Paneer Methi Masala is a North Indian style curry loaded with fresh fenugreek leaves, soft chunks of paneer and spices simmered in a mildly rich onion tomato cashew nut-based gravy.
I have used store brought paneer for this recipe but homemade paneer also tastes good. If you don’t want to make paneer at home, then you can find paneer (cottage cheese) at your local grocery stores like Costco, or from Indian grocery stores.
When I have excess paneer at home, I simply cube and freeze them in freezer-safe containers. Whenever I want to use frozen paneer, I just thaw them at room temperature and put them in hot water till they turn soft.
You can use almonds instead of cashews, if you’d prefer. Also, I have tried this dish with malai(which we get/make by skimming the top of boiled milk in India) instead of heavy cream and it comes out good. Coconut milk can also be used as a substitute.
- Methi (fenugreek leaves) is the star ingredient in this recipe and shines through by introducing a hint of bitterness into this dish.
- Paneer (cottage cheese) – Paneer makes an excellent addition to vegetarian dishes because it adds protein to the dish. Homemade or store-bought paneer cubed into 1-inch pieces.
- Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Green chilies, Tomatoes, and Cashews– I have used roughly diced onions,tomatoes, green chilli along with garlic and ginger. When sautéed and blended together, they form the creamy base of this curry. You can also use almonds instead. In some restaurants, they use a combination of white melon seeds (magaj) and cashew nuts.
- Oil or Butter: use any of them as per your preference.
- Heavy cream is what gives this dish a rich, creamy taste. I do skip it from time to time to save on calories. You can also use cashew or coconut cream.
- Spices – Some spices pop up in almost every recipe I try – cumin, dried red chili(optional), curry leaves(optional), bay leaf, and turmeric for color. Every Indian dish is incomplete without salt. Add red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder as desired, and sprinkle garam masala to make it more delicious.
Step by step instructions:
- To begin, heat a pan or kadhai on medium heat and add oil. Once the oil heats up, add onions, ginger, garlic, green chilies, cashews, tomatoes, and salt. Fry until the onions are translucent and soft, for about 8-10 minutes. Add salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala(optional), and mix it.
2. Remove from the heat and allow this mixture to cool for at least 8-10 minutes. Once cooled, blend the mixture into a fine puree.
3. Next, add oil to the pan and heat. Once it is hot, add shahi jeera. When the shahi jeera starts sizzling, add bay leaf to the pan. You can also add green cardamom, black cardamom, cinnamon stick, and peppercorns, if you’d like.
4. After that, add the puree to the pan. Cook it for 5-7 minutes.
5. Add 1/2 cup of water, and 1 tsp sugar. Adding sugar balances the flavors and so you can add 1 teaspoon of sugar or 1 teaspoon of honey in the end. Mix well and allow the mixture to come to a boil.
6. Add methi leaves to the mixture and mix.
7. Gently add paneer pieces into the mixture. Mix and let the gravy simmer for 5-7 minutes.
8. Turn it to low flame. Add fresh cream, if using and stir it in. Turn the heat off in a minute.
9. Give it a gentle mix, taste and adjust spices if needed. Also, add more methi leaves, if you’d like.
10. Serve hot with poori, parathas or jeera rice.Print