Paneer Butter Masala

It is a little embarassing, but honestly, I had no clue what paneer or paneer butter masala was until I reached college. While in college, one of the restaurants my friends and I loved eating waSri Rayappas Chettinad Restaurant. Folks from Coimbatore should be familiar with it. During my 4 year education in Coimbatore, I only remember eating Paneer/Chicken Butter Masala and fried rice each time we went to that restaurant. Such was my love for butter masala!

Subconsciously, I always had this feeling that if I liked a restaurant dish a lot it has to be very difficult to make. I had this pack of paneer in my freezer that I had to use in two days, before we leave for our vacation. Was tired of eating the paneer-vegetable kurma I usually make and I wanted to do something different. So I thought, why not my all time favorite – paneer butter masala. I browsed the internet. There are a zillion different ways in which this dish can be prepared. I kind of got the general idea and did it my way. It was unbelievably easy and really did taste as good as it would have in any good restaurant!

Ingredients
  • 150 gms Paneer
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 4 tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tbsp red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh cream
Method
  • Pour the oil in a vok. When medium hot, throw the spices – cloves, cinnamon and cardamom in it. Just when it crackles, add the onions. Saute the onions until it turns light golden brown and add the ginger garlic paste.
  • Once the ginger garlic paste looses its raw smell, add the tomatoes and coriander leaves (spare a little for the final garnishing!). Cover the vok with a lid and allow the tomatoes to get cooked on low flame for 10 minutes sauteing it now and then.
  • Turn off the stove once the tomatoes are cooked and allow it to cool down. 
  • Grind the onion-tomato mixture with the cashews into a very fine paste adding water if necessary.
  • Pour a little oil in the vok and transfer the paste to it. Add salt, coriander powder, chilly powder and paneer. Give it a good mix. Cover it with a lid and cook in low flame for 10 minutes until the paneer is cooked.
  • Add butter and cream on top of the dish and garnish with the remaining coriander leaves!


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