Creamy, rich Paneer Makhani is one of the most popular and loved Paneer dish, not only in India but also Internationally. A delight for vegetarians, rich sweet and tangy makhani gravy.
Till now if you haven’t heard of Paneer Makhani or the Makhnai gravy, then believe me you have surely missed one the most delicious creamy curry!!
Vegetarians in India love Paneer and paneer dishes. Be it Palak Paneer, Paneer Bhurji, Kadhai paneer or even paneer stuffed paranthas or kulchas, some of the dishes that form the menu of all the resturants or a part of there everyday meal or weekend parties.But the dish that takes away heart of everyone one is Paneer Makhani.
Panner Makhnai is a delectable, sweet and tangy gravy (made with tomatoes as core ingredients) with soft Paneer/Indian Cottage Cheese. It is called Makhani as the gravy is cooked in butter..
This delcious gravy is one of the most ordered Paneer dishes in Indian resturants. Midly spiced Makhani gravy is a favourite among all the age groups.
Paneer Makhani Gravy…
Tomatoes are the main ingredients of Makhani gravy along with cream/cashew nuts/almonds for the rich and creamy texture. An authetic Makhani gravy doesn’t have any onions in it, but many people add little bit of onion to it. I usually do not add onions to the Makhnai gravy, but when I make Paneer Butter Masala or Khoya Paneer I do add onions while making the masala for these. For many people Paneer Butter Masala is another another name of Panner Makhani but if you really are a foodie and have gone into the histroy of Makhani gravy you will know the difference.
Makhnai gravy, as it is popularly known as, is believed to be invented by K.L. Gujral the founder of the famous Moti Mahal resturant chain from Delhi. What was suppposed to be an invention for rehydrating drying and leftover chicken pieces, Makhani sauce, also became popular for it’s vegetarian version of Dal Makhani or Paneer Makhani!!.. do read the full article here..The original article by Vir Sanghvi is on Dal Makhani, loved it long back when I read it and till now it stayed with me.
In my serach for the perfect Makhnai gravy, I have tried and tested so many versions ask my parents my sis and my hubby who used to be my testers 😉 !! I finally ended up of this recipe that gives me the authentic taste that we get in some of the best resturnats or and even roadside dhabas. The recipe is close to my heart as after my Dal Makhni, my parents love this one and I always make for them whenever I meet them!!
Ingredients for Paneer Makhnai
The recipe of Makhani gravy that I am sharing here today, uses cahewnuts for the rich creamy texture. You can add cream also in place of cashews or as mentioned above add milk for low cal version.
Soft and fresh Paneer..which can be homemade or storebought. Paneer pieces should be soft but firm and should not crumble in gravy, as it will spoil the whole texture of the gravy.
Ripe red and firm tomatoes, give the tangy taste to the gravy. Tomatoes should be pureed very well in a smooth gravy.
Garlic and ginger, and dried fenugreek leaves(kasuri methi) add on to the flavours of this gravy. Ypu can add green chillies in paste as per your spice level.
I do not like this dish as very spicy with lot of masalas as in my opinion it takes away the flavours of this dish..
How to cook Paneer Makhani..
The first step in making this dish is making Paneer. If you are using store-bought Paneer then soak Paneer cubes in lukewarm water for the softness, but be careful not to soak in very hot water as paneer becomes chewy.
Cook tomatoes, cashew nuts, ginger and garlic in water, till the tomatoes are soft and mushy. You can add bay leaf, small cinnamom stick for the flavour.
Cool down the tomato mix, and puree it to fine paste. Discard any whole spice, incase you have added any.
Cook puree in butter and oil, with red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala and tomato sauce.
Add sugar to adjust the acid level of tomaotes.
Add roasted and finely crushed dried fenugreek leaves and finely add paneer.
Pls Note.. to get a bright red color, add red chilli powder before adding puree.
In the recipe I have used toamto paste, that I diluted in water.
Add Panner pieces at the end, when the gravy is cooked well. If we add paneer while the gravy is cooking paneer pieces become hard and chewy.
Let’s see in detail how to make this creamy and rich Paneer Makhani…
- 200 g Paneer/Indian Cottage Cheese approx. 2 cups
- 10-12 Cashew Nut pieces
- 4 Tomaotes(Medium)
- 1 tsp Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves
- 1-2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Cinamom stick (small) optional
- 1/2 tsp Suagr/Honey/Agave Nectar
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 4-5 Garlic Cloves
- 1" Ginger Piece
- 1 Green Chilli optional
- Cut Paneer into cubes of desired size.
- Soak in lukewarm water fro 5-10 minutes.
- Cut tomatoes in irregular pieces.
- In a pan, add water, add cashew nuts, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and whole spices.
- Once the tomaotes are soft and mushy, swtich off the gas and let the mix cool down.
- Puree the mixture in very smooth paste. You can take starin water before making puree. Add it later to curry.
- In the same pan or take another one, add oil and butter. Once the butter starts to melt, add Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder.
- Mix with butter for a few seconds and then add puree. Mix nicely. Puree wil splutter so be careful.
- Keep on cooking the mixture for a 1-2 min, stirring in between.
- Add tomato sauce, sugar, garam masala and mix well.
- Add Paneer cubes and salt and mix nicely.
- Cook for just a couple of seconds so that the masala coats evenly on paneer cubes.
- Add roasted and finely crushed kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves and mix well.
- Add more butter if you like and serve hot with the bread of your choice.
Do make this makhani Paneer dish and give me your feedback.
Makhani gravy can also be made ahead and you can also freeze it in portions and use as and when required. It comes to resuce when suddenly guests knock on door or you have a busy day ahead.
What goes best with Paneer Makhani..
This is best paired with Naan or Kulchas or Lachha Paranthas or even fresh hot chapatis. I even like to have left over curry with bread slices, this one is my another favourite combination after Baigan Bharta. It also pairs well with jeera rice, or any vegetarian pulao.
Can we make Makhani Gravy suitable for vegans..
This version of Makhnai gravy with cashewnuts is dairy-free. Substitute Paneer with Tofu and butter with any flavourless oil, for vegan version. You can also add, lightly sauteed mushroms and other veggies like corns, capsicum to it. Do not add cream.
You can use the same curry for making Butter Chicken.
I am sure you and your loved ones will surley like my version of creamy Paneer gravy just like eveyone in my family loves it.
Linking to Blogging Marathon#101 for the month of June for Week 2 Day 1 where the theme for first week is Creamy Gravies.
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