Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Makhani, which literally means, paneer cooked in a buttery rich sauce, is a vegetarian variation of a popular north-Indian dish called Butter Chicken. The original dish was created in the 1950s, in a super popular restaurant in New Delhi called ‘Moti Mahal Delux’.
Traditionally, the paneer is lightly marinated and then grilled in a clay-oven called, Tandoor, and then added to a velvety smooth tomato-cream sauce. But in this recipe I have skipped that step and made it a dump-and-go recipe, with the same incredible taste. The key is cutting paneer into small, bite-size cubes so that they absorb the flavors of the sauce, and, a little extra garam masala to compensate for the flavors lost in skipping marination. This is one of the tastiest, and most requested Indian vegetarian recipes by my kids.
Serving Suggestion: I like to pair this rich and creamy curry with Spinach Rice. The buttery soft spinach and aromatic basmati rice compliment this Paneer Butter Masala really well. It feels like a restaurant style Indian meal, in the comfort of my home. Paneer Butter Masala also goes well with Cumin Rice and Naan, store-bought or homemade!
Paneer Butter Masala / Paneer Makhani (Instant Pot)Print Recipe
- 10 oz. block of paneer, cubed in 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or Light Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste (1 inch ginger, 6 cloves garlic, pulsed/grated)
- 14oz. can Diced Tomatoes, pureed, OR, 3-4 ripe Roma tomatoes, pureed (I prefer canned tomatoes for this recipe)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
- 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
- 2-3 teaspoons Garam Masala (depending on your spice preferences)
- 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
- Add after cooking
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, OR, Full-Fat Coconut milk for dairy Free option
- 1 tablespoon Dried Fenugreek Leaves / Kasoori Methi (optional)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Turn Instant pot on SAUTE. Turning saute will warm everything through while we assemble the recipe, and reduce the pressure building time. Add oil, ginger garlic paste, tomato sauce and spices. I puree diced tomatoes, but you can also use ripe tomatoes and puree them. Stir well. Close the lid. Cancel SAUTE. Pressure cook for 4 minutes on Manual/pressure Cook. Vent set to Sealing position.
Manually release the pressure by turning the vent to 'Venting' position (QR). Open the lid after the pin drops. Add paneer cubes, dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi), sugar and heavy whipping cream (or coconut milk), and turn on SAUTE. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, till paneer softens and sauce thickens to your liking. Garnish with chopped cilantro.