Indian Cooking Corner with Neel Shah: Paneer Makhani

Photograph courtesy of Neel Shah.

Photograph courtesy of Neel Shah.


Ingredient list:

  • 8 tsp butter
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1/2 ginger root
  • 1/3 sweet onion
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 lb paneer, chopped
  • 4 tsp kasuri (kasoori) methi
  • 3 cup milk
  • 4 tspn white sugar
  • salt
  • OPT: 1/2 cup sweet corn, 1/2 cup green peas


The prep is not bad. You can do steps 2 and 3 beforehand to make the rest flow even smoother. This quantity feeds the two of us about 3 or 4 times, so you get plenty of yield out of this! It is a great way to use up milk that is about to go bad as well.

1. Melt 8 teaspoons butter (about 3 Tbsp) in a large pot. Keep the heat on low-medium.

2. Peel the head of garlic and the half ginger root. (Adjust to taste. More is better.)

3. Also chop into small cubes approximately 1 pound of paneer cheese. You can obtain a brick of paneer about this weight from any Indian store, or even a halal store. You could sub in tofu if you wanted, but don’t you dare call it Indian if you do so… I’m watching you.

4. Using technology (like a chopper) chop the garlic and ginger along with the sweet onion.

5. Empty into the hot melted butter and fry until the mixture starts to brown.

6. Again using technology, chop/blend one roma tomato into about 1 cup of tomato puree.

7. Add 1 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp hot chili powder, and the tomato puree to the mixture. Stir a bit and let sit until a thin layer of oil begins to separate from the mixture. Usually about 5 minutes.

8. Add 3 cups milk, or cream if you are a fatty.

9. Add the kasuri methi (ask someone to help you find it at an Indian store; they will be impressed), white sugar, and salt to taste. Stir well.

10. Add the paneer and stir. Let sit for 3-4 minutes until the paneer feels soft and squishy.

11. Bonus: Throw in some green peas and sweet corn. Frozen is fine. These give the dish more texture and a hint of sweetness, which I thought tasted amazing. It may not work for you.

You know you’re done when the food looks exactly like it does in the picture above. The curry will be a soft yellow with green speckles of methi; the paneer will be soft but well-formed. Definitely serve over rice. I like to have roti as well on the side to make the leftovers last longer. And enjoy!



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