Methi Paneer


Methi paneer is a flavorful, robust curry made with fresh fenugreek leaves, soft paneer cubes in a spiced and tangy onion, tomatoes and curd (yogurt) based gravy. The curry has bitter hints of fresh fenugreek leaves that harmoniously balance with the lightly sour and savory flavors of the other ingredients. Enjoy a satisfying lunch or dinner by pairing this restaurant style methi paneer with roti, paratha or naan.

methi paneer served in a white bowl

What is Methi Paneer

Methi Paneer translates to a dish made with fenugreek leaves and paneer. Methi is the Hindi word for fenugreek leaves and Paneer is the Indian cottage cheese, that is firm, fresh and does not melt.

Methi paneer can be simply sautéed fenugreek leaves with aromatics and paneer like a dry or semi-dry version or a rich curry or gravy version. The recipe I share is a restaurant style curry variant. I have also posted the richer Methi Malai Paneer which is a completely different and unique recipe than this one.

Many years back I started making this curry recipe. Decades ago, I had made Methi Mushroom, after adapting it from Jigg Kalra’s book, Prashad – Cooking with Indian Masters.

Then later using the same recipe with a few adaptations, I started making this methi paneer recipe.

Since this methi paneer is a tomato-based gravy, please use tomatoes which are ripe, red and not sour. If sour tomatoes are used, then the gravy will also become sour and won’t taste good.

Apart from tomatoes even onions, curd and cream are added in the gravy. So the final taste is like a restaurant style gravy.

There are hints of bitterness coming in the gravy from fresh methi leaves. Since we do not get very bitter fenugreek leaves here, I add them directly. But for very bitter fenugreek leaves, you can use the following tip.

How to reduce bitterness in fenugreek leaves

First pluck the fenugreek leaves from the stems. Rinse the leaves very well in water 3 to 4 times or more as needed. Drain all the water.

Chop the leaves. Sprinkle some salt on them. Mix well and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Then squeeze the methi leaves with your hands and then add in the recipe. This way much bitterness can be removed from methi leaves.

Remember that before you proceed with the recipe, pluck the methi leaves from the their stems. Rinse them well in water and then finely chop them.

Usually I get one or two bunches of methi leaves from the market. I pluck the leaves and keep them in an airtight box in the fridge. The leaves stay good for about 10 days.

Then I simply rinse them, chop them and add to the dish. It is more easy this way and takes less time to make any recipe with fenugreek leaves.

Serve methi paneer with roti, naan or paratha. It also goes well with steamed rice, jeera rice or saffron rice.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Methi Paneer

Preparation

1. Firstly rinse and chop 2 large tomatoes (240 grams). No need to blanch tomatoes.

tomatoes in blender

2. Without adding any water grind or blend to get a smooth tomato puree. If using ready tomato puree, then set aside 1 cup tomato puree.

tomatoes puree in the blender

3. In a separate small bowl, whisk ¼ cup fresh curd till smooth. Keep aside. Do not use sour curd.

whisked curd in a bowl

Sautéing Aromatics

4. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a pan. Add 2 cloves, 2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon and 1 small to medium tej patta (Indian bay leaf). Fry for some seconds till the spices splutter and become fragrant.

spices and herbs in oil in a pan

5. Now add ⅓ cup tightly packed chopped onions.

chopped onions added to pan

6. Begin to stir and saute the onions on a low to medium heat.

sauteing onions

7. Sauté stirring often till the onions start turning golden or getting caramelized.

sauteed golden onions in the pan

8. Now add ½ tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste.

ginger garlic paste added to onions

9. Mix and saute ginger-garlic paste for some seconds or till the raw aroma of both ginger and garlic goes away.

saute the ginger garlic paste

10. Then add 1 or 2 green chilies, slit or chopped.

slit green chili added

Sautéing Tomatoes

11. Add the tomato puree.

tomato puree added

12. Stir and mix well.

mixing tomato puree with the mixture

13. Then add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon red chili powder and 1 teaspoon coriander powder. Stir and mix the spice powders very well with the onion-tomato masala.

ground spices added

14. Saute the masala, till you see some oil releasing from the sides. The masala mixture will also thicken.

mixing the spices with the masala mixture

Sautéing Fenugreek Leaves

15. Then add chopped fenugreek leaves.

methi leaves added

16. Mix well.

mixing methi leaves with the mixture

17. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes.

sauté the methi leaves and the masala mixture

Cooking Methi Gravy

18. Now switch off the heat and keep the pan on the kitchen countertop. Add the whisked curd.

curd added to the mixture

19. As soon as you add curd, begin to stir quickly and very well. Make sure that the entire curd is mixed with the onion-tomato-spices masala.

mix the curd with the mixture

20. Then add ½ cup water and mix again. You can add water as required depending on the consistency you want in the gravy.

water added as required

21. Keep the pan on stovetop and keep the heat to a low. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer the gravy/curry for 8 to 10 minutes on a low heat. Do keep a check.

simmering the curry for some minutes

22. After 8 to 10 minutes the curry will thicken and you will also see oil specks on top.

the curry has thickened after some minutes

Making Methi Paneer

23. Once the curry is ready, then add paneer cubes and salt as per taste. Stir and mix gently.

Switch off the heat. After you add the paneer cubes then don’t cook them for more than a minute. Otherwise the paneer becomes chewy and dense.

paneer cubes added to curry

24. Add a pinch or two of garam masala powder or Punjabi garam masala powder.

garam masala powder added

25. Mix again.

mixing garam masala powder with the curry

26. Lastly add 2 to 3 tablespoons light cream or cooking cream or low-fat cream. Instead of light cream you can also add 1 tablespoon of heavy cream or whipping cream.

cream added to methi paneer curry

27. Mix the cream with the rest of the gravy. Cream is optional and you can skip it if you want.

mixing the cream with the methi paneer curry

28. Serve methi paneer with roti, phulka, paratha, poori or naan or jeera rice or steamed basmati rice.

methi paneer served in a white bowl


More Paneer Recipes

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Methi paneer is an easy cottage cheese curry with bitter hints of fresh fenugreek leaves in a tangy tomato based gravy and tender, soft paneer cubes. Best served with roti, naan or paratha.

Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 30 mins

Total Time 45 mins



Servings 3

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This Methi Paneer Post from the blog archives first published in September 2016 has been republished and updated on 22 July 2021.



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