You don’t have to live in India to taste Butter Chicken or Butter Paneer. I think the fame of the “Makhani (Butter) Gravy” is legendary and has reached far and wide. Every Indian restaurant worth its salt has it on its menu and of course they all claim to make the best Makhani gravy in town which is done to death.
If you are a Makhani Gravy purist and make it the proper way, then you will know the amount of Butter & Cream added in the recipe is stuff that a “Cardiologists” dreams are made off. Now mind you, I am a true Blue Punjabi and artery clogging things don’t scare me at all. In fact, I am an advocate of Ghee, Butter, Cream and everything else that can cause us discomfort but is a heaven for our taste buds.
However, I do have days when I try and exercise caution in what I eat because let’s face it I am never going on a diet. So for dinner tonight I wanted to make something that is a little healthy, cooks quickly and doesn’t make me chubby. I racked my brains and decided to substitute the Cream with Yoghurt and just add a small amount of Butter. And so this Fake Butter Paneer or Cottage cheese in a tomato gravy happened. I was pleasantly surprised at the final dish as it was so easy to make and looked and even tasted well.
500 gms fresh Paneer (Cottage Cheese) or Ricotta Cheese cut into cubes. If you are using Ricotta Cheese, buy it from a supermarket Deli and not off the shelf.
3 medium sized ripeTomatoes
1 small Onion finely chopped
3 Green chillies (I used 5 because we love it hot)
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tbsp Yoghurt (at room temperature)
1 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Kasuri Methi (dried Fenugreek leaves )
1 tsp fresh Ginger paste
Salt to taste
For the Gravy:
Blanch the Tomatoes in hot water till the skin tears. Keep them in cold water for a few minutes and then put the Tomatoes, Ginger paste and Yoghurt together and grind them to a smooth paste. You have to ensure your Tomatoes are cold and the Yogurt is at room temperature else it will split and your gravy will look really bad.
Heat Butter in a pan and add the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Bay leaves & Cloves. Once they start to splutter add the finely chopped Onions and Green Chillies and sauté till the Onions are almost Golden brown. Add the Turmeric, Red Chilli powder, Salt and Cumin powder and sauté for 2 minutes on a low flame ensuring that the masalas don’t burn.
Add the Tomato and Yoghurt paste to this mixture and let it cook on a low flame till the Butter start to separate and the gravy becomes thick in texture. Sprinkle the Kasuri Methi at this stage and mix well.
Add the cubes Paneer and coat the gravy evenly. Let it cook for 7 – 10 minutes before taking it off the heat.
Serve hot with some Rotis or Naans.