Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Makhani light

Last week I was down with a severe cold and back pain that forced me to rest and in bed which meant watching a lot of TV. Day time TV is terrible for everybody who watches it if you didn't know that already. It made my cold get worse and also made my head hurt. The Talk where a bunch of women sit around talking is bad when it comes in the morning and now they have a version of it coming in the afternoon which is downright terrible.

There were several innocuous dumb and utterly useless programs but what got my goat was the tweet from our oh so frivolous first lady about her new hair style. Really? Isn't she the Commander in Chief's wife and there are soldiers fighting in two wars and coming home with serious injuries and serious problems. And here were our so called journalists going gaga over hair. Everyone on TV and radio were all so excited about Obama's new hair style you'd think she has achieved something significant like world peace. NPR the so called serous news radio also devoted time to this very important news?!. Seriously people her hairstyle? And those of you who are about ready to jump to her defense it was her or her staff who helpfully tweeted that stupid picture. She is worse than a Hollywood starlet when it comes to bragging about her clothes and fashion. Why insult Hollywood starlets she seems to be in a league of her own when it comes to silly air headed stuff.

How convenient an excuse for everybody to latch on to something like this when there are more pressing matters to deal with. Her husband the President no doubt conveniently feeds into this frenzy so he can avoid answering tough questions. If I don't trust him to effectively deal with the matters of the country can I be faulted?

Sorry guys I am not sure if I can handle four more years of this kind nonsense and I hope the silly season is over.

I bet you are all ready for some recipe now and here goes.

Though Paneer is not one of my favorites the kids can't seem to get enough of it. The emergency ready to eat meals that we have at home are all some form of paneer or the other. But the tiny pieces of paneer in there satisfies nobody. If you want plump juicy paneer that tastes good the only way is to make it at home.

I do not like using cream because it makes the gravy too rich and oily. I substitute with Greek Yogurt. Thick plain yogurt will work fine too. If you like the cream by all means use it as well.

Paneer Butter Masala Light
  1. 14 oz block of paneer cut into cubes
  2. 14 oz can of diced San Marzano tomatoes or 4 fresh red plum tomatoes, pureed
  3. 1 medium sized red onion cut very fine or grated in a food processor or ground to a paste
  4. 5 garlic cloves minced fine
  5. 1 1/2 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
  6. 1/2 tbsp of coriander powder
  7. 1/4 inch piece of cinnamon, 2 cloves whole or powdered powdered or a 1 tsp of garam masala powder
  8. 1 6 oz tub of Honey Greek Yogurt or 6 oz yogurt + 2 tsp of honey
  9. 1 tbsp of Kashmiri chili powder + 1/2 tbsp of red chili powder
  10. 2 tsp of kasoori methi or a handful of coriander leaves
  11. 6 almonds blanched and blended to a fine paste
  12. salt to taste
  13. 2-3 tsp of butter + 2 tsp of oil
  1. In a flat bottomed pan heat the butter + oil and when hot add the whole spice followed by the onions. I like use cut onions or minced in the food processor rather than paste because it cooks faster. Saute till the onions turn brown. Add in the garlic and ginger and saute for a couple more minutes.
  2. Add the pureed tomatoes + 1/2 cup of water and let it simmer till the tomatoes lose their raw smell about 8-10 minutes.
  3. While the tomatoes are cooking heat a saute pan and smear with butter and saute the paneer so they are browned gently on all sides. Set aside.
  4. Add in the chilli powder and kasoori methi or coriander leaves and let cook for another 3 minutes or so.
  5. Bring the heat to low and whisk in the yogurt and almond paste, raise heat to just below medium and cook for another 3-4 minutes. (see note)
  6. Add in the paneer and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let sit for half an hour before serving.
1. While using yogurt in cooking do not add yogurt while the heat is on high bring the heat all the way to low, add the yogurt or cream mix gently and then slowly raise the heat.

Perfect with chapathis, naans or rice.


  1. This one is my sons fav,..take. Care,..

  2. Loving this light version, very catchy and eye pleasing gravy,terrific colour.

  3. Good to hear you are better now. I hardly watch TV during the day, well and if i watch something then it is some food show :-)
    I love the idea if using greek youghurt instead of the cream. And i am in love with that color.

  4. I must admit I like the taste that cream lends to these gravies but when making a regular meal at home (and not entertaining), I also like to substitute with yogurt or light cream cheese. Using greek yogurt is a good idea - a lot more thicker. VEry tempting gravy.

  5. your butter paneer is truly making me hungry. has a beautiful color. I rarely have cream at home so add yogurt or milk

    I missed the new hairstyle news. NPR too ?

    1. I think it is the Kashmiri chilli powder.

      Lucky you Sandeepa, you did not watch day time TV ;)
      Yes the very next day on NPR too.


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