My last meal on earth would be bread and cheese so it’s no surprise that I’ve become obsessed with putting fresh paneer in naan bread bowls. Yes, the flavors are different and exciting, but at its heart we’re still talking pure comfort food. I’d happily eat it every single night.
Making all of this yourself, in your own kitchen, from scratch? Kitchen rockstar status, friends.
But but but it’s still totally cool if you’re thinking hey, I wanna stuff my face with all this delicious food, but I haven’t exactly got all afternoon to make dough and separate curds from whey and then make saucy masala. Some days you’re just not feeling it, you know?
Pre-made pizza dough is one of my favorite shortcuts for anything bread – your local pizzeria will probably sell it to you by the pound. Paneer cheese is often translated as cottage cheese, but I think a better translation is farmer’s cheese. My favorite substitutions are halloumi, pressed & drained ricotta, or even tofu. Do what works for you.
When it comes down to it, this drinkable masala sauce is simply lots of fresh veggies blended with a handful of creamy nuts and a few good shakes of spice. Simple ingredients become so much more once they’re cooked down together. So while making your own fresh paneer or baking dough into naan bowls is extra-nice, magical butter masala sauce deserves a place in your kitchen any night of the week.
Paneer Butter Masala
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 2 T. vegetable oil
- 12 oz. paneer cheese cubed
- 2 T. butter
- 1 t. garam masala
- 1/2 t. red chile powder
- 1/2 t. ground coriander
- 1/2 t. ground cardamom
- 1/2 t. fennel seeds
- 1 t. salt
- 2 large tomatoes or 4 small
- 1 medium onion quartered
- 1 inch ginger peeled & sliced
- 4 cloves garlic peeled & smashed
- 2 T. whole milk or coconut milk
- fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
- Place cashews in a ramekin or mug and cover with very hot water. Set aside to soften.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat.
- Add paneer and fry until light golden, about 5 minutes. Remove paneer from skillet and set aside.
- Melt butter in the skillet and add spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until very aromatic. Reduce heat to low.
- Combine tomatoes, onion, ginger, garlic, and drained cashews in a blender. Pulse on high until smooth.
- Stir tomato mixture into spices. Cook over medium heat until edges are bubbling.
- Remove skillet from heat. Stir in milk, then add fried paneer and toss to coat. Cook for another 5 minutes until paneer is heated through.
- Serve hot in a naan bread bowl or over jasmine rice with cilantro.