Shahi Paneer (शाही पनीर ) is a delicious North Indian preparation of succulent pieces of Cottage Cheese or Paneer that cooked in rich gravy of onion, tomatoes coupled with few cashews. It is simple and quick to make and is ready within 30 minutes, making it a perfect dish, which can impress everyone and anyone. Shahi paneer has been the main stay of Indian cuisine since Mughal era. A good restaurant style shahi paneer is true celebration of taste. Pair this shahi paneer with butter naan or any other Indian bread and if you gluten intolerant, enjoy with rice. I hope you will find this shahi paneer recipe easy and useful, do not forget to bookmark it.
What is Shahi Paneer
Shahi = Royal in Persian, Paneer = Cottage cheese. This simply put together is a royal paneer dish. This paneer dish is truly royal in its taste, with the richness offered by addition of cashews and cream. It is believed that shahi paneer came along Mughals to India and was used as a dish by royals in their kitchen.
Internet has thousands of shahi paneer recipe, and everyone makes it with some minor variation. This shahi paneer recipe which I am sharing here is something which I have learnt talking to my local restaurant’s chef in Delhi and whose shahi paneer I would say is one of the best I have tasted.
In this recipe I have used, cashew nuts, double cream, tomatoes and soft paneer as key ingredients. Apart from these I have used my usual spices such as kasuri methi, garam masala, turmeric, coriander powder, ginger garlic paste, etc.
Paneer is such a word for most of the vegetarians that it brings twinkle in the eyes for many. People would normally love paneer in any way, however shahi paneer offers paneer in special exotic form.
As a kid, I would wait when my mum will make any paneer dish at home. Paneer was at premium for my family in those days. My mum’s paneer exploration was limited to matar paneer, or palak paneer. I will wait for an opportunity when I can get chance to visit restaurant and I will normally order a paneer curry or wait for marriage invites (as I knew paneer will be there). God forbid, if I won’t find paneer in menu, I would get upset. Gone are those days for me, however I have many friends and relatives for whom love for paneer is eternal.
Shahi Paneer vs Butter Paneer vs Paneer Pasanda vs Paneer Lababdar
There is lots of confusion between shahi paneer, butter paneer, paneer pasanda and paneer lababdar. I have been to a few restaurants in India as well as in UK, where they won’t know the difference and serve one on the name of other. All these paneer dishes are similar and a lot of the restaurants make same thing with different names.
As per my experience, shahi paneer is very mild in spices, and uses good amount of heavy cream, hence making it suitable for young kids to eat too.
Paneer butter masala is little spicier version of the same with more butter used in cooking to give silky smooth gravy. Little honey or sugar is also added in paneer makhni.
Paneer lababdar uses grated paneer in gravy with paneer pieces, again creamier and mild spicy.
Paneer Pasanda on other hand is paneer sandwich curry. In this case paneer contains a layer of khoya / mava.
There is then Kadai Paneer and Paneer Tikka too.
Kadai paneer is spicy of all, raw spices are used along with bell pepper. Paneer Tikka is dry would contain marinated paneer pieces made in oven or stove top. Paneer tikka masala will be a curry with paneer tikka pieces.
Method of making Shahi Paneer
- Cut the Paneer into cubes or triangles as per your choice. Chop onions and tomatoes separately. Soak cashews in luke warm water for 10 minutes.
- Take a Pan / Kadai and put it on medium heat. Add oil and once it’s warm add cumin seeds. When they crackle, add chopped onion and soaked cashews and sauté till onions becomes translucent. Add ginger garlic paste now and sauté till the raw smell goes off.
- Add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder and Chilli powder and sauté for 1 more minute. Now add chopped tomato and cook them till the tomatoes are soft. Roast the mixture for 2 more minutes and switch off the flame. Once the mixture is cooled down, transfer it into a grinding jar and grind it to a fine and smooth paste.
- Transfer the paste into the same pan and put it in medium flame again. Add cream and 1 cup of water to the paste and let it boil for few minutes. Add paneer cubes, cardamom powder, garam masala powder and kasuri methi to it. Switch off the flame once you get the desired consistency of gravy. Shahi paneer is ready to be served.
- Nothing beats the taste of fresh paneer, hence I always insist on using fresh ingredients. If you do not have access to fresh paneer, put the store bought paneer in warm water for 10-15 mins. This will soften the paneer and paneer won’t be crumbly.
- Some people use almonds too in the curry paste. My recipe does not contain almonds, however if you wish you can add almonds. Soak the almonds, peel off the skin and then then add almonds along with cashews, subsequently make the paste of gravy.
- You can make the curry paste / sauce, and freeze it for later use on a busy weekday. All you will need is de-freeze the paste and follow the rest of steps from the recipe of adding paneer, cardamom powder, garam masala. Your curry would be ready in less than 15 mins.
- Some people love the paneer pieces to look golden, for this shallow fry the paneer pieces before adding in the curry.
- People normally prefer the paneer pieces cut in triangle shape, however choose the shape which entices you. When feeding kids, I use cookie cutter and give paneer more kid friendly shapes like animals.
How to make this Shahi paneer vegan
My shahi paneer recipe contains two ingredients which are not vegan, paneer and cream, however If you wish to eat vegan shahi paneer, you would need to swap double cream with vegan cream, and replace paneer with tofu.
This shahi paneer
- Has authentic paneer curry with royal touch in taste and is truly restaurant style shahi paneer
- Though got fabulous taste, still so easy to make.
- Is very much a gluten-free paneer curry, hence make sure that you serve it with rice for gluten intolerants.
- Can be used as a main dish in your special event menu.
Restaurant Style Shahi Paneer
- Wide Mouth Pan or Wok
- 350 Grams Paneer / Indian Cottage Cheese
- 2 Onions Big size
- 3 Tomatoes Big size
- 1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
- 20 Cashews
- 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1/3 Tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- 1.5 Tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/4 Tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 4 Tbsp Double Cream / Full Cream
- 1 Tsp Salt As per taste
- 1.5 Tbsp Oil
- 1 Tsp Cardamom Powder
- 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves / Kasuri Methi
- Cut the Paneer into cubes or triangles as per your choice. Chop onions and tomatoes separately. Soak cashews in Luke warm water for 10 minutes.
- Take a Pan / Kadhai and put it on medium heat. Add oil and once it's warm add cumin seeds. When they crackle, add chopped onion and soaked cashews and sauté till onions becomes translucent. Add ginger garlic paste now and sauté till the raw smell goes off.
- Add salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder and Chilli powder and sauté for 1 more minute. Now add chopped tomato and cook them till the tomatoes are soft. Roast the mixture for 2 more minutes and switch off the flame.
- Once the mixture is cooled down, transfer it into a grinding jar and grind it to a fine and smooth paste.
- Transfer the paste into the same pan and put it in medium flame again. Add cream and 1 cup of water to the paste and let it boil for few minutes.
- Add paneer cubes, Cardamom powder, Garam masala powder and kasuri methi to it. Switch off the flame once you get the desired consistency of gravy.
- You can shallow fry Paneer cubes before adding into gravy. The paneer will look golden but will be little chewy.
- You can adjust the amount of cream as per your taste.
- Try using fresh paneer for best taste.
- You can keep the leftover paneer refrigerated in air tight container for 2 days with no problem.
- You can freeze this shahi paneer for few months too. Simply thaw before eating and then heat in a pan or using microwave.