This Paneer Butter Masala, Dhaba-style or Butter Paneer is probably one of the most comforting Indian dishes and also quick & easy paneer recipes. Cubes of Paneer (fresh cottage cheese) dunked in a luscious, buttery and slightly tangy tomato-based gravy, topped with a generous dollop of makkhan or white butter. This is how I imagine it while having it with some garlic naan or jeera rice for an exquisite dinner.
In this post, I will share one of the best paneer recipes for a Dhaba style paneer butter masala with you. I will also give you alternate vegan options for this recipe for paneer butter masala.
You will find this paneer recipe on the restaurant menu cards quite often. Sometimes as Butter Paneer, but not as Paneer Makhani. Very few people know the difference here.
Paneer Makhani is a ‘vaishno‘ recipe, which is like paneer butter masala without onion. Shahi Paneer is something similar to Paneer Makhani which are often made without onion and nuts.
However, most restaurants use these terms interchangeably for no better knowledge of the consumers.
How to make Paneer Butter Masala in Dhaba-style: Ingredients list:
- Paneer or Cottage Cheese
- Ginger & Garlic
- Spices like Cinnamon, Dry Red Chilli, Bay Leaf, Cloves
- Nuts & Seeds like Cashew, Almonds, White Sesame Seeds, Melon Seeds
- Mustard Oil & Ghee
- Cumin Powder & Coriander Powder
- Dried Fenugreek Leaves or Kasuri Methi
- Red Chili Powder
- Full Fat Milk or Fresh Cream
Step-by-step instructions on how to make Paneer Butter Masala recipe easily at home
As much as we Indians love having this while we eat out, we also make it at home. Honestly, I haven’t called in a take-out with paneer butter masala for a long time now. Because it is THAT QUICK & EASY PANEER RECIPE to make. If you are looking for simple dinner recipes, this should be on your list.
- Let the Spices be aromatic. In the very first step, I have added the spices like Bay Leaf, Cinnamon, Cloves and dried Red Chili in the oil and allowed it to cook for a while on low heat.
- This would release the aromatic oils and make the dish super flavourful. Don’t be scared of the dried Red Chili. I have used one which has low heat, the Kashmiri Red Chili.
- Saute the Ginger, Garlic, Onion & Tomato before pureeing. This step is very important. Many recipes skip this step but trust me, this is the deal-breaker here.
- All you have to do is cut them into large cubes and toss them around in the oil along with the spices for a couple of minutes before grinding them into a fine puree.
- Fry the puree back in the pan with some ghee and powdered spices. Now comes the most important step of making that luscious and buttery gravy. Fry the puree with some ghee along with the powdered spices and rest of the ingredients.
- In the next few minutes, you will see that your gravy has thickened and is bubbling around.
- Add the Paneer. This is the final step where you have finalised the gravy and just need to add the paneer cubes. We do not cook it any further because that would make the paneer chewy.
- As you all know, protein hardens upon heating, paneer becomes chewy like a rubber upon overcooking. So just drop the paneer pieces in the hot gravy and turn of the heat. Let it soak for a couple of minutes and there you have it, Paneer Butter Masala ready-to-serve.
- To make it richer, I added some full-fat milk in the end. You can also add fresh cream if you wish.
Paneer Curry Recipe Variations – How to make vegan Paneer Butter Masala
- Replace Paneer with Tofu or any other non-dairy cheese
- You can use any neutral oil or extra virgin olive oil instead of Ghee
- Replace Fresh Cream or Milk in the end with Almond Milk, Cashew Milk or a dash of Coconut Milk
Paneer Curry Recipe Variations – How to make a nut-free Paneer Butter Masala
- Replace Cashew and Almonds with seeds like White Sesame Seeds, Melon Seeds, Flax Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Poppy Seeds
- If you wish to avoid both nuts & seeds, then you may add a little amount of cornflour or gram flour (besan) instead to thicken the gravy. Not a very ideal thing to do, but in case you are allergic to both nuts & seeds, you might give this a try
As against very popular perception, recipes like Paneer Butter Masala are usually harmless if consumed in a moderation. I mean, nobody eats this kind of food everyday! But there’s no reason to avoid it completely.
As they say, everything in a moderation can be good. So, don’t be scared to try this simple dinner recipe every once in a while. Replace full-fat paneer with low-fat paneer, add milk (like I did) instead of fresh cream or reduce the amount of ghee (although it is known to be a good fat) and replace that with mustard oil or EVOO. There are numerous ways of modifying this dish. And nobody is going to police you for that!
In case you are a big fan of such easy Paneer recipes like me, then you can try some of these.
- Quick Paneer Curry Recipe,
- Honey Chili Paneer Recipe,
- Paneer Pakoda Recipe
- Punjabi Palak Paneer Recipe
- Badami Paneer Korma Recipe
- Chanar Dalna Recipe | Bengali Paneer Kofta Curry
- Dry Paneer Manchurian Recipe
I have seen a lot of questions doing rounds about this dish of Paneer Butter Masala. I have attached a FAQ section in the bottom of the post. In case you have some queries, check out this section. In case you cannot find what you are looking for, leave it in the comments section. I will try to answer that as per the best of my knowledge.
Paneer Butter Masala or Butter Paneer is probably one of the most comforting Indian dishes. Cubes of Paneer (fresh cottage cheese) dunked in a luscious, buttery and slightly tangy tomato-based gravy, topped with a generous dollop of makkhan or white butter. This is how I imagine it while having it with some garlic naan or jeera rice for an exquisite dinner.
In this post, I will share the best recipe for a Dhaba style paneer butter masala with you. I will also give you alternate vegan options for this recipe for paneer butter masala.
- 250 gms Paneer or Cottage Cheese
- 2 Tomatoes Large – cut in cubes
- 1 Onion Large – cut in cubes
- 1 inch Ginger Chopped
- 6 Cloves of Garlic Chopped
- ½ inch Cinnamon
- 2 Dry Red Chilli
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 4 nos. Cloves
- Nuts & Seeds Cashew, Almonds, White Sesame Seeds, Melon Seeds – Use as per your preference.
- 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 2 tbsp Ghee
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1½ tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 tsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves or Kasuri Methi
- ½ tsp Red Chili Powder
- Salt to Taste
- ¼ cup Full Fat Milk or Fresh Cream
Heat Mustard Oil in a pan and add the spices, onion, tomatoes, ginger and garlic. Allow it to sweat till the onions become translucent.
Add the nuts and seeds in this and stir. I used 8 cashew nuts and 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
Allow this to cook for 2-3 minutes more on medium heat. Then turn off the heat and allow this cool down completely before turning it into a fine paste.
Since this would be the base of the gravy, make sure it is absolutely smooth.
In the same pan, heat some ghee and add this puree back. Start frying this and once it reduces a bit, add the powdered spices, kasuri methi, red chili powder and salt.
Mix everything well and fry till fat starts to separate at the edges.
Now, add the milk and water as per the required consistency of the gravy.
Add the paneer cubes, give it a stir and turn off the heat. Serve with Jeera Rice or Butter Naan
It has some good fat in it such as paneer, ghee, cashew, sesame seeds, etc. If consumed in moderation, it offers numerous health benefits. However, those with prior cardiac health concerns should consider precaution
It is just another name for Paneer Butter Masala
Usually Paneer Makhani is made with tomatoes, spices and paneer. It does not use onion, garlic and nuts & seeds
Paneer or Cottage Cheese is the freshly churned cheese made by curdling the milk using some kind of acid.
Paneer is known to be a good source of healthy fats and proteins. It has very little carbs hence it ist is excellent for weight loss and diabetics
Absolutely. Paneer is very healthy and in moderation, it can be consumed daily.
Yes, it can be consumed raw (uncooked) safely.
Absolutely. In this recipe of Paneer Butter Masala, I have switched fresh cream with milk and the resultant dish is absolutely perfect.
No. Paneer is obtained from milk, hence it is an animal product. So, it isn’t suited for veganism
Not always. You can, but you can add it the gravies uncooked as well.
Overcooking causes paneer to turn chewy and rubbery.
The answer lies in the process of making the paneer. If the coagulant was added to the milk before it boiled, it makes crumbly paneer.