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Paneer Makhani

Paneer Makhani is a North Indian dish in which pieces of paneer cubes float in a silky, smooth, rich and a tad sweet tomato-ey sauce. An entrée dish fit for parties and occasions, it’s amazing how easily it comes together. In the mood for it on a weekday evening, no problem! Just use tomato paste, instead of fresh tomatoes. Topping off with cream at the end glosses over everything.

Serves 4



  • 2 tablespoons salted butter

Dry Whole Spices

  • 3 cloves

  • 1 green cardamom pod

  • 1 cinnamon stick about 1/2" long

  • 3-4 peppercorns

Other Spices, seasonings and alliums

  • 1 teaspoon peeled, grated ginger

  • 2 medium garlic cloves peeled and minced (you can grate garlic too)

  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


  • 6 Roma tomatoes

Other Ingredients

  • 3 tsp tomato paste

  • 2 cups paneer cubes, 1"

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves

Serve With

  • Store bought Naan


  • Knife

  • Cutting board

  • Peeler

  • Grater

  • Blender


  • Two thick-bottomed pots

  • 1 sauté pan

  • Wooden stirring spoon


For a faster, weekday version, skip fresh tomatoes and replace them by increasing the tomato paste in the recipe from 3 tsp to about 7 tsp. Mix tomato paste with ¾ cup water and get a puree consistency and follow the recipe skipping steps 2, 3, 4 and 8.

  1. Place 2 cups of water in a pot to boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, drop paneer pieces carefully. Turn the heat off, cover, and set aside.

  2. Boil another 5 cups of water in a pot. When the water is boiling, make two cuts, in the shape of an “X” at the base of a tomato. Place the tomatoes in boiling water, turn the heat off and cover them with a lid.

  3. After 10 minutes, take the tomatoes out of the water carefully and let them cool.

  4. Peel the tomatoes, chop them into big pieces and blend smoothly. Set aside.

  5. Heat the 2 Tbsp butter in a wide sauté pan.

  6. Add whole spices, cloves (3) , cardamom (1) , cinnamon stick (1/2 inch long) and peppercorns (3-4) . Sauté for 2 min. Take the spices out and discard as they have done their job of infusing the butter with spices.

  7. Add grated ginger and minced garlic to the butter. Sauté for 2 minutes.

  8. Pour tomato puree and cook for about 10 minutes. The goal is to get rid of the raw taste of tomatoes. Cover with a lid to avoid spluttering. Do stir the puree 2-3 times.

  9. Combine tomato paste, garam masala (3/4 tsp), salt (3/4 tsp), sugar (1/2 tsp) and red chili powder (1/2 tsp) into the puree. Stir well and add ½ cup water to temper the consistency, and let the mixture boil.

  10. Take the paneer pieces out of the water with a slotted spoon and ease into the tomato mixture. Mix well and let cook for 5 min.

  11. Turn the heat off and pour the cream (1/2 cup). Stir well.

  12. Sprinkle kasuri methi (11/2 tsp) and serve hot with store bought Naan.


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