Methi Paneer or Methi Malai Paneer is a delicious North Indian-style gravy, a lovely accompaniment for rotis, naan, parathas and the like. Cottage cheese (paneer) is cooked in a flavourful, rich and creamy gravy with fenugreek greens (methi) in it. In today’s post, allow me to take you through the way I make Methi Paneer.
A closer look at the Methi Paneer I make
Like most of my recipes, this Methi Paneer recipe too is simple at heart and doesn’t use very fancy ingredients – everything that goes in is commonly found in a typical Indian kitchen. I have tried to keep processed ingredients to a minimum, in an endeavour to keep it healthier. This gravy turns out creamy and delicious, in spite of the fact that I have not used any fresh cream in it. I have used minimal oil in it, too.
This recipe is completely vegetarian and gluten-free, but NOT vegan (plant-based). I have used home-made garam masala and chana masala here, both of which are gluten-free. In case you are using store-bought spice blends, do check the list of ingredients and make sure they align with your dietary requirements.
The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge
This recipe is brought to you in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.
The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is run by a group of passionate food bloggers. Every month, the group members share recipes based on a pre-determined theme. The participants are paired up, and each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, which are then used to prepare a dish that fits into the theme for the month.
The theme this month is ‘Fear Not The Bitter’, suggested by Seema of Mildly Indian. Participants need to showcase recipes made using bitter-tasting ingredients like coffee, bitter gourd, fenugreek leaves and seeds. You guys should absolutely check out the amazing Karele Ka Bharta that Seema has made for the theme!
I was paired with Aruna of Vasu’s Veg Kitchen for the month, and gave the two secret ingredients of ‘tamarind’ and ‘jaggery’. She used them to make this wonderful, wonderful Kakarakaya Pulusu or Andhra-Style Bitter Gourd Gravy! Aruna gave me ‘turmeric’ and ‘fenugreek leaves’ as my secret ingredients, which I went on to use in this Methi Paneer recipe.
Other paneer dishes on my blog
You might also be interested in some other paneer recipes on my blog:
How To Make Methi Paneer
Here’s how I go about it.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1. A small bunch of fenugreek (methi), about 1 cup when finely chopped
2. 3 medium-sized tomatoes
3. 1 small onion
4. 10-12 almonds
5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
6. 7-8 garlic cloves
7. 200 grams paneer
8. 1/2 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon oil
9. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
10. Salt to taste
11. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
12. Red chilli powder to taste
13. 1 cup milk or as needed
14. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder
15. 2 pinches of garam masala
16. 3/4 teaspoon chana masala
1. Wash the methi leaves thoroughly under running water, to remove any traces of mud from them. Place them in a colander and let all the water drain out. Then, chop up the leaves finely.
2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, and add in the finely chopped methi. Saute on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the leaves wilt and are cooked through. If needed, sprinkle very little water when the leaves are cooking. Take off heat and keep aside when done.
3. Chop the paneer into cubes. Keep aside.
4. Peel the ginger, garlic cloves and onion. Chop roughly. Chop the tomatoes roughly too. Take the chopped ginger, garlic, onion and tomatoes in a mixer jar and add in the almonds. Grind everything together to a smooth paste, without adding any water. Keep aside.
5. Now, we will start preparing the Methi Paneer. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the cumin seeds and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
6. Add the tomato-onion puree we prepared earlier to the pan. Turn the flame down to medium. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell of the puree goes away completely. Stir intermittently. The puree would have thickened up by this time.
7. At this stage, add in the salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder.
8. Add in the jaggery powder.
9. Still keeping the flame at medium, add the milk at this stage, along with about 1/2 cup of water. Add the garam masala and chana masala. Taste the gravy and adjust salt and red chilli powder if needed. Mix well and cook on medium flame for about a minute.
10. Now, add in the cooked methi leaves. Keep the flame at medium. Adjust water if needed. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 2 minutes.
11. Now add in the paneer cubes. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes, stirring intermittently. Switch off gas when all the ingredients are well integrated together, but the gravy is still a bit on the runny side. Your Methi Paneer is ready – it will thicken further in a few minutes. Serve hot with rotis or parathas.
Tips & Tricks
1. Use soft, good-quality paneer and very fresh methi, for best results. I usually use the paneer from Akshayakalpa or Milky Mist (not sponsored). I’m guessing kasoori methi can be used in place of the fresh greens I have used here, but I have never tried that.
2. Do not use more than the specified amount of fenugreek greens, otherwise the gravy might turn bitter.
3. I have used boiled and cooled full-fat milk from Nandini, here. I haven’t tried making this with vegan milk, and am not sure if it would work.
4. I have used almonds here, to thicken the gravy and make it creamy. You may use cashewnuts instead, or a mix of cashewnuts and almonds.
5. I like adding a bit of jaggery to my gravies, to give it a light hint of sweetness and round off the other flavours beautifully. I would not suggest skipping it.
6. I have used a mix of garam masala and chana masala here – I love the flavour this combination imparts to North Indian gravies. You may use either one of these spice blends instead, too. Since home-made masala is quite strong, you need to use very little – just a couple of pinches of garam masala and about 3/4 teaspoon of chana masala is enough. If you are using store-bought spice blends, you might need to use a little more.
7. I do not blanch the tomatoes or saute them with the onions, before pureeing them.
8. I add the paneer cubes directly into the gravy, without deep-frying them. You may fry them if you prefer.
9. Do not cook the gravy for too long after adding in the paneer – 3-4 minutes is good. Overcooking may cause the paneer to become hard and rubbery.
10. The Methi Paneer gravy thickens up in a few minutes after it is made. Remember to switch off the gas when the gravy is well-cooked but it is still a bit on the runnier side.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!