Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins
For makhani gravy (Base used for any makhani or butter chicken)
• Jeera (cumin seeds) 1 tsp
• Green cardamom 3-4 nos. (Hari elaichi)
• Kashmiri red chillies 1-2 nos. (Optional: Use can increase the powder if not used, I use it for the color)
• Garlic cloves 5-6 nos.
• Ginger ½ inch
• Onion 1 medium size (roughly sliced)
• Tomatoes 4-5 medium size (roughly chopped)
• Coriander powder 1 tsp
• Cashew nuts 10-12 nos.
• Turmeric powder 1/4th tsp
• Salt to taste
• Water 200-300 ml
• Garam masala ½ tsp
• Butter 1 tbsp
• Set a pan or a wok on medium heat, add jeera, green cardamom, Kashmiri red chillies, ginger, garlic cloves, onions, tomatoes, coriander powder, cashew nuts, turmeric powder, salt, and water, Add garam masala and butter, mix well, cover and cook for 15 minutes on medium heat. Stir in intervals to prevent it from sticking and burning. (Usually you can just leave it alone, the water prevents it sticking)
• Cool down to room temperature and transfer the mixture to the grinding jar, grind into a fine paste. Your Makhani gravy base is ready it can used in making butter chicken, makhani pasta or any dish that you would like to be creative with.
For paneer makhani
• Butter 1 tbsp + oil 1 tsp
• Jeera (cumin seeds) 1 tsp
• Ginger 1 inch (julienne)
• Green chillies 1-2 nos. (chopped/sliced)
• Paneer 350 gm (cubes)
• Salt a pinch
• Kashmiri red chilli powder 1 tsp
• Honey/ sugar 1 tbsp (optional)
• Kasuri methi 1 tsp (toasted)
• Fresh cream 1 tbsp
• Butter 1 tsp (optional)
• Fresh coriander 1 tbsp (chopped)
• Set a pan or wok on medium heat, add butter & oil, jeera, ginger, and green chillies, mix well and sauté it for a minute.
• Add paneer cubes to the same wok/pan, sprinkle some salt to taste and lightly fry the paneer from all sides until light golden brown.
• Remove the paneer from the pan and keep aside, in the same pan add the Kashmiri red chilli powder and bleed out the colour by mixing it. DO not cook it further as the chilli powder will burn otherwise, remember to keep the flame really low.
• Next, strain the makhani gravy using a sieve and add to the wok/pan, mix, and cook for 2-3 minutes. A lot of you think that there is a lot of wastage but if you grind it very fine there would not be any wastage.
• Adjust the gravy consistency by adding water if it becomes too thick, cook for 2-3 minutes.
• Further add the lightly fried paneer cubes to the gravy and mix gently.
• Next, if you want to balance the taste of sour and sweet you can go ahead and add honey or sugar depending on your consumption, adding of any sweetener is totally optional, if your more likely to have a spicy palate you can simply skip it. The makhani gravy I make is not really sweet, eben addition of 1 tbsp of sugar or honey does not make it sweet but balances the taste. If you like the sweet version skip the whole Kashmiri chillies completely & increase the sugar/honey quantity.
• Add some lightly toasted kasuri methi, just rub it between your clean and dry palms before adding it.
• Add a pinch of garam masala and salt to taste, mix gently and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Now lower or switch of the flame before adding the cream, otherwise the cream will split and leave the ghee.
• Add fresh cream, if you don’t have market ready fresh cream then you can add fresh home cream. Stir gently and mix well.
• Add a blob butter if you want to finish it with some more richness, we have added very less butter overall for a serving of 4 persons restaurants add in a lot, if you’re health conscious you’re allowed to skip it completely in the intial stages and add it just over here for the added flavour.
• Add some freshly chopped coriander leaves and mix well, your restaurant style paneer makhani is ready to be served, serve hot with butter naan, butter paratha or any Indian bread or roti of your choice. Garnish it by pouring a dash of fresh cream before serving in the bowl.
To Note: I have not added a lot of whole spices in the initial gravy because I have used the powdered garam masala. You have an option too add whole dalchini, tez patta, kaali mirch, moti elaichi & cloves (Laung) to the Makhani base. You will have to discard the spices before grinding. I use powdered spices as the flavor is then controllable & its also more convenient. That’s the way I like it. Enjoy!