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.
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.
How to make Methi Paneer
1. Firstly rinse and chop 2 large tomatoes (240 grams). No need to blanch tomatoes.
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.
3. In a separate small bowl, whisk ¼ cup fresh curd till smooth. Keep aside. Do not use sour curd.
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.
5. Now add ⅓ cup tightly packed chopped onions.
6. Begin to stir and saute the onions on a low to medium heat.
7. Sauté stirring often till the onions start turning golden or getting caramelized.
8. Now add ½ tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste.
9. Mix and saute ginger-garlic paste for some seconds or till the raw aroma of both ginger and garlic goes away.
10. Then add 1 or 2 green chilies, slit or chopped.
11. Add the tomato puree.
12. Stir and mix well.
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.
14. Saute the masala, till you see some oil releasing from the sides. The masala mixture will also thicken.
Sautéing Fenugreek Leaves
15. Then add chopped fenugreek leaves.
16. Mix well.
17. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes.
Cooking Methi Gravy
18. Now switch off the heat and keep the pan on the kitchen countertop. Add the whisked curd.
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.
20. Then add ½ cup water and mix again. You can add water as required depending on the consistency you want in the gravy.
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.
22. After 8 to 10 minutes the curry will thicken and you will also see oil specks on top.
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.
24. Add a pinch or two of garam masala powder or Punjabi garam masala powder.
25. Mix again.
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.
27. Mix the cream with the rest of the gravy. Cream is optional and you can skip it if you want.
28. Serve methi paneer with roti, phulka, paratha, poori or naan or jeera rice or steamed basmati rice.
More Paneer Recipes
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For tomato puree
- 240 grams tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes or can use 1 cup ready tomato puree
- 3 tablespoons oil – any neutral oil
- ⅓ cup chopped onions (tightly packed) – 60 grams or 1 medium sized
- ½ tablespoon Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 1 or 2 green chilies – slit or sliced
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder (ground coriander)
- 1 cup chopped fenugreek leaves (tightly packed) – 40 grams
- ¼ cup Curd (yogurt) – 70 grams
- ½ cup water or add as required
- 200 to 250 grams Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) – sliced in cubes, squares or rectangles
- 1 to 2 pinches garam masala powder
- 2 to 3 tablespoons light cream or cooking cream or low-fat cream, optional
- salt as required
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 2 cloves
- 2 green cardamoms
- 1 black cardamom
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf), small to medium-sized
- Firstly rinse and chop tomatoes. No need to blanch them. Don't use sour tomatoes.
- Without adding any water grind or blend to get a smooth tomato puree. If using ready tomato puree, then add 1 cup tomato puree.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk fresh curd till smooth. Keep aside.
Making methi paneer
- Heat oil in a pan. Add all the whole spices, listed under the list title "whole spices"
- Saute the spices for some seconds till the spices splutter and become fragrant.
- Then add the chopped onions.
- Begin to stir and saute the onions on a low to medium heat.
- Saute till the onions start turning golden or getting caramelized.
- Now add ginger-garlic paste.
- Mix and saute for some seconds or till the raw aroma of both ginger and garlic goes away.
- Then add the green chilies, slit or chopped and tomato puree. Mix well.
- Then add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder. Mix the spice powders very well with the onion-tomato masala.
- Saute the masala, till you see some oil releasing from the sides. The masala mixture will also thicken.
- Then add chopped fenugreek leaves. Mix well and saute for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Now switch off the heat and keep the pan on the kitchen counter top.
- Add the whisked curd.
- 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.
- Then add water and mix again. You can add water as required depending on the consistency you want in the gravy.
- Keep the pan on stove top and keep the heat to a low.
- Cover the pan with a lid and simmer the gravy/curry 8 to 10 minutes on a low heat. The curry will thicken and you will also see oil specks on top.
- Add paneer cubes and salt as per taste. Mix well and switch off the heat.
- Next add the garam masala powder. Mix again.
- Lastly add the light cream or cooking cream or low fat cream.
- Mix the cream with the rest of the gravy. The cream is optional and you can skip it if you want. The addition of cream gives a richer taste and makes the gravy creamier.
- Serve methi paneer with Indian flatbreads like phulka, naan, rumali roti, tandoori roti or paratha. You can also serve it hot with steamed basmati rice or cumin rice or saffron rice or biryani rice or ghee rice.
- Use tomatoes which are not too sour.
- Please use fresh yogurt in the recipe. If the yogurt is not fresh or sour, there are chances of it getting split in the gravy. The gravy will also become very sour. The curd should be made from whole milk so that it does not split. Kindly don’t add toned milk curd or low fat curd or yogurt.
- You can reduce or increase the amount of red chili powder, green chilies as per your preference.
- Instead of oil, you can also use ghee or butter.
- Instead of paneer, you can use tofu.
Nutrition Info Approximate values
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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.