October 5, 2009

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe | Restaurant-Style & Step by Step

Let's talk about Paneer Butter Masala today. Not just any kind, the kind that you get in Indian restaurants. Why? Well, I've already posted the Paneer Butter Masala Recipe I usually make, long back. Its also one of the most popular recipes on this site for two reasons:

- since its a popular Indian dish, a lot of people have tried it from my site and sent me feedback.
- this is the only recipe that has received as many good feedback as disappointing feedback.

Most people said this or a variation of this - "I tried your paneer butter masala recipe today. It came out nicely, I did everything you mentioned but it didn't come out like the one we had in that North Indian restaurant last weekend and my husband/wife/mom/dad/sibling loved! Help!"
I guess they found my Paneer Butter Masala Recipe too homely!

In most Indian restaurants, dishes are more creamy and have thicker gravy. The reason is very simple - they use cream. They use it as the base of every dish you order and it may make the dish arguably tastier. This is not hard to whip at home provided you have no qualms about adding that bit of cream and kicking up the amount of oil a notch.

So here it is, my second Paneer Butter Masala Recipe, like they serve in Indian restaurants!

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant Style
I'd say the only thing that's different from this dish and the one you get in Indian restaunts is the difference in the colour. That's because they add red food colour and I didn't. Note: I have updated the ingredients and measurements based on many trials of this paneer butter masala recipe, in case you have tried it before and can notice the changes.

You may also wish to try some of my other super popular paneer recipes - matar paneer, paneer jalfrezi, and paneer tikka.


Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

2 cups of cubed paneer or tofu
1 cup of sliced onions
2 tsp of ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp of red chilli powder (adjust to your taste)
1 tbsp of canned tomato paste (or 1 cup tomato puree)
2 tsp of tomato ketchup
1 large pinch kasuri methi
3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup of cream
2 tbsp of butter or oil

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the paneer/tofu cubes until golden brown. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add 1 more tbsp oil and fry the onions until golden brown.
  3. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.
  4. Next, add the dhania, garam masala, chilli powder and some salt. Fry for 30 seconds.
  5. To this, add the tomato paste/puree, tomato sauce and kasuri methi. Mix well and add the milk.
  6. Lower fire and cook covered for 5 mins.
  7. Open lid, add the fried paneer/tofu and the cream. Mix well and simmer for 3-4 mins.
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with nan, roti, pulao, or jeera rice

Step by Step Pictures to make Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleAdd 2 tbsp oil to a hot pan and swirl around until the base of the pan is well coated.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleAdd in cubed paneer pieces.

(Sidenote: Let's please pretend these are paneer pieces 'cuz its actually tofu. I was out of paneer and couldn't go all the way to get some. Also, it tastes as good with tofu, trust me!)

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleLightly fry the paneer cubes until golden brown on all sides.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleDrain and set aside on a plate lined with a paper napkin.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleAdd 1tbsp oil to the same pan and thrown 1 medium-sized chopped onion.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleFry until golden brown. To this, add 1 tbsp freshly minced ginger-garlic paste. (Ok fine, use your bottled paste, it just doesn't taste as good)

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleFry for a minute.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleTo this, add 1 tbsp dhania powder/malli podi, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp garam masala and 1/2 tsp salt. Fry for 30 seconds until the masalas are well combined.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleNext you need 1 tbsp tomato paste. I used the same kind I used for the Tomato Spinach Pulao. If you don't have tomato paste handy, just puree 1 medium-sized tomato and add it at this stage.
Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleNext we need tomato ketchup or tomato sauce, the bottled Maggi/Heinz kind. Add in an almost-1tbsp of this.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleBring out your kasuri methi next. A generous pinch of this needs to go in.

(This picture makes my heart break, btw. The focus should've been on the kasuri methi but its actually on the blob of tomato sauce in the pan. Well, I took only one shot and my hands were smeared with oil and ketchup and I had to balance.. oh never mind!)

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleTo this mixture, add 1/2 cup milk. Mix well and cook covered for about 5 minutes on low fire.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleMeanwhile, bring out the secret ingredient for making restaurant-style paneer butter masala (or any Indian curry for that matter). CREAM!

I used Nestle cream but if you have fresh cream, please oh please use that. Just open the can and set aside or get your fresh cream ready.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleOnce the tomato sauce mixture has cooked covered for 5 mins, open and add the fried paneer.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant StyleTop this off with 1 cup cream. Mix well and simmer on low fire for 3-4 mins. Adjust salt.

Paneer Butter Masala Recipe - Restaurant Style
Serve paneer butter masala warm with nan / veg pulao / jeera rice, etc

Its yummy, no doubt. Probably not something you want to make every weekend but its good when you entertain guests and people end up having only 2-3 spoons of one dish anyway. Its also a good recipe to "wow" your non-Indian friends.

Because when they say Paneer Butter Masala, this is what they expect!

For Paneer Butter Masala recipe in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, please use the Google Translate button on the top right of this website.

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