Palak Panner Butter Masala

There are always times when we find mind blowing food at the most unexpected places, especially when we travel to unfamiliar places.Such foods and the experience of that particular meal leave a lasting impression if you are a foodie like me. I distinctly remember a few unforgettable meals in my life. I am not sure what makes the meal so special, the time, the company, foreign land or perhaps simple hunger, but the experience will leave an indelible mark. One such meal was at a nondescript place somewhere in Mahabalipuram. It was an adventure alright, me and Honey on a trip to US embassy found ourselves with most of the day on hand before we could fly out of Chennai. We took a Rickshaw back to hotel. Honey in his smattering Tamil asked the Rickshaw driver for suggestion on touristy things to do in Chennai. He said he could drive us to Mahabalipuram. I remembered it to be quite a distance from Chennai, but Honey and the Tamil speaking Rickshaw driver bulldozed me into thinking that it was closer than I thought. Then the seemingly never ending journey started. The noisy Rickshaw huffed and puffed and we finally pulled into the sleepy town of Mahabalipuram. We stopped to catch our breath and to give our Richskaw time to recuperate.Our rumbling tummies would not let think of the Pallavas or their temples. So we looked around and our guide suggested a nice looking air conditioned restaurant. But our Rickshaw driver shot the idea down bluntly. He convinced Honey in Tamil to go to some other restaurant. All I could make out was that Honey was sold on the idea. He led us to a small but clean looking crowded eatery. There was no such thing as a table for a party. There were benches in rows like in a class room and people just went and sat where ever there was a spot. Honey found a spot for himself in one of the rows in the end. I found one for myself in one of the middle row. It felt strange to be sitting next to an absolute stranger in a pair of Jeans while all the ladies sitting in that restaurant looked a lot more traditional in Saris and Jasmine flowers in their hair. Of course there was no such thing as a menu, like our own Udupis the waiter just ranted a list in Tamil. I just said "Vegetarian, no Tamil" and gestured with my hands to indicate anything that tastes good. He nodded his head.

Then came a young boy with Plantain leaves. Before I realized there was a mound of rice on it, assorted side dishes. Now I can say with conviction that it was not Chettinad cuisine, me not a big fan of Chettinad cuisine. I did not know the names of any of the dishes, but the moment I ate it I knew I was in foodie heaven. It did not end there. The waiter came back to me with a small bowl in his hand. It was some sort of curry and he said "Special".. That was it, the most memorable dish in one of the most memorable meals I have ever had. I polished the entire bowl clean in a few minutes and asked for more. But the waiter said something in Tamil with a sad face. Looking at my bewildered face, the lady next to me said 'over, no more'. That was sad. But I had enjoyed my meal so much that I forgot the Rickshaw ride from Chennai.

Then there are days when I feel like eating that most memorable dish, something rich, creamy and makes the day extra special by touching a treasured memory. It was on one such day that I prepared this dish. It is buttery and fatty just like the food served in eateries I just mentioned. It is indeed so rich that a little goes a long way. I threw in some spinach to give it some body and Panner to make it extra special. Oh! ok, Panner because Sunny boy loves it.

So here it is Palak, Panner Butter Masala
We will need,

Spinach  1 lb
Peanut oil 1 tbsp

Fennel seeds 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Onion diced 1 small

Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Dhania power 1.5 tsp
Chilly powder to taste
Tomatoes 1/2 lb
Garam Masala 2 generous pinches
Butter 50 gram /half a stick
Panner 1/2 cup cut into cubes

  • Wash and chop the spinach and set it aside. 
  • Heat oil in a kadai and throw in the fennel seeds and cumin. Once they splutter, add the onions.
  • Saute the onions till golden in color and throw in the spice powders. Saute the spices for a 20-30 seconds till they are fragrant and add the tomatoes.
  • Cook till the tomatoes are pulpy. Add the spinach and cover till the spinach wilts down about 7-10 minutes.
  • Throw in the Garam Masala, adjust salt and cook for a few minutes. 
  • Throw in the Panner and butter, simmer till the Panner is heated through. 
  • Serve hot with Rotis.


Vanamala Hebbar said...

Slurp!! looks different version of palak paneer..nice

anusia said...

I had heard about palak paneer but not palak paneer butter masala. It seems a bit new to me. I must try it out someday.

Kannada Cuisine said...


Yes...this is my own recipe, you would not have heard of it ;)

Lisa Edward said...

Excellent post with useful recipe..And the combination of elements are very different and unique..

Allindiarecipe said...


I must tell you this one is very delicious curry because normally people don't add palak with butter masala so its unique combination. Thanks for sharing it.