Paneer butter Masala

You know my favourite part of doing yoga?

At the very end of the class, when you lie down, stretch out, close your eyes and relax. It looks like I am not the only one who feels that way. Many friends thought the same too. People liked having somebody instructing them to rest. It feels legitimate. It feels delicious. You’ve done your yoga and you’ve earned it.

My biggest fear is that I might fall asleep on the yoga mat and somebody’d have to kick me awake. I take my yoga very seriously.

Yeah, I started taking yoga classes a couple of weeks back. I thought you’d never ask.

I am really enjoying these yoga classes. It feels like I was always meant to do yoga. Would you believe that I set out to learn yoga last year when I planned to lose weight? I let myself be convinced that it wouldn’t work for me – that I won’t ever be able to make it on time to a scheduled class and that I wouldn’t lose weight with yoga.

I am regularly late for class and I am not sure I’ve lost weight. But I am enjoying doing yoga. I am not even doing it that well. That’s like unconditional love.

I am posting this article today and today is International yoga day. That surely must be a sign.   

Happy International Yoga day people!

I frequently get excited about something new that’s caught my fancy and I can’t stop talking about it. Thanks for reading that! I am ever grateful for your support.

If you’re here for the paneer butter masala, please read on.

At the risk of adding one more recipe to the already inundated world of Paneer butter masala, I present to you my Paneer butter Masala recipe; the recipe that I came up with after many many iterations and which probably bears a strong similarity to 95% of the recipes out there.

Paneer butter masala



How different can a Paneer butter masala recipe be? They all involve cooking down onions and tomatoes to a nice smooth sauce, they all call for a mix of spice powders to be cooked until the raw small goes away and they’re all unmistakably delicious, yummy and drool-worthy.

Having made that impressive pitch on why you should try my recipe, let me warn you that it’s one of the simplest versions out there. So simple, so modest that you may doubt it’s that good.

I’ve come to believe more and more in the power of simplicity in cooking. Sometimes the simplest version is the best version. Also in the little details. Using too much water to cook rice can make the rice taste flat. Using a whole lot of water in the idli gundaan will mean longer heating time and therefore longer cooking time for the idli which can mean not-so-soft idlis. Every little detail matters.

Paneer butter masala

The secret to a really good paneer butter masala is, you wouldn’t believe… BUTTER. I kid you not. I’ve made many a paneer butter masala but with just a small spoon of butter and wondered why my paneer butter masala wasn’t there yet. Something seemed amiss. It didn’t occur to me that the butter in the middle is there for a reason.

This version of Paneer butter masala rightly uses only butter and no cooking oil. I’d suggest adding a generous pat of butter for the best taste.


The highlight of this recipe is the smooth, slightly sweet, subtly spiced sauce. The only ingredients to this sauce are onions and tomatoes and a small assortment of spice powders. You let the onions and tomatoes boil away in just enough water to immerse them to take out the pungent bite from the onions and to round out the sharp flavours. The cooked onions and tomatoes are then pureed smooth and taken back to the stove. Use a light hand in adding a dash of red chilli powder, turmeric powder and cumin powder and a scant cup of water. Mix everything up and let it bubble away for about 10 minutes or until you can see oily specks around the edges. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Paneer butter masala

At this stage it is absolutely mandatory that you add a little sugar. I usually add up to a teaspoon of sugar. Adding sugar melds all the different flavours into one beautiful whole. The sauce has to have a slight sweet undertone. This is the Paneer butter masala I have grown up eating and it has to taste that way. I am sorry if they don’t do it this way in Punjab. Tip in paneer cubes and cook for a few mins. To finish it off, sprinkle in some Kasuri methi, and stir in some butter and fresh cream. That’s it. No ginger-garlic. No whole spices. No cashew-nut paste. No complicated process. The last few ingredients are extremely crucial though. The sugar, the butter and the cream make the dish.

I’ve finally settled on one paneer masala recipe that I’ll stick to.

Paneer butter masala
Serves 4
A fuss-free simple paneer butter masala that will never fail you!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
  1. Ingredients
  2. Paneer – 200 gm
  3. Onions – 3 large roughly chopped
  4. Tomatoes – 3 large roughly chopped
  5. Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  6. Cumin powder – ¾ tsp
  7. Turmeric powder – ¾ tsp
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Butter – 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp
  10. Fresh cream – 2-3 tbsp (or whole milk)
  11. Sugar – ½ tsp to 1 tsp
  12. Kasuri Methi – 1 tsp
  1. 1. To a pan, add the chopped onions and tomatoes and pour just enough water to cover thAem. Turn heat to high and cook until most of the water has evaporated and the onions and tomatoes are cooked through. Switch off and allow to cool down completely.
  2. 2. Once cooled down, transfer the cooked onions and tomatoes to a blender and blend to a smooth puree.
  3. 3. To the same pan, add about 2 tablespoon of butter. Pour the puree back into the pan. Add all the spice powders and salt and mix well. Add about a cup of water. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and cook until little specks of oil shimmer at the sides of the pan – about 10-12 minutes.
  4. 4. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the sugar and mix well. Taste again. Tip in the paneer cubes and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 2-4 minutes.
  5. 5. Sprinkle Kasuri methi and stir in the cream and remaining butter. Switch off.
  6. 6. Serve hot with chappathis.
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