Paneer Makhani (Paneer Butter Masala)

By DK on Apr 05, 2010
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
Here on one hand, I was practically behind dear Sig for giving ideas for Vegetarian South Beach Diet and on the other end, here I am with Paneer Butter Masala! Sig - Dont look at me like that. I will sure do the diet - promise!  But few things at my end are preventing it and am waiting for the 'right time'. If your eyebrows are still mile high on your forehead - cough - trust me ok ;) But on a more sadistic tone - if any of you are on a diet and can't eat, at least enjoy these pictures :) For those skinny and slim ppl out there (@#$$) , enjoy this rich feast from heaven. From my research and taste testing around in many restaurants, I personally feel that "Paneer Makhani", "Paneer Butter Masala" and "Shahi Paneer" taste more or less the same!
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
The difference is in the prominence of spices added by different chefs although I know that adding cashew paste (and sometimes few raisins) to this recipe below will give you Shahi Paneer. Call it whatever you please at the end of the day it is still a very rich Indian side dish made with Paneer. Lets elaborate on the names now shall we? "Paneer Butter Masala" is pretty self explanatory - Masala denotes spices, cooked with butter and Paneer (Indian cheese). "Paneer Makhani" - where Makhani means cream and in cooking, generally denotes any rich gravy made with onions(optionally), tomatoes, butter and cream. And "Shahi Paneer" - where Shahi denotes Royalty, something fit for kings! And can there be anything less than cream, butter and rich nuts which can be served for a king? So now do you see the similarity in the three names?  All of them have the same base and for me, I use them interchangeably! At the end of the day all these sound the same to me with 'oops- blink - and - you- might- miss" changes. Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe Of course variations abound where spices are thrown in as per fancy and preference of the cook, but can anything cooked with such ingredients be any less delicious? I don't know from where I got this recipe and why I make it this way - but this is how I have been making it ever since I can remember. Along the way, I have learnt few trips and tricks which might help you too, the way it did for me. Now lemme stop my blah's and go to the recipe :)
Basic Information
Prep Time: Under 15 min
Cook Time: Under 30 min
Serves: 4 people
  • 2 generous cups Paneer cubes
  • 1 large onion,chopped coarsely
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cups tomato puree *
  • 2-3 green chillies, as per taste **
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin-coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Tandoori masala
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup cashew paste  and 8-9 raisins ( optional. Use them if making Shahi Paneer - soak few cashew pieces in boiling water and grind)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream (as needed for consistency)
  • salt to taste
  • Mint and cilantro to garnish ***
* I find that home made Puree is the best. But if going for store bought ones go for low sodium variety. If that's not available then use only about 1/2 cup of the puree and carefully add salt only if required. Sometimes the store bought ones give a deep tangy taste to this dish if not careful with the salt since the puree by itself has lots of sodium ** You can instead use cayenne/red chilli powder. Sometimes when I don't have green chillies on hand I use dried red chillies like in this dish. Doesn't hurt the taste. *** I personally find that Mint goes very well with rich dishes and gives it that fresh taste and reducing the rich after taste in the mouth. A combination of the herbs is my personal favorite where it helps to mellow down the richness.
Here is another tip which you might find useful. When buying store bought Paneer, I mostly place them in a bowl filled with boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
It helps to make it soft and also get rid of any impurities, if any. Drain it the water from the paneer and set aside.
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
In a skillet in 1/2 tsp oil, add the onion, chillies, garlic and ginger with a little salt. Saute until soft.
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
Transfer this mixture to the blender and blend it into a paste.
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
In the same skillet, add 3 tbsp of butter and then add the onion paste. Cook until butter/oil separates. If using cashew Paste add it along with this mixture now. or you can soak the cashew pieces in hot water and grind it along with the onion mixture.
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
Add the tomato puree and all the spices. Stir well and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the raw smell of the puree disappears. Add sugar and cook for another 5 minutes. You can at this point taste and see if you require additional salt. If yes, add more.
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
Drop in the paneer gently and give it a toss. Cook for another 2-3 minutes for the paneer to absorb the flavors.
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
Lower the heat to a simmer. Then add the heavy cream. Mix well.
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
If you want to use raisins, fry them lightly in ghee/butter separately and add it to this gravy. You can set some aside for garnish. I don't like sweet things in savory dishes and hence don't use them. Be careful to cook this in simmer before adding cream. Otherwise the heat will give it a curdle appearance!
Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
You can garnish it with mint and cilantro if desired. Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer recipe
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87 Responses to “Paneer Makhani (Paneer Butter Masala)”
  1. Shifa Lodhiya

    Super awesome and easy….. have just cooked it! To be served in lunch! Cannot wait…. Thank you so much for the lovely recipe

  2. Ami

    This recipe has earned me so many compliments, I thought I have to share the credit with you. Thank you so much for this reciple..friends, family and office colleagues have all loved it equally :)

  3. Jas

    Amazing recipe have made it many times and is loved by the fam. Is it possible to substitute the paneer for chicken to make this a non veg dish?

  4. Vee

    This is a really good recipe, the only thing it’s missing for me is fenugreek, but hum, good one

  5. Madhavi

    Best Recipe for Paneer Makhani… Really Restaurant standard…!! 8)

  6. Neha

    Thank you so much for this recipe! :-D To be honest, I usually don’t login in websites and give comments but I couldn’t resist this time! My family loved it! Wonderful recipe!

    Thank you for making this cook extremely happy :) I am glad your family enjoyed it –DK

  7. sakshi

    I am going to make it today.please let me know where can i find heavy cream and tandoori masala.


  8. Alex

    This came out absolutely AMAZING!!! the whole family who usually turns their nose up to curries LOVED it! its rich not too spicy, I took another persons advice and added Kasuri Methi, I also added Cayenne, only 1 tea of salt, omitted the sugar, used Cashew butter, and barely a tiny pinch of Garam Masala! thanks so much for this recipe!!!

  9. Thanx a lot!!!! Good instructions & pics .This reciepe beats the restaurant & tastes too good!!!!!

  10. Patsy

    This dish is wonderful! Thank you for sharing it!!

  11. CJ

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I just got back from my first trip to India this past Saturday and the paneer dishes were my favorites. I liked them so much I decided to give them a try at home and this is the first one I’m trying. BTW – it goes GREAT with the Atkins style diet (I’m just substituting the sugar)! I’m also trying my hand at homemade paneer – mainly because I live in an area where they would have no idea what I was talking about if I asked them if they had it in stock. Yes, I had to also purchase the seasonings online because they certainly don’t sell masala in my stores.

  12. saviona

    fab recipe!!! extremely easy to follow n you get an amazin dish in no time..

  13. elisabeth

    I’m usually not the type to comment but this was just so good I had to say something! Tastes just as good as in restaurants–the first time I made this I loved it so much I made it again the next night. It’s also delicious with tofu.

  14. MANJU

    :) superb dish.I tried it tastes good……… :-P

  15. Mandy

    hi, thanks a tonne for the recipe. I made it with slight changes.. Added 1 bay leaf, 4-5 cloves, 4-5 black pepper corns and one black cardamom instead of readymade masala. Even though I didn’t add any cream whatsoever, it tasted really yummy. Best compliment came from husband that it tasted better than any place he had ever had the same dish including any 5 star hotels… :)

  16. Shanthi

    You are right..Shahi paneer..paneer butter masala..paneer makhani..all look the same, taste almost same..have similar recipes.. :roll: Your recipe looks good..would try it..Thanks

  17. sneh

    can u give the recepie of tandoori masala

  18. Hi dhivya, I cudnt join thru my android phone, to become a member of chef in you, hence couldn’t click on the I made this recipe thing. I made it and it tastes heavenly as this is the first time I was using cashew paste in any of my dishes though I have heard it’s awesome. Thank you for the step by step pics, and paneer soaking tip. I modified a little bit by adding kasuri methi and using pizza sauce (ran out of tomatoes), and dry red chilli, and omitting tandoori powder (didn’t have it handy) and using whole milk instead of cream…..I am now gonna use this base for not just paneer, thanks to you !

  19. Great and yummy dish…. cooked with the instructions and almost was of the same taste as in restaurants. Thanks for the recipe.

  20. rmn

    hi! can you please tell how to make the purée at home?

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