achari paneer

Achari Paneer Recipe

Updated: May 5, 2024, By Swasthi, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Achari Paneer is a North Indian dish of Indian cottage cheese simmered with pickling spices and yogurt. It tastes spicy, hot, creamy and tangy with a burst of flavors from the unique fresh ground achari masala (spice blend). Like many other paneer dishes, this one is popular in the households and restaurants. It is best eaten with flatbreads like Roti, Paratha, Tandoori Roti, Butter Naan or plain Basmati rice.

achari paneer



Achari dishes are popular in the Indian sub-continent and usually made with paneer, vegetables, chicken and mutton. While Achari Paneer is more popular among the vegetarians, the meat versions like the Chicken Achari and Achari Gohst are much loved by the meat-eaters.

About Achari Paneer

Whenever my family is bored with the creamy cashew and tomato based paneer curries, I prefer to make this. Though this recipe uses onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and chili powder like any other curried dishes, it tastes completely different due to the inclusion of curd, bell peppers and achari masala.

Spices like kalonji (onion seeds), mustard seeds, methi seeds and fennel impart those beautiful achari flavors to the dish. For best flavors mustard oil is used but you can use any other oil if you can’t eat mustard oil. While you can make this dish without tomatoes and use only curd, I prefer to cut down the amount of curd & use a small quantity of tomatoes to keep the dish lighter for digestion.

For a long time I failed to replicate the flavors of restaurant achari dishes, until I figured out the trick from Chef Sanjay thumma. A lot of Indian restaurants use pureed bell peppers to infuse some peppery notes. You will be surprised at how delicious this tastes.

For an extra punch of flavors, you may stir in a teaspoon of pickle/ achar to the finished dish. Achari Paneer is best eaten during the monsoon or winters. If you like to make paneer at home, you can check this post on how to make paneer.

For more Paneer Recipes, check
Paneer butter masala
Palak paneer
Paneer lababdar
Paneer do pyaza
Matar paneer

How to make Achari Paneer (Stepwise Photos)

Preparation

1. To a spice grinder jar, add the following spices:

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 
  • 2 dried red chilies (deseed for low heat, use more for extra spicy)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds (yellow or brown rai, avoid using more)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds 
  • 1 pinch methi seeds (fenugreek seeds, avoid using more, it can make the dish bitter)
spices to make achari masala

2. Make a fine powder. Your achari masala is ready. Keep it aside.

achari masala to make paneer

3. Add ⅓ to ½ cup ripe tomatoes and ⅓ to ½ cup green or red bell peppers (capsicum) to the same jar.

blend bell peppers and tomatoes

4. Make a fine puree.

pureed tomatoes and peppers

Make Achari Masala

5. Whisk ⅓ cup curd very well and leave it at room temperature to use a little later. Heat 2 tablespoons mustard oil & any other oil in a pan. Add ½ teaspoon kalonji seeds (onion seeds).

temper kalonji seeds

6. Add ⅛ teaspoon hing / asafoetida.

Add hing

7. When the kalonji splutters, add ½ cup finely chopped onions.

add finely chopped onions

8. Saute them until golden brown. Add 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste and saute just until the raw smell goes away, for a minute.

add ginger garlic paste

9. Lower the heat & add the achari masala. Saute well just for 1 to 2 mins until the aroma comes out from the spices. Make sure you do not over fry it as it may make the dish bitter.

add the achari masala

10. Pour in the pureed capsicum and tomato. Saute this until all the moisture evaporates.

add pureed capsicum

11. Add

  • ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
Add turmeric

12. Saute this until the mixture leaves the pan. Make sure you do not do it on a high flame or for long time.

cooked achari masala for paneer

13. Lower the flame/ heat completely. Add half of the curd and mix it well until combined. Make sure the curd is at room temperature and is whisked well before adding to the pan. Add the other half and repeat mixing.

add curd

14. Saute this till the masala leaves the pan and becomes thick. Pour ¾ cup water and mix well to make gravy.

Add water to make gravy

15. Cover and cook till it becomes thick and traces of oil are visible on top. Stir in 200 grams cubed paneer and ¼ inch ginger slice peeled & julienned.

add paneer to the achari masala

20. Cook covered for 2 mins on a low heat, overcooking can make the paneer chewy. Taste test and adjust salt. If you want stir in 1 teaspoon of achar or lemon juice at the time of serving.

Add coriander leaves

Transfer achari paneer masala to a serving bowl. Garnish with 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with Tandoori Roti, Basmati rice or with Jeera rice. This Onion salad or Cucumber Salad on the side will be loved by everyone.

Achari Paneer Recipe

FAQs

What is achari masala made of?

The homemade version is made of coriander, cumin, mustard, fenugreek and fennel seeds. The store bough versions sometimes also consist of tamarind or dried mango powder, salt and dried fenugreek leaves.

How to make Achari without onion and garlic?

Onion and garlic are used in this dish to balance the tang from yogurt which is the key ingredient here. You may omit garlic but omitting onions is likely going to make the dish too tart.

Is there a substitute for yogurt?

Yes you can substitute yogurt with the same amount of cashew cream and 1 to 2 tablespoons of tangy pickle. Soak 12 cashews in 1/4 cup hot water for 15 mins and blend to a smooth puree. Use that in place of yogurt and finish the dish with the tangy pickle.

How to make a vegan achari?

Use extra firm pressed tofu for paneer and substitute yogurt with cashew cream as mentioned above. You can also pan fry the tofu before adding to the gravy.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

Achari Paneer Recipe

Achari Paneer Recipe

4.99 from 60 votes
Indian cottage cheese cooked in a spicy, tangy and flavor achari masala (pickling spices). It is delicious and goes well with basmati rice, Tandoori roti, regular roti, parathas or with Naan.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings3 to 4
AuthorSwasthi

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

To make achari masala

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (daniya)
  • 2 dried red chilies (deseed for low heat)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds (yellow or brown rai)
  • 1 pinch methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)

Other ingredients

  • ⅓ to ½ cup tomatoes chopped
  • ⅓ to ½ cup green or red capsicum cubed
  • 2 tablespoon organic mustard oil (replace with any oil you prefer)
  • ½ teaspoon kalonji (onion seeds, omit if you do not have)
  • teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ cup onions finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (more to adjust)
  • cup curd (plain yogurt, dahi, read notes)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 200 grams paneer cubed
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves fine chopped to garnish
  • ¼ inch ginger slice peeled & julienned (optional, to garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon achar / pickle of choice (optional, use more if you want)


Instructions

Preparation

  • Add red chilies, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin, mustard and methi seeds to a spice jar. Make a fine powder. Your spice blend is ready, Keep this aside. Puree tomatoes and capsicum. Set this aside as well.

How to make Achari Paneer

  • Heat oil in a pan and add kalonji seeds. When they splutter add hing, followed by finely chopped onions. Saute until golden.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes away, for a minute. Lower the flame and stir in the achari spice blend. Saute for a minute or 2, on a low heat until aromatic. Do not burn.
  • Pour the tomato capsicum puree and cook until the mixture turns thick & aromatic. Stir in the chili powder, salt, turmeric and sugar. Saute for 2 mins.
  • Turn down the flame to low and stir in half of the curd. Mix well and stir in the rest until well incorporated. Cook until the masala turns thick and leaves the pan.
  • Stir in the water and cook until the gravy becomes thickens and traces of oil are visible on top. Stir in the paneer and ginger juliennes. Cover and cook on a low heat for 2 mins. Taste test and adjust salt, if you want you may stir in the achar or lemon juice.
  • Transfer achari paneer masala to a serving bowl. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with Basmati rice, Tandoori roti or with Jeera rice.


Notes

  • Make sure you use fresh curd that is not sour else your dish can turn out too tart. It should be at room temperature and whisk it well before using else it can split.
  • If your tomatoes are too tart, peel and deseed them.
 

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Achari Paneer Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 108 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Sodium 422mg18%
Potassium 218mg6%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 555IU11%
Vitamin C 45.9mg56%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 1.5mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

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Achari Paneer Recipe

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Delicious achari paneer! I use this recipe to make eggplants and bhindi as well. Perfect and tasty.

5 stars
Tried today and turned out very tasty. Thanks for the change in taste and flavor from the regular ones. Definitely capsicum adds a different flavour.

Hi, your recipe was awesome but how many people does it serve?

5 stars
superb recipes ..i like your recipes and they are easy to make..thanku so much

Tried this today, it was fantastic. Thank you very much. One question, what do you mean when you say “mixture leaves the pan”?

5 stars
Found this recipe trying to find something new for paneer (I am low-carb and paneer is PERFECT for my diet!), and this really hit the spot! I make this probably once a month now! Very delicious, easy instructions, and clear pictures and video to help!! Thanks!

Hi Swati, I try most of your receipes and they have delicious, lip smacking, I really like whatever I have tried

Hi Swasthi – I follow your recipes on a regular basis (nearly weekly). You are my go-to! I have a coffee grinder that we use as a spice grinder, but it is less than ideal. Which brand do you use? It seems to grind very well.
Regards,
Jen

Thank you! Your response is very helpful.
Jen

Thank you so much swasthi ji.
Tried achari panner for the first time. The aroma of speices and the taste was amazing. Keep posting more recipes.

Swasthi.. I can’t tell u how big a life saver u are.. it recipes are all easy to make and rate super delicious. I love the way u have small steps for each portion and then assemble the overall dish. I am hardly a good cook and ur recipes save my entire family especially now that we are not in home country.. thanks a lot.. keep posting ur recipes

4 stars
Can we skip capsicum?

Thank you!

5 stars
Very nice. I made this. it turned out superb.

5 stars
This turned out damn good. My guests loved it.