Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lite Paneer Butter Masala "Paneer Makhani"

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Day2 of BM#5:: There are a few things that make me go weak in the knees - My hubby in black denim shirt, the sight of my son, Mango Lassi (I know Bobby Flay will scoff at this, given that he hates Mango Lassi -> Pureed Ripe Mango + Cardamom Powder + Yogurt..Hey, what's not to like??) and anything made with Paneer. Paneer, an Indian Cottage Cheese is made from Cow's milk and is super easy to make at home. I haven't given it a shot since I am always picking it from Indian stores. I have to say I am mighty partial to 'Nanak' brand of Paneer. Why, its my freezer staple. I never run out of it. Ever!

Paneer Butter Masala/Paneer Makhani, a specialty dish from the Punjab Region is a harmonious(read "Super Scrumptious")  blend of "smooth as velvet" tangy tomato-based sauce, paneer and an assortment of other ingredients that will have you hooked from the first bite. The only thing that I don't care about this dish is the food coloring which I desperately want to skip but can't as many, including myself and my hubby, wouldn't acknowledge it as an authentic Paneer Butter Masala if it doesn't have that telltale Orange color. I have made this as light as possible without compromising on the "authentic" taste, ie: without skipping the Butter(Duh, it wouldn't be Paneer"Butter" Masala if I skip it, now would it??) or the heavy cream but certainly skimping on it. What you'll have to keep in mind that this dish is meant to be rich in flavor and calories.:-). So go ahead and try this "restaurant favorite recipe" at home, minus a few calories of-course!

  • 14oz/400g Paneer "Indian Cottage Cheese" ( I used Nanak Brand from Indian Stores)
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 Green Chilies, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Cashew
  • 3 Cups Hunt's Diced Canned Tomato
  • 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 3 Cloves
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tsp + 1 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Red Chili Powder or more/less
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • A pinch of Orange/Red Food Color
  • 1/8 Cup Half and Half/ Heavy Cream
  • Cut the Paneer into small cubes. Add a tsp of Oil to a non-stick pan and gently fry the Paneer.
  • Remove the Paneer once its lightly browned. Drain it on paper towel.
  • In the same pan, add another a tbsp of oil and fry the chopped onions, green chili and cashew nut.
  • Remove the browned onion, cashew and chili mixture to a plate to cool before grinding it to a smooth paste.
  • To the same pan add 2 tbsp of oil, 2 tbsp of butter, cumin seeds, bay leaf, cardamom, cloves and gently fry for a minute.
  • Grind the diced tomatoes to a smooth "velvet-y" paste. Pour it into the pan.
  • Add the smooth ground "Cashew, Onion and Green Chili" paste along with Coriander Powder and Chili Powder.
  • Stir to combine. Lid the pan and let it cook for 10-12 minutes or so.
  • Dilute the Orange Food Color powder in a tsp of milk or water and pour it into the pan.Crush the dry fenugreek leaves between the palm of your hands, discarding thick stems and such before adding it to the pan.
  • Add the browned paneer to the pan.
  • Sprinkle salt and the dark brown sugar. Stir to combine. Check for taste and add more of salt if needed.
  • Add the cream at the end and switch off the stove after a couple of minutes or so.
  • Serve this warm with Naan Bread or Roti/Chapathi or even white rice. It tastes good any which way.
If you are a Paneer Fanatic like me, check out my other "favorite" Paneer Dishes:
Paneer and Peas "Muttar Paneer", Paneer stuffed baked Potatoes, Paneer Topped Fusion Pizza, Saag Paneer
Note(Short Cuts):
  • The paneer can be fried the day before.
  • The onion-cashew-green chili mixture can be fried and ground to a paste, the crushed tomatoes pureed the day before as well
Also Check out the Blogging Marathoners doing BM#5:
Curry in a hurry under 30 min: Cool Lassi(e), Harini, Kalyani, Priya Mahadevan, Suma
Seven Days of Colorful Dishes Kid's Special: Priya Suresh, Veena,
Seven Days of Indian Sweets: Shylaja, Srivalli
Seven Days of Regional Specials: Priya Yallapantula
Under 15 mins Quick Breakfast:Aarthi, Vaishali
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  1. one of my absolute favs, but doesnt agree with my waist..low fat version seems like a good idea though

  2. WOW this looks so good.....What a lovely colour..i love butter paneer..In my blog i have a butter paneer recipe,if you like check it and if you can please follow me...

  3. wonderful one! barring the usage of food color, I don't see whats not to like it :) Personally I am nota fan of paneer but it sure will be great for a party menu!!

  4. Delicious curry and a wonderful step by step explanation
    Awesome clicks as well

    South Indian Home

  5. Nice that u r doing the marathon again!....good luck!
    paneer butter masala looks very yummy!...i am sure the lite version taste yummy too!

  6. Nice stepwise directions! A favorite dish! Awesome!

  7. Hi Lassie

    Already slurping over the wonderful paneer preparation . Excellent preparation.


  8. Love the look and can almost smell it :)

  9. yum, yum, yum, absolutely gorgeous and so tempting :)

  10. Love this creamy paneer heaven...I m all ready to dive in my naan to njoy this creamy rich delicacy

  11. In my opinion, paneer is definitely one of those foods that's worth the indulgence. This sounds fantastic!

  12. Tongue tickling paneer curry, mouthwatering here..

  13. Looks super delicious and marvellous, can have it with anything..

  14. I make my own paneer as store brought one is too hard for me. this one looks awesome dleicious.

  15. Gorgeous colour would love with roties nam nam!

  16. Love paneer everything, but not so my husband therefore it is only once in a while that I get to make them at home

  17. Wonderful and the colour is fantastic ♥

  18. Paneer butter masala looks very rich and delicious! Love the color too

  19. love d gorgeous clicks...awesome presentation dear..;P
    Tasty Appetite

  20. wow! chanceless,superb..thanks for sharing..

  21. Awesome clicks !
    Love Panner any day, any form !! So, this 'light-on-the heart-and waist" version defintely drool worthy !

  22. Paneer masala looks so yummy .. nice step by step pictures ..


  23. Lite or no lite LOVE PBM anyway :)) but obviously the waist will like the lighter version more :D
    US Masala

  24. This is my favourite way to have paneer too and that sauce wow drooling here.

  25. My favorite,love the color and it looks rich and delicious..

  26. Initially I too planned to prepare this and even made paneer. Somehow ended up cooking different ones for the marathon.
    Your PBM looks colorful & delectable!

  27. wow delicious curry.. mouthwatering...


Thanks a bunch for your valuable comments and continued support.They are very much appreciated. Yes,like "Rain on Dry Land" and like "Oasis in Desert Sand".
XoXo, Cool Lassi(e)