2 tablespoons oil
1 (Indian) bay leaf
1 small piece of cinnamon stick, 1/4"-1/2"
1 large onion, diced
1-2 green chiles, slit lengthwise
4 tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste
10 cashews (soak in hot water)
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon (kashmiri, preferably) red chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 - 1 cup water
10 oz paneer, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 tablespoon kasuri methi (dried, whole)
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
2-3 tablespoons butter (optional)
In a pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When it's hot, add the cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Wait for 45-60 seconds, until the spices become toasted and fragrant, then add onion. Saute for about 10 minutes, or until onion turns translucent and just starts browning on the edges. Add the ginger-garlic paste. Saute for about 60 seconds, then add the tomatoes. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are softened, about another 10 minutes, then add in cashews, coriander powder, chili powder, garam masala, turmeric and salt. Stirring frequently, cook for about 5 additional minutes. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm, then blend in a blender until smooth. (Alternately, you may use an immersion blender.) Return to the pot. I usually add 1/2-1 cup water to the blender and slosh it around to get every last bit of sauce off the blender, then pour that into the pot. Heat the sauce over medium low heat, and simmer, covered, until you reach desired consistency (7-10 minutes). You may add water if you wish to get a thinner consistency.
Meanwhile, heat 1tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add your paneer cubes and flipping the cubes every 20-30 seconds, lightly brown the paneer cubes. Remove the paneer cubes from the pan.
When the sauce is done simmering, taste and adjust salt. Rub the kasuri methi between the palms of your hands to powder it, and add it to the sauce along with heavy cream and butter. Simmer, coverred, until butter is melted and then fold in the paneer cubes. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Paneer butter masala is ready to serve.
Enjoy with naan, vegetable pulao (pilaf), steamed basmati rice, or vegetable biryani.