Paneer makhani recipe is an absolutely delicious restaurant style easy paneer curry in tomato cashew gravy or sauce. I guarantee this is the only recipe you need for making the best paneer makhani at home, restaurant style or in fact better 🙂
It is a variation of restaurant style paneer butter masala recipe and tastes wonderful with roti, naan, jeera rice, peas pulao etc. Here is how to make perfect restaurant style paneer butter curry or paneer makhani with step by step photos.
Few days back I shared this super delicious makhani sauce with you guys. Many of you wanted the recipe for this paneer makhani curry and here it goes 🙂
This curry is super easy to make, delicious, creamy & pairs wonderfully with Indian breads & rice.
About This Recipe
Paneer makhani is a wonderful Punjabi curry with paneer as main ingredient. Makhani means butter so this is basically a variation of butter paneer masala. Though most of the ingredients used in this both curries are same, I always felt paneer butter masala is different from paneer makhani.
Making paneer makhani is super quick and easy. If you have tried my makhani gravy you can put together this curry literally in five minutes. Even if you are making from scratch you need just 20-25 minutes for making this curry.
Paneer makhani with hot butter naan, tandoori roti or mild rice recipes like corn pulao is our all time favorite dinner. I make this often as my kid loves it. I usually use homemade paneer so it is healthier too.
This Paneer Makhani Recipe Is
Very rich with smooth and flavorful gravy
Tastes unique with wonderful aroma
Restaurant style side dish for naan and other flatbread
Kid friendly, vibrant
Easy to make, sauce can be made ahead.
As I said above this is paneer curry where you first prepare a moderately spiced, smooth and slightly tangy makahni sauce. To that sauce you further add paneer cubes and simmer for few minutes.
- tomatoes- fresh tomatoes form the base of this gravy so use really good, plump and ripe tomatoes. i prefer to sue desi tomatoes over salad ones.
- butter or oil- You can use either butter or oil to make this gravy depending on your preference.
- Cashews- my biggest tip for making super rich and creamy paneer makhani is cashews. Soak cashews for good 30 minutes in warm water, grind to a very fine paste and let it sit for another 30 minutes. What you have now is wonderful cashew cream that yields excellently rich curry. also use 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
- Whole Spices– Regular whole spices like bay leaf, cloves and cardamom. You can also use kashmiri red chillies. You can also use powdered spices.
- Spice powders- The set of standard spice powders you use for most of the Indian curries like turmeric powder, chili powder, garam masala powder. For a vibrant color in the gravy you can use Kashmiri red chilli powder. Powdered spices can also be used.
- Saffron- It is my secret ingredient in this restaurant style paneer makhani curry. It adds such a delicate flavor note and color to the curry better than restaurants. For a richer flavor you can also use a pinch of cardamom powder.
- Cream– I have added cashew cream for the sauce but you can also use heavy cream, whipping cream or low fat fresh cream too.
- Paneer– Paneer is also known as Indian cottage cheese. It is a soft fresh cheese that holds shape on sautéing, frying & widely used in Indian cooking. Instead of paneer you can also use halloumi or tofu. Use good quality soft paneer for best tasting curry.
- Butter– This whole curry is cooked in butter true to its name. You can use both salted or unsalted butter
- Kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves for flavor.
- Coriander leaves– fresh finely chopped.
- Ginger garlic paste or freshly minced.
How To Make Paneer Makhani
First of all soak cashews in warm water for 30 minutes. Strain and grind to a very smooth adding water as required. Set this aside undisturbed. It thickens and becomes creamy.
Next bring a pot of water to rolling boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Add rinsed tomatoes after scoring them on top and add to the boiling water. Blanch for five minutes.
Now rinse under cold water and peel the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to a blender jar and blend into a very smooth pulp.
Now blend the soaked cashew nuts into a very smooth puree along with the water or add more if needed.
Making Paneer Makhani
Heat butter or oil in a thick pan. Add the whole spices and fry for a minute.
Next add the minced ginger garlic or paste, slit green chilies and saute.
Next add tomato puree and mix well. Cook in medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.
Simmer for 5-6 minutes or till the tomato puree reduces a bit.
Once reduced, add spice powders and salt. Now you can also add 1 tablespoon tomato paste for vibrant color & flavor.
Simmer till the tomatoes are well cooked and releases fat from the sides.
Add 1.5 cups water, cover and simmer for 12 minutes so that the gravy thickens
Add the cashew paste reserving a bit for garnish. Mix well and simmer for 2 minutes.
Add paneer cubes and mix gently. Simmer for a minute.
Finally add saffron strands, add kasuri methi and mix well. Now you can also add garam masala, just a pinch if you like.
Serve paneer makhani hot or warm after transferring to a serving bowl.
Tips To Make Best Paneer Makhani
First of all use best fresh paneer for any paneer recipe. Homemade paneer is best and second is fresh one from trusted brands.
If using store bought paneer you can slightly toast it before adding to the curry.
I have used cashew cream instead of fresh cream. You can easily replace cashew paste with fresh cream
For lighter curry you can use almond paste.
Adding saffron lends a beautiful color and flavor. After adding saffron mix really well.
After adding paneer do not boil and also do not simmer for long as it will make paneer chewy.
Make It Vegan
A vegan paneer makhani is technically not possible as when you replace paneer and butter with something else it is no longer paneer makhani 🙂 However you can totally make this curry vegan by replacing
- butter with oil or vegan butter
- Paneer with tofu
- cream with cashew cream (this recipe uses cashew cream only)
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have homemade or store bought makhani sauce then here is how you use it.
Heat 1/2 teaspoon butter or oil in a pan. Add 1 cup of makhani sauce with a splash of water. Stored sauce thickens so the water is required. Mix well and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Add the paneer cubes and mix well. Simmer for a minute and remove from flame. Makhani sauce is basically a creamy tomato based sauce.
Basically both paneer butter masala and paneer makhani are made in the same way. Spiced tomato gravy is sauteed in butter to which you add paneer cubes.
However paneer butter masala has a sweet taste due to the use of onions and sugar. Paneer makhani has more sharp flavor and taste as we don’t use onions in this. Moreover fresh cream is optional in paneer makhani but used in butter paneer masala.
Both these dishes are derivatives from butter chicken recipe. In the vegetarian variation paneer cubes are used instead of meat.
They are two different recipes. Shahi paneer is often made without tomatoes while the base of makhani curry are fresh tomatoes.
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Paneer Makhani Recipe
1 CUP = 250 ml
For Makhani Sauce
- 15 cashews soaked in warm water
- 4 large tomatoes ripe
- 1 tablespoon butter OR oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 inch cinnamon stick
- 2 green cardamoms
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste or 1/2 teaspoon each minced ginger, garlic
- 1 green chili slit
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kasuri methi
- 10 saffron strands
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
For Paneer Makhani Curry
- 2 cups cubed paneer or Tofu (Soy Paneer)
Prepping For Paneer Makhani
- First of all soak cashews in warm water for 30 minutes. Strain and grind to a very smooth adding water as required. Set this aside undisturbed. It thickens and becomes creamy.
- Next bring a pot of water to rolling boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Add rinsed tomatoes after scoring them on top and add to the boiling water. Blanch for five minutes.
- Now rinse under cold water and peel the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to a blender jar and blend into a very smooth pulp.
- Now blend the soaked cashews into a very smooth paste along with the water or add more if needed.
Making Paneer Makhani
- Heat butter in a thick pan. Add the whole spices and fry for a minute
- Next add the minced ginger garlic, slit green chilies and saute. Next add tomato puree and mix well.
- Simmer for 5-6 minutes or till the tomato puree reduces a bit.
- Once reduced, add spice powders and salt.
- Simmer till the tomatoes are well cooked and releases fat from the sides.
- Add 1.5 cups water, cover and simmer for 12 minutes so that the gravy thickens
- Add the cashew paste reserving a bit for garnish. Mix well and simmer for 2 minutes. Add paneer cubes and mix. Simmer for a minute.
- Increase or decrease spice powders as per taste
- The recipe can be doubled or halved
- Vegans can use tofu instead of paneer and oil instead of butter