less than 30 mins
30 mins to 1 hour
By ViVek Singh
For the paneer butter masala
- 4 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
- 1½ tsp red chilli powder
- 4 ripe tomatoes, puréed
- 2 tbsp full-fat milk powder
- 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp cashew nut paste or butter
- 1kg/2lb 4oz paneer, cut into rounds and trimmings reserved
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
- ½ tsp ground garam masala
- ½ tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp single cream
- 25g/1oz butter, chilled
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
- ½ lemon, juice only, to serve
For the puris
- 500g/1lb 2oz plain or chapati flour (or half and half)
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp ajwain seeds
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 1 tbsp ghee or oil
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for deep-frying
To make the masala, heat the ghee in a heavy-based casserole dish. Add the cumin seeds, green and black cardamom pods and the bay leaf and let them crackle. Add the onion and sauté over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the salt, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 10–12 minutes, until the onion has softened to bring out its natural sweetness.
Add the white pepper, ginger and garlic paste and red chilli powder and cook for 3–5 minutes over a low heat, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 10–12 minutes over a low heat until the tomatoes are reduced by half and the ghee begins to separate from the sides of the pan.
Meanwhile, to make the puris, mix together the flour, salt, sugar and seeds in a bowl. Rub the ghee into the flour mixture with your fingers until well incorporated. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and gradually pour in 250ml/9fl oz water, mixing to make a stiff dough. Work the dough well with your hands, cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces and cover again.
Preheat a deep-fat fryer to 180C or preheat some oil in a deep saucepan. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Take one dough piece at a time and mould into a smooth ball. Apply a little of the vegetable oil to the dough and roll out on a work surface to make a circular disc approximately 10cm/4in in diameter. Deep-fry the puris until crisp, golden and puffed up. Keep warm while you finish the masala.
Stir the milk powder and yoghurt into the masala. Add the cashew nut paste and cook for another 3–5 minutes. Add the paneer rounds and gently stir for a minute or two, taking care not to break the paneer. Add the paneer trimmings, fenugreek, garam masala and sugar, finish with the cream and simmer for another minute or two. Add the butter and stir to emulsify the butter in the sauce but do not allow to boil.
Garnish the masala with coriander and squeeze over the lemon juice. Serve with the puris.