiser mother.

It’s not just the career direction I’m taking an interest in. Her diet too swings like a crazy pendulum, from a crash course of GM to a bag of gluten free, butter rich biscuits.

I made this paneer butter masala for her – a thick and creamy Indian cheese curry. Normally, this is a fatty North Indian feast awash with cream and butter. I managed to tone it down a little, without losing its essence, using Greek yogurt and a butter substitute.

This one’s great when you want to impress – hungry students and other very important people.

This recipe serves 4:

250 gm paneer, diced into one cm wide and two cm long pieces

2 garlic cloves

1 inch ginger

1 heaped tsp coriander powder

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp tomato puree

4 tbsp natural Greek yogurt

Half tsp garam masala

Half tsp turmeric powder

Half tsp chilli powder

1 tsp kasoori methi, soaked in a tsp of hot water

10 cashewnuts, ground to a fine paste with a tbsp of hot water

1 tbsp of low fat butter substitute (anything that tastes like butter but isn’t as fattening)

Salt to taste

1 tbsp sunflower oil

Mix a quarter teaspoon each of the chilli and turmeric powder into the cubed paneer, along with a little bit of salt.

Puree the ginger and garlic to a fine paste. In a pot, heat the oil on a high flame. When hot, add the masala coated paneer and fry for five minutes until pale brown.

Remove the paneer pieces and in the same oil, add the bay leaf. Within seconds the bay leaf will start sizzling. When this happens, add the ginger and garlic puree and stir gently until it turns translucent.

Now add the chilli, coriander and turmeric powder, and tomatoe puree, stirring vigirously on a high flame until the pungent smell of masalas go (about two minutes).

Then spoon in the yogurt, lower the flame, and simmer for five minutes. You will see the colour of the yogurt change from pale white to a rich red as the masalas blend into it.

Now stir in the paneer pieces, the pureed cashewnuts, and the garam masala. Simmer for five minutes and then add the kasoori methi, along with its water, and salt to taste.

The kasoori methi and garam masala are added to cut the tangy taste of the curry and make it a more balanced creamy one. Give them a good two minutes to do their magic.

To finish, stir in the butter substitute and enjoy piping hot with some aromatic pulao.


22 Responses to “Top marks for paneer butter masala”

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  4. Jules Says:

    July 3rd, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    I made this for the first time tonight and although I used low fat yogurt it was still delicious. Hubs even commented on how good it was and that he now really likes paneer!

  5. shruti Says:

    May 30th, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    pls reply soon m waiting for ur reply…

  6. shruti Says:

    May 30th, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    hi malika i just tried your recipie .. loks yummy but tastes v sour due to yogurt … tried adding a bit of sugar but still its the same.. can u tell me wht shall i do with it quickly before dinner time…

  7. Margaret Says:

    October 7th, 2008 at 4:21 am

    I have to confess that I have never tried paneer.
    The sauce ingredients sound wonderful.

  8. Mallika Says:

    May 17th, 2008 at 10:42 am

    The yogurt is a new addition. Never tried paneer with a yogurt gravy. Good luck to your sister – she’s a Bollywood starlet ?

  9. Trazy Says:

    May 6th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Hmmm… all the paneer masala’s I’ve made before have onions in them. Did you skip the onions for the lower calorie factor or do you always make your paneer masala without the onions? I will totally be trying this recipe tonight or tomorrow!

  10. Quick Indian Cooking » Love Songs and celebrations Says:

    March 28th, 2008 at 8:39 am

    […] of you will remember that she went on some crazed “eat nothing but lemons” diet for months to turn size zero before […]

  11. Mallika Says:

    August 27th, 2007 at 10:38 am

    Hi Usoshi

    There are two things you can do – strain the normal yogurt or whip it up nicely until it’s frothy in the food processor before using it. The only reason I use Greek yogurt is because it doesn’t split when cooking thanks to its thick texture. With either of the two techniques, you’ll get around this problemo.

    Do let me know how it comes out!


  12. Usoshi Says:

    August 27th, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Hey Mallika,

    I was going to try out this particular dish, paneer butter masala, but i wasnt able to find the greek yogurt in my grocery store…. is there anything else i can use instead? like is this yogurt think or something …… then i can strain the regular 2% yogurt in a cheese cloth…… or get the already strained thick yogurt from the indian store… and can i also use the substitute for one of the chicken recipes you used the greek yogurt as well?
    let me know ….
    take care

  13. Meena Says:

    July 20th, 2007 at 6:22 am

    This looks delicious! I’m a big fan of creamy curries, and find that substituting yoghurt does wonders for both, the flavour and an increasing waistline. Way to go girl, now maybe you should look into educating the “English” chefs who are so proud of their Chicken Tikka masala! 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

  14. Cinnamon Says:

    July 20th, 2007 at 6:17 am

    The Panner Butter Masala is my all time fav order, when we visit the restaurants 🙂
    The photo is awesome, and it looks very delicious.

  15. links for 2007-07-19 « linksnstuff Says:

    July 20th, 2007 at 3:20 am

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  16. Anita Says:

    July 18th, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    oooh, now I am just one person from knowing a Bollywood star-let! The paneer looks scrumptious with the added bonus of lower calories! Yay!

  17. Sylvia Says:

    July 18th, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    It sound so tasty, and another awesome photo

  18. Sylvia Says:

    July 18th, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    It sound so teasty, and anothe awesome phot

  19. Mahua Says:

    July 18th, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Lovely recipe :). I am new to the food blog world and loved all your recipes. Good luck to your little sis and keep posting nice recipes.

  20. Mona Afzal Says:

    July 18th, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Hi, Mallika, great blog with good recipes. Loved ur blog.

  21. Wendy Says:

    July 18th, 2007 at 8:54 am

    This sounds heavenly. Haven’t had paneer in ages either.

  22. Asha Says:

    July 18th, 2007 at 8:44 am

    Paneer butter masala!! YUM!! Looks great. Love the color.Good to hear about your sis.Hope her Bollywood dreams come true.
    I have Paunjabi food too this week!:)

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