Paneer Makhanwala (पनीर माखनवाला) includes an epitome of vivid flavours. For instance, it contains the strong aroma & taste of whole spice. But, on the other hand, it has fresh herbs like ginger, garlic & green chilli. Not only this, but it also contains a variety of masala powders. Red chilli, coriander, turmeric & garam masala are a few to name.

Hence, paneer makhanwala is a tasty adventure one must not miss.

There are many reasons why you should try making it at home. For instance, you get to eat a typical restaurant-style dish in less than an hour. The time includes everything from cooking to serving.

This recipe is for you if you are quite a fan of paneer dishes like me.😛😜

Okay, here comes the best part. You get to eat your favourite paneer dish without waiting for hours or travelling to your favourite restaurant. I guess this reason is enough to drag you to the kitchen.😝😛

Paneer Makahawala ka taste

Paneer makhanwala means Indian cottage cheese with rich buttery gravy. Surprisingly, the gravy is creamy, sweet, tangy & spicy.

For taste, the one word is – Awesome!😍 I love the golden yellow gravy more than the taste. It feels like you keep looking at it instead of eating. Also, the vibrating colours of different spices, paste & gravy makes it look & feel good.

In short, paneer makhanwala is मसालेदार. Remember, it’s not teekha; it’s spicy like every Punjabi recipe. One more thing, even though we have spices & masala powders, still it is eatable. My point is that spicy & masaledar is not condemnable all time. Henceforth, cook this dish & enjoy.

The Spices and Masala We Will Need

  • Whole spices – Bay leaf & cumin seeds are universal whole spices in masaledar gravy rich sabji. The smokey & woody aroma is more noticeable than the taste. That’s the reason why we use these 2 whole spices.
  • Masala powders – We will use four primary spices in powdered form: red chilli, coriander, turmeric, & garam masala powder. The golden yellow texture of the gravy is because of these masala powders. One more item we will use & is Kasuri methi. I advise you to be careful while using dry fenugreek leaves, methi. A little more will turn the entire recipe into methi paneer. Hence add only a teaspoon.
  • Green masala paste – Our hara masala (हरा मसाला) contains ginger, garlic & green chilli. Instead of adding it as whole or finely chopped, we will use it in the paste form. By doing this, the intense flavours of these items will integrate easily. You will smell it when it goes into the hot oil. For those looking for a Jain version, kindly skip ginger & garlic entirely.
  • Onion-tomato-cashew paste – Our onion-tomato-cashew paste is peach-orange. This particular shade is due to the white cashew paste & red tomatoes. Further, when this paste mixes with red chilli powder & garam masala, it gives a golden yellow shade. Therefore, now you know the reason behind the glittering colour of our gravy. Moreover, this paste is the base of our gravy.

We will use regular cooking oil to saute masala, paste & spice powders. You can opt-in for butter or desi ghee as per taste. Not to mention, water & salt will be as per requirement. Be careful while adding water. I have also included capsicum which is not compulsory. You can skip capsicum.

If you are calorie conscious, then use Amul Delicious butter.

TastedRecipes’ extra shots

  • Fry onions & tomatoes – I prefer frying them a little more to eliminate the raw taste. By doing this, you can speed up the cooking time. Moreover, your gravy will cook nice & attain a smooth consistency.
  • Cook until oil separates – When you see oil separating, it means the item is thoroughly cooked. Do the same while making gravy. This way, every single item will cook thoroughly & release its flavours. Hence, next time you read this phrase, follow it religiously. Most importantly, cover & cook. Doing this will speed up your overall cooking time.
  • Softer Paneer – What you can do is immerse paneer cubes in normal water until used. It will keep them soft & spongy.

Frequently asked questions

Here’s a collection of some faqs about our recipe. I hope you find answers to your queries here. If we missed something, let us know in the comment section. Our experts will help you out.

How to improve the extra dark texture of the gravy?

There are a couple of reasons why your gravy is dark. First, you may have overcooked onions, tomatoes & burnt cashews. All these will darken the paste, further darkening the gravy. Second, you may have added Kashmiri red chilli powder way more than required.

These could be the probable reasons why your gravy has not attained the desired colour.

The following hacks are for paneer between 150 grams to 250 grams. Adjust the quantity of the following items depending on how much paneer you have.

Add 1/3 cup beaten curd or yoghurt. The curd will improve not only the texture but also the taste. Moreover, you have onions in the gravy to prevent the curd from curdling.

If you don’t have curd, take 8-10 cashews & 1/4 cup water. Grind & make a paste. Add to the gravy & mix. The dark colour of gravy will dilute.

There’s one more thing you can do if you don’t have cashews. It uses muskmelon seeds. Take seeds equal to that of the cashews. Repeat the above steps.

Hold on; there’s still one more trick.

Add readymade cooking cream, aka heavy cream. It is a sure shot hack. Add till the colour of your gravy improves.

What must you do to make a smooth paste?

Let me tell you that adding water is not an option to smoothen the paste. It will make the paste runny. Instead, add a little oil or butter (whatever you are cooking in) while frying itself. A little oil refers to 1 tbsp and not more. This way, you will add enough moisture that will, later on, make the paste smooth when you grind it.

The critical aspect of making a smooth paste also lies in sauteeing the items well. For example, saute onions & tomatoes till they become tender. The tender & translucent consistency means that they are ready to grind.

Can I fry the paneer before adding it to the gravy?

Yes, you can fry paneer & add it to the gravy. Doing this will give a crispy taste & golden brown texture to your paneer. However, you can always add plain paneer cubes instead of frying them. Either way is good.

Whenever I fry paneer, it becomes hard. What to do?

There’s a small hack to keep paneer cubes soft even after frying them. Just immerse them into warm water directly from the frying pan. Please do not take them out until it’s time to put them into the gravy. Try it.

Can I add curd or yoghurt?

Absolutely yes. You can add curd or yoghurt to make your silky and smooth gravy. But beat the curd before adding, or large chunks will be visible.

Will my curd curdle after adding it to the gravy?

No. The curd won’t curdle because there’s onion & cashews in the gravy. So it decreases the risk of curdling.

Can I replace paneer with tofu?

Tofu is a vegan substitute for dairy paneer or processed paneer. Refer to the culinary guidelines of using tofu instead of paneer.

Can I skip onion, ginger & garlic?

Yes, you can skip onion, ginger & garlic together. By doing this, you will get Jain paneer butter masala. On the contrary, you need certain ingredients to fill the gap.

When you skip a set of ingredients, you’ll need to balance the flavour. Hence, we have asafoetida, aka thing, as a flavour substitute for ginger & garlic. On the other hand, Hing carries a pungent aroma & spicy taste. Likewise, you can use fennel seeds as a direct substitute for onions. Try them & let us know in the comment section.

Will my Jain version of paneer makhanwala be tasty?

Yes, your Jain paneer makhanwala will be as tasty as the regular version. Use the substitutes mentioned above & you are good to go.

My gravy is watery; how to make it thick?

It is a significant problem while cooking gravy. Too much water means a longer time to Moreover, it is okay. However, it will eventually hurt other items in the gravy. Henceforth, if your gravy is watery, add gram flour (besan) or wheat flour. How much flour you must add depends on the amount of water in the gravy. Therefore, add gradually as needed.