This tasty paneer Makhani is made with tomatoes, cream, cashews and spices. Quick to make and thoroughly delicious, it's a vegetarian curry everyone will love.
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I mentioned when I shared my fragrant chicken curry that our household is quite a fan of curry, though these days less hot ones since our toddler doesn't do chili.
We've fallen out of the habit of having spicier dishes as much ourselves since I don't always want to make separate dishes. We make the odd exception, mind you, like Goan fish curry.
I also do like if a curry has enough depth of flavor to it that it doesn't really need to be that spicy to truly taste it.
This paneer Makhani is a good case in point as the sauce is incredibly tasty, and while you certainly can add chili, as I have indicated, it works really well without any as well. And another added bonus is it is pretty quick and easy to make.
Even if you don't think you are a fan of Indian food, I'd urge you to give this a try, it's simply delicious.
What does paneer taste like?
Paneer is a kind of firm, mild cheese used in Indian cooking. It doesn't have that much of a taste since it is not salted or aged, but works well in cooking. It works really well when served with rich, flavorful sauces.
Does paneer need to be cooked?
No, you can eat paneer just as it is. However, given it's very neutral flavor, I'd say it works best when is curries and other similar dishes.
What's the difference between paneer Makhani and paneer butter masala?
You may have come across paneer Makhani as paneer butter masala before - they are the same thing. "Makhan" means butter in Hindi and is part of what gives this dish it's rich flavor.
The Makhani sauce in this dish is made with butter, pureed tomatoes, cream and then in many cases cashew nuts as well as various flavorings.
I have adapted a few recipes I found and simplified the process to make the version below which is still pretty authentic to the Punjabi original and, as I say, truly delicious. Even hardened meat eaters will happily dig in (even if it is alongside a meat curry as well).
There's not really too much to say on the process of making this as it's fairly straightforward. You can see how it all comes together in the short video.
Tips for making paneer Makhani
- Make sure you have chopped your ginger and garlic a bit before you puree, just to make sure they have a head start at breaking up and mixing through.
- Then, once you put the pureed tomato mixture in the pan, make sure you stir it fairly regularly so it doesn't stick and burn.
- Finally, once you add the cream it is best not to cook it too vigorously but unlike yoghurt, it is a lot more stable so won't separate out so don't worry too much.
Really, though, it's pretty easy and is so tasty you'll wonder why you didn't make it before!
I have this habit of going all overboard with curries as I can never decide my favorite, and so when I made this paneer Makhani earlier in the week I also made a chicken curry, particularly for my son, and an eggplant curry.
These were served up with rice and bread - we often have naan but this time I saw some nice-looking parathi. All of them were great and we had tons of leftovers, but that's one of the best things like dishes like this - they are also great the next day, or cold for lunch.
This paneer Makhani is full of flavor - rich, comforting and yet so easy to make too. Perfect for any night.
Try these other delicious Indian curries:
- Chana masala (chickpea curry)
- Goan fish curry
- Kerala style sambar (a split pea/lentil and vegetable stew)
- Lamb rogan josh (in slow cooker)
- Plus get more ideas in the Indian recipes archives.
- 2 ½ cups tomatoes 400g, approx 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup raw unsalted cashews 35g
- 1 clove garlic large, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger approx 1in/2.5cm piece, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 green chili roughly chopped (optional)
- 1 tbsp butter 10g
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp heavy cream (double cream)
- 8 oz paneer 225g, cut in to cubes
- 1 handful cilantro coriander, roughly chopped
- Puree together the tomatoes, cashews, ginger, garlic and chili if using until there are no large pieces.
- Melt the butter in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and cook for a minute before adding the coriander and turmeric. Stir and cook a minute more.
- Add the tomato mixture and the sugar. Cook, stirring now and then, for around 15-20 minutes until it reduces down slightly and you see the butter bubbling through the tomatoes.
- Add the cream and paneer, stir and reduce to a simmer and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the cilantro (or put over the top for decoration and to allow people to do themselves) and serve.
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