This is a wonderful recipe for a restaurant-style ‘paneer masala’ that is easy to do at home. It is really simple and only requires basic ingredients that you may already have at home. A spicy, tangy gravy with onions, tomatoes, basic spices and a little patience.
It is ironical how we crave to make restaurant style food at home but crave ‘ghar ka swaad’ or home like food in restaurants. We commonly see indian food blogs full of restaurant style biriyani, dal makhni, chicken curry and pulao. This is probably because people like to make amazing ‘restaurant’ like food at home – but here’s the thing. Most of these restaurant style recipes have a lot of fat ( oil, ghee, cream, cashews ..you get the idea) in them. When we start making them, we realize how much goes into it and honestly, it can be quite a revelation!
This recipe is unique in that regard – it does have ‘more’ fat than usual, but it has no cream or cashews. The recipe also does not involve many pans ( my biggest pet peeve!) and it tastes very fancy indeed! Give it a go, and let me know what you think.
Restaurant Style Paneer Masala
For marinating paneer
- 200 grams cubed paneer about 2 cups cubed paneer ( 1 inch cubes)
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ghee for frying paneer
- 2 tbsp besan or chickpeas flour
- 2 tbsp oil + ghee can be substituted with only oil too
- 1 clove
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 1 cardamom
- 2 red chillies
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 2 cups pureed tomatoes blend fresh tomatoes to a puree, about 3-4 tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp yoghurt
- 2 slit green chillies
- 1 tsp kasoori methi
- 1 cup chopped capsicum or substitute with 1/2 cup frozen peas for a paneer mutter gravy
- ¾ cup water
- coriander leaves and ginger juliennes for garnish
- To a pan on low heat, add the besan/chickpeas flour and saute for a minute. Ensure the colour does not change. The flour must smell fragrant. Remove and keep aside.
- Add red chilli powder, salt, garam masala to cubed paneer and mix well. Set aside for 10 minutes
- To a pan , add 1 tbsp ghee and fry the paneer pieces flipping both sides. Remove and keep aside
- To a pan on low heat, add oil and ghee. The ghee adds a richness, however you can substitute with oil. To this, add the dry spices – cinnamon, clove, cardamom, cumin and then the red chillies. Fry for 30 seconds.
- Add chopped onions, followed by the ginger and garlic paste. Fry well for a minute.
- Now, add the roasted bean and the spice powders – red chilli, corainder, garam masala. Mix well and ensure the spices get roasted.
- Then, add the pureed tomatoes, salt. Mix well, and close the pan and let it cook for 4-5 minutes on low heat.
- Once the gravy is cooked, reduce heat and add the curd. Ensure the curd is not too sour and the flame is low.
- Add the kasoori methi, slit chillies. Then, add chopped capsicum. Mix well and close, cook again for 2- 3 minutes. Flame must be low at this stage.
- Add as much water as required for the gravy. This is not a very thin gravy, so about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup is ideal. Cook for a minute until the water heats up.
- Finally, add the fried paneer pieces. Mix to coat them in the gravy. Let it simmer for two minutes. Garnish and serve.
This base gravy can be used to make any curry! In this recipe, I share how to make a paneer capsicum curry but you can add any vegetable or meat to this base gravy. I love this recipe because it uses no ‘cream’ – nothing against it, just that I never know what to do with a box of leftover cream after using it in a recipe.
This restaurant style paneer masala is great with any vegetable that goes with paneer. I have tried it with peas to make a Paneer Mutter Curry, with capscicums to make a Kadai Paneer style gravy. IF not, you can simply add more paneer! Eitherway, this is a deliciious curry base.
Why are we adding Besan?
In this curry, besan does multiple things. It provides a siky texture to the gravy, thickens the gravy and also slightly lessens how spicy the curry can be. I have not tried curries with flour before and this was a surprise!
If you do not have chickpea flour, susbtitute with roasted gram flour ( pottukadalai flour). It works in the same way, but can be a little coarse in texture. Do not have besan or gram flour? Here’s a hack – use almond meal! Add it at the end, just when you add the curd and not with the spices. That will help to thicken and provide a richness to the curry. However, be mindful that the taste may change.
My forte is not really making restaurant style curries,however I do make a LOT of simple home style foods that are worthy for you to try. If you are looking for some, here are my top favoruites.
Watch me make Restaurant Style Paneer Masala here!
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Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help me learn more about your preferences and will help other readers.
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