Paneer Butter Masala | Cottage Cheese Cubes Recipe


Paneer Butter Masala – “Soft Cottage Cheese Cubes mixed in a gravy of tomatoes and cashews.”

Paneer recipes are very tasty. They usually have a thick and creamy gravy usually made from a mix of tomatoes, onions and cashews; in which the soft cottage cheese cubes are added along with garam masala’s. 

Cottage Cheese Cubes aka Paneer is a byproduct you get after curdling milk. You boil milk in a kettle, add in some lemon juice into it and stir it rigorously, and keep it aside for a few hours. The water and the curd seperates and you then you separate the curd using a muslin cloth remove the excess water in it and keep the resulting cottage cheese in the fridge. 

I will cover this topic some other time, but till then you can refer to this wiki-how  page on how to make paneer

Luckily for you, you don’t have to go through all these steps to make paneer. You can go to any supermarket and get a block of frozen paneer cubes/ blocks.

 Paneer recipes are endless in number. But out of the long list of recipes, if you asked me to pick out one for you, I would whole heartedly choose paneer butter masala. 

So, is so special in this paneer butter masala recipe? 

 • The specialty of this dish is that, we would use butter to prepare this recipe. First, you will make the paneer/cottage cubes soft, by placing it in lukewarm water. You will make a gravy of tomatoes and cashews, add in some masalas into the gravy and finally, add in the paneer cubes into the gravy. 

 • The best part of this paneer butter masala dish, is its gravy which should be thick and smooth. The gravy would be slightly orangish in color, slightly sweet and yet spicy. The paneer in the gravy must also be soft to chew. When paneer is soft, it really mixes well with the gravy. 

 • For this recipe here, I have used only tomatoes and cashews to make this gravy. You can also add onions and garlic if you like, but I have intentionally avoided them. 

One more thing I would mention here is that, the tomatoes you use must not be too sour. They must be ripe, red in color and must be firm when you press them with your fingers. 

With that said, let us get across to our cutting board and cooking steps. 

Ingredients List 

This recipe list serves  about 3 people. 

For Paneer Butter Masala Gravy 

• Butter – ¼ block

• Paneer -300gms 

• Tomatoes -3-4 (Medium) 

• Cashews - 100gms 

• Green Chilly - 3 

For Masalas 

• Bay Leaf – 1-2 

• Cloves – 1 

• Cumin Seeds – 1 tbsp 

• Turmeric Powder – ½ tbsp 

• Red Chilly Powder – 1 tbsp 

• Coriander Powder – 1tbsp 

• Garam Masala – 1 tbsp 

• Fenugreek Leaves – 1 pinch.

Paneer Butter Masala Preparation Steps 

1. Soak about 100 gms of cashews in water and keep it aside for 5-10 min. In the meantime chop 3-4 medium sized tomatoes and 3 green chilies. 


2. Filter the excess water from the cashews. Place the cashews into a dry mixer. Powder the cashews into fine paste. Add water into it as per the consistency required. 



"First, powder the cashews in the mixer without adding water. Then add ¼ cup of water and give a stir in the mixer. If thickness is not sufficient, add little more. In any case, add water step by step as we need a thick and smooth paste of cashews."

3. Heat water in a vessel for about 2-3 min, just enough to warm it. Turn off the flame. Place ½ block of paneer or paneer cubes in the vessel and let it be in it for 10-15 min. 

4. In the meantime, heat a frying pan in medium flame for about 5 min. Add ¼ block of butter into it, and stir it well. Once the butter starts to melt, add 1 tbsp of cumin seeds, 2 bay leaf’s and 1 clove. Mix it really well.



"Keep a medium flame as you do this process, as you don’t want your butter to get burned."

5. Now, add the chopped tomatoes into the mix. Sprinkle about 1 tbsp od salt and ½ tbsp turmeric powder into the mix and stir it well. Close the lid of the pan, and let the tomatoes cook for about 5-10 min. 



"Again keep a medium flame, and give an occasional stir to the tomatoes every 2 -3 min. This prevents the tomatoes from sticking to the pan and getting burned."

6. Once the tomatoes have started leaving its water content, add ½ tbsp of red-chilly-powder into it and stir it well. 


7. Add in the cashew paste that we have prepared into the gravy. Mix it well, and let it cook in the closed lid for 5 minutes over medium flame. 



"Here too, you would need to stir the gravy occasionally."

8. Once the gravy has thickened well, almost taking up an orange color and the raw smell of tomatoes and cashews have left the gravy, add in 1 tbsp of coriander powder and 1 tbsp of garam masala powder into the mix and stir well. 



"Add ¼ cup of water to make the gravy smooth."

9. Take out the paneer blocks from our vessel. Chop it into small pieces and add it into our gravy. Mix it well. 


10. Once the gravy has thickened and once our paneer has absorbed the masalas add a pinch fenugreek leaves into the gravy. 



"It’s fine, if you can’t find fenugreek leaves. It is added just to give a slightly bitter taste to the recipe."

11. Garnish the recipe with some chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy this beautiful paneer butter masala with rice or roti. 



"If you a bit more sourness, you can add 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice on top of this mix after garnishing"


If you would like more paneer recipes, you can check out my paneer-jalfrezi, kadai-paneer and paneer bhurji recipes. 

› Paneer Butter Masala

› Paneer Butter Masala