Fresh Indian Cheese in a Butter-tomato Sauce (Paneer Makhani)

Fresh Indian Cheese in a Butter Tomato Sauce (Paneer Makhani) from Madhur Jaffrey's Curry Easy Vegetarian cookbook. This delicious recipe is perfect to serve as a vegetarian main or as a side dish and is generally eaten with Indian flatbreads, especially naans.

Madhur Jaffrey: Curry Easy Vegetarian
Delicious meat-free recipes
Simple recipes for popular classics
A perfect introduction to vegetarian curries


This is the vegetarian version of Chicken in a Butter-tomato Sauce, for which a tandoor-roasted bird is cut up and enfolded in a rich, creamy sauce. This vegetarian incarnation is much loved and generally eaten with Indian flatbreads, especially naans.

Serves 4-6


250 ml/8 fl oz tomato passata
250 ml/8 fl oz double cream
2 tsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp sugar
1 fresh hot green chilli, finely chopped
1¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp nice red chilli powder
1 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), crumbled (optional)
400 g/14 oz fresh Indian cheese (paneer), cut into 2 cm/ ¾ inch squares
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter plus
1 tbsp olive or peanut oil
¼ tsp whole cumin seeds
2–3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander


Combine the tomato passata, cream, ginger, garam masala, lemon juice, sugar, green chilli, 1 teaspoon of the salt, chilli powder, ground roasted cumin and dried fenugreek leaves
(if using) in a bowl. Stir thoroughly and set aside.

Put the cubed cheese into another bowl. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Toss well to mix.

Put the butter, oil and cumin seeds in a medium, non-stick pan and set over a medium heat. Put all the cheese cubes in the pan in a single layer and brown them very lightly on at least two sides. Pour the tomato sauce over the top and stir to mix. Bring to a simmer, then heat very gently for 4–5 minutes,
stirring with a light hand as you do so. Sprinkle the fresh coriander over the top before serving.

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