Paneer Makhani

Paneer is an unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice or another food acid. This cheese method probably came to India from Iran or Turkey. Paneer doesn’t usually have any salt and despite its water content, can be stir fried like tofu as long as you do it *quickly*.

Total time: 30 – 40 minutes


5 tbsp oil
1 lb paneer, cut into cubes (indian cheese)
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
3 cups chopped tomatoes (canned is fine)
1 cup frozen/canned peas
1 cup frozen/canned corn
1 cup cream (light or heavy, your choice)
1 tbsp tomato paste

Spice Mix (Masala)
1 tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
1/2 tsp onion seeds (kalonji)
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
6 cardamon pods, shelled
1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1-2 tsp chilli powder (lal mirch)
1-2 tsp coriander seed powder (dhania)
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp shredded mint leaves
6 tbsp shredded coriander/cilantro leaves
1 tbsp shredded fresh ginger (optional)
2-3 green chillis, sliced roughly (optional)

In a wide and deep pot with a lid, on medium heat, heat 2-3 tbsp oil, fry the cumin, onion and fenugreek seeds for a minute until they pop, then add the red and green onion and sweat for about 5-7 minutes until soft and lightly brown. Add the cardamon, turmeric, garam masala, chilli powder, coriander seed powder, ginger-garlic paste and fry for a couple of minutes. Add in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, lower the heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan, add 2 tbsp oil and fry the paneer cubes, browning a couple of sides. Wear protective apron/gloves/goggles or be careful because the paneer will splatter. Once paneer cubes have been browned, set aside in a plate.

Take an immersion blender and blend the tomato mixture in the pot. If you don’t have one, let the tomato mixture cool a little and pour it into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pot, add in the defrosted peas and corn, cream, mint and coriander leaves, chillis and shredded fresh ginger and bring to a simmer. Add in the paneer and cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve hot with additional mint/coriander leaves shredded on top.