Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 30 mins
Total Time : 40 mins
For cashew paste
- 18 to 20 whole cashews
- ⅓ cup hot water for soaking cashews
For tomato puree
- 2 cups diced tomatoes or 300 grams tomatoes or 4 to 5 medium size – pureed
For ginger-garlic paste
- 1 inch ginger
- 3 to 4 medium -sized garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons Butter or 1 tablespoon oil + 1 or 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf) – optional
- ½ to 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or deghi mirch or ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
- 1.5 cups water or add as required
- 1 inch ginger – julienned, reserve a few for garnish
- 1 or 2 green chili – slit, reserve a few for garnish
- 200 to 250 grams Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) – cubed or diced
- 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) – optional
- ½ to 1 teaspoon Garam Masala or tandoori masala
- 2 to 3 tablespoons low-fat cream or half & half or 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream – optional
- ¼ to 1 teaspoon sugar – optional, add as required depending on the sourness of the tomatoes
- salt as required
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro ) – optional
- a few ginger julienne
- 1 tablespoon low fat cream or 1 tablespoon heavy cream – optional
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Butter – optional
Soak cashews in a hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. When the cashews are soaking, you can prep the other ingredients like chopping tomatoes, preparing ginger-garlic paste, slicing paneer etc.
Then drain and add the soaked cashews in a blender or mixer-grinder.
Add 2 to 3 tablespoons water and blend to a smooth paste without any tiny bits or pieces of cashews.
In the same blender add the roughly chopped tomatoes. No need to blanch the tomatoes before blending.
Blend to a smooth tomato puree. Keep aside. Don’t add any water while blending the tomatoes.
Making tomato gravy
Melt butter in a pan on a low flame. Add tej patta and fry for 2 to 3 seconds or till the oil become fragrant.
Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for some seconds till the raw aroma disappears.
Add the tomato puree and stir well. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Then add kashmiri red chili powder and stir again. Continue to sauté till the oil starts to leave the sides of the tomato paste. The tomato paste will thicken considerably and will start coming together as one whole lump.
Then add cashew paste and stir well. Sauté the cashew paste for a few minutes till the oil begins to leave the sides of the masala paste.
The cashew paste will begin to cook fast. Approx 3 to 4 minutes on a low flame. So keep stirring non-stop.
Making paneer butter masala
Add water and mix very well. Simmer on a low flame.
The curry will come to a boil.
After 2 to 3 minutes of boiling, add ginger julienne. Reserve a few for garnishing. The curry will also begin to thicken.
Add julienned ginger and green chillies, salt and sugar and simmer till the curry begins to thicken.
After 3 to 4 minutes, add slit green chillies. also add salt as per taste and ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar (optional).
You can vary the sugar quantity from ¼ tsp to 1 teaspoon or more depending on the sourness of the tomatoes. Sugar is optional and you can skip it too. If you add cream, then you will need to add less sugar.
Mix very well and simmer for a minute.
After the gravy thickens to your desired consistency, then add the paneer cubes and stir gently. i keep the gravy to a medium consistency.
After that add crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves), garam masala and cream. Gently mix and then switch off the flame.
Garnish it with coriander leaves and ginger julienne.
You can even dot the gravy with some butter or drizzle some cream.
Serve paneer butter masala hot with plain naan, garlic naan, roti, paratha or steamed basmati or jeera rice or even peas pulao.
Side accompaniments can be an onion-cucumber salad or some pickle. Also serve some lemon wedges by the side.