Soft and mellow paneer cubes cooked in spicy and rich Mughlai gravy of tomato, cashew nuts, milk cream and butter makes an irresistibly delicious Paneer Makhani. This step by step photo recipe follows its original Mughlai preparation process which gives it an exclusive and finely balanced creamy, spicy taste. Serve it with plain paratha and boondi raita for a delicious lunch or dinner.
250 gms (1/2 lb) Paneer (cottage cheese), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 small piece of Bayleaf
1-inch piece of Cinnamon
2 Green Cardamoms
1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 large Onion, chopped
5-6 cloves of Garlic, chopped
8 Cashew nuts
3 medium Tomatoes, chopped
2 Dry Red Kashmiri Chilli (or 1 normal dry red chilli), halved and seeds removed
1/2 teaspoon Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed Garlic (or paste), optional
1 teaspoon Sugar
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons Butter (or oil)
3 tablespoons Fresh Cream
5 tablespoons + 1 cup Water
Heat 2-tablespoons butter in a pan over medium flame. Add bay leaf, cinnamon, green cardamom and cumin seeds. Sauté for 30 seconds. Add chopped onion, garlic and cashew nuts.
Saute until onion turns translucent.
Add chopped tomato, dry kashmiri red chilli and salt.
Saute for 4-5 minutes. Add kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and 3-tablespoons water.
Cook until tomatoes turn soft, it will take around 2-3 minutes.
Turn off the flame. Let the mixture cool for a while. Transfer it to the jar of a mixer grinder and make a smooth paste. If required, add 2-3 tablespoons water while grinding.
Heat 1-tablespoon butter in the same pan over medium flame. Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic (or garlic paste) and 1-teaspoon red chilli powder.
Mix well and add the prepared paste.
Stir continuously and cook until butter starts to release from sides. It will take around 3-4 minutes.
Add 1-cup water and 1-teaspoon sugar. Mix well using spatula.
As the gravy splatters, cover it with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir occasionally in between to prevent sticking.
Remove the lid. Taste the gravy for salt and sugar and if required, add more at this stage. Add paneer cubes.
Mix well and cook for 2-minutes. Add 3-tablespoons fresh cream.
Mix well and turn off the flame. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Paneer makhani curry is ready for serving.
Tips and Variations:
– Dry kashmiri red chilli is used for getting the deep red color of gravy without making it spicy. If it is not available, you can replace it with regular dry red chilli (or 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder). Regular dry red chillies are spicier than Kashmiri red chillies so reduce its quantity to one.
– Before using frozen paneer cubes, soak them in warm water for 15 minutes and drain before using.
– Increase the quantity of garlic and dry red chillies to make it spicier.
– Cashew nuts makes gravy thicker and creamier. However if they are not handy, use almonds or white poppy seeds as its replacement.
– Butter greatly enhances the flavor of this Indian paneer curry. However, you can replace it with cooking oil if you wish.
Taste: Spicy and creamy
Serving Ideas: Enjoy Mughlai Panner Makhani with Indian breads like lachha paratha, butter kulcha or plain chapati. Enjoy it with variety of Indian rice preparations like steamed rice or matar pulao.