Learn how to make restaurant style best Shahi Paneer at home that requires minimal chopping and comes together in less than 25 minutes. Soft Paneer cubes dunked in creamy and aromatic sauce is indeed a Royal treat for your loved ones.
Paneer is such a magic ingredient. Being a vegetarian, I make lot of meals using paneer for our dose of protein.
What is Shahi Paneer?
Shahi means Royal and Paneer is Indian cottage cheese . So basically Shahi Paneer is an exquisite Indian curry made using rich ingredients like almonds or cashews , cardamom, saffron to name a few. It is one of the most delectable North Indian curries that has its roots back to the Moghul era.
As Shahi Paneer is really rich because of nuts and heavy cream it is not recommended for every day eating. You know how some recipes are reserved for special occasions !! This is one of them.
People make Shahi Paneer on special occasions like birthday or anniversary . I love to make Shahi Paneer to celebrate Diwali or Holi when I call my friends over for get together. If you are planning an Indian menu for next party or pot luck consider giving this exotic curry a try!
As this curry isn’t very spicy , my non-Indian friends love it too. I like to serve Shahi Paneer with Naan and some Jeera rice or Biryani.
Ingredients to make this paneer recipe –
The base of this curry starts with the basic onion, tomatoes , ginger & garlic as a typical North Indian curry is made of.
To make the process easy and faster I have chopped them in big chunks and pureed it versus fine chopping and cooking it beforehand.
Instead of soaked cashews or blanched almonds I have used Almond flour also known as ground blanched almonds or almond powder.
Believe me no one will know the difference!
Unlike the Punjabi curries, Shahi Paneer is mellow in spices and has a hint of sugar. However you could increase or skip it totally depending on your preference.
This exotic curry is finished off with –
- A combination of heavy cream and yogurt – For balanced creaminess and a little tang!
- Crushed Kasoori methi – always use it in Punjabi curries towards the end for authentic taste.
- Saffron, Cardamom and Rose Water – Adding these ingredients to the paneer recipe makes it taste really royal and different from the other paneer curries.
Lastly comes the Paneer .
I do not prefer frying the paneer for this particular recipe. Somehow the fried paneer becomes really chewy and hard . Shahi Paneer gravy is very smooth and creamy . Soft melt in mouth paneer cubes compliments this gravy very well.
The paneer that we get in Indian grocery store here in America is pretty firm and hard.
So here is what I do to make store-bought Paneer work-
- I like to soak paneer cubes in warm water for 10 minutes before adding it to the curry. This process really soften up the paneer .
- Further when paneer is simmered in the gravy for few minutes it soaks up the flavors and softens more. This gives you an absolutely melt in mouth experience.
How to make Shahi Paneer at home –
Given below is a step by step picture followed by the recipe and notes for making this Paneer curry.
Heat oil in a thick bottom pan on medium heat.
Once warm add in the onion puree and stir constantly as it tends to splutter.
Cook the puree for 2 minutes.
Add in the bay leaf, cloves and peppercorns.
Now add in red chili powder, turmeric, garam masala & 1 tablespoon water to avoid masala to burn
Then add pureed tomatoes and some salt.
Stir it well and let it cook covered on low heat for 5 minutes.
Now stir in the almond flour or cashew paste, water and let it cook for one minute.
The gravy will start to thicken.
Now add in heavy cream followed by milk, stirring and adding it slowly.
( Heavy cream goes before milk to avoid and curdling)
Cook for 1 minute covered on low heat.
Uncover the pan and whisk in yogurt. Make sure you mix well with the spoon.
Now add in saffron water, cardamom, sugar, ground nutmeg and kasoori methi.
Add in the Paneer and let the gravy simmer for 2 minutes on low to medium heat covered.
Uncover and add in the cardamom powder and Rose water. Mix well and cook for an additional minute.
Add in the chopped coriander and give it a taste check.
Adjust any seasoning if needed.
More exquisite Paneer recipes that you should try for your next Dinner or Party-
Badaami Paneer Curry – Royal and easy.
Palak Paneer – Amazingly green and Creamy.
Achari paneer braided puff pastry – Full of pickle punch.
Everyday Paneer Recipes under 20 minutes –
Paneer masala for dosa sandwiches wraps and more – Highly recommended recipe
Pepper Paneer in Yogurt Gravy – Something different than regular red Paneer gravies.
Veg Paneer Bahara . -Simple preparation and light on tummy .
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- 200 grams Paneer cubed
- 4 tablespoons Cooking oil
- 1 cup Onion puree medium size
- 3 Roma tomatoes pureed OR total 1 cup tomato puree
- ½ tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon almond flour OR paste of 12 whole raw cashews.
- ½ cup Milk
- ½ cup Cream
- 2 tablespoons Yogurt
- ¼ cup Water OR more to adjust consistency
- Fistful of chopped fresh coriander/ cilantro.
Spices used -
- 1 Bay leaf
- 3 Cloves
- 3 Peppercorns
- 1 generous pinch of Saffron
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Cardamom powder OR 3 ground elaichi
- 1.5 teaspoons Indian chili powder / cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric / haldi
- 2 teaspoons Sugar or honey
- 1 teaspoon Garam masala
- 2 teaspoons Kasoori methi roasted crushed between your palms.
- 2 teaspoons Rose water or Kewra water. See Notes.
- Salt to taste.
- Start by soaking pinch of saffron in 2 tablespoons warm water.
- I usually microwave water for 30 seconds and then soak it.
- Heat oil in a thick bottom pan on medium heat.
- Once warm add in the onion puree and stir constantly as it tends to splutter.
- Cook the puree for 2 minutes.
- Add ginger and garlic paste.
- Add in the bay leaf, cloves and peppercorns, red chili powder, turmeric, garam masala and 1 tablespoon water to avoid burning.
- Then add pureed tomatoes and some salt.
- Stir it well and let it cook covered on low heat for 5 minutes.
- Now stir in the almond flour or cashew paste, water and let it cook for one minute.
- The gravy will start to thicken.
- Now add in heavy cream followed by milk, stirring and adding it slowly.
- ( Heavy cream goes before milk to avoid and curdling)
- Cook for 1 minute covered on low heat.
- Uncover the pan and whisk in yogurt. Make sure you mix well with the spoon.
- Now add in saffron water, cardamom, sugar, ground nutmeg and kasoori methi.
- Add in the Paneer and let the gravy simmer for 2 minutes on low to medium heat covered.
- Uncover and add in the cardamom powder and Rose water. Mix well and cook for an additional minute.
- Add in the chopped coriander and give it a taste check.
- Adjust any seasoning if needed.
- Serve hot with Naan and / or Rice.
This Paneer curry will thicken as it cools, you may adjust the consistency by adding more water or milk.
Expert Tips -
- If Kasoori Methi is soft, microwave it for 30 seconds to a minute. Let it cool down and then crush between your palms.Roated Kasoori Methi upgrades the taste of any North Indian curry.
- If Paneer is too hard especially store bought one then soak the cut cubes in hot water for 10 minutes before adding it to the gravy.Further simmer the paneer in the gravy on medium heat for at least 5 minutes. Paneer will become super soft.
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