Achari paneer masala recipe – Spicy, hot and flavorful paneer curry that goes well with plain basmati rice, roti or paratha. Achaar or achar is a term in Hindi & some regional languages meaning pickle. Achari dishes are made with the same spices used to make Indian pickles. Hence the name achari. There are a few popular achari dishes like achari chicken, achari gohst & achari paneer. One can find these mostly on North Indian restaurant menus.
This achari paneer recipe, inspired from Chef Sanjay thumma is one of the best I made in the recent times. This recipe yields a gravy that is not too pungent or too spicy. It tastes very delicious, mildly hot & spicy with unique flavors. As there are no cashews or cream used it is on the lighter side. There is yogurt used in the recipe which lends a slight tang to the dish.
If you like to make paneer at home, you can check this post on how to make paneer.
Achari paneer recipe
Achari paneer masala recipe | Spicy achari paneer recipe
Spicy paneer curry in a slightly tangy, sweet and hot gravy with hints of pickle spices. This can be served with roti, paratha or flavored basmati rice.
Ingredients (240 ml cup used)
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds or daniya
- 2 red chilies (less spicy variety)
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds or saunf or sombu
- 1 tsp cumin or jeera
- ½ tsp mustard or rai (use yellow if you have)
- Pinch methi seeds
other ingredients for achari paneer
- 1/3 to ½ cup tomatoes chopped ripe(1 large)
- 1/3 to ½ cup green capsicum cubed
- 1 ½ tbsp mustard oil (or replace with any oil)
- 1 to 1 ½ tbsp oil
- ½ tsp kalonji or onion seeds (skip if you do not have)
- 1/8 tsp asafoetida or hing
- ½ cup onions finely chopped
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1/8 tsp turmeric or haldi
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt or little more
- 1/3 cup fresh curd or dahi or yogurt (refer notes)
- ¾ cup water
- 200 grams cubed paneer
- Handful coriander leaves
- Shredded ginger little (optional)
- Lemon juice (optional to add if desired)
How to make the recipe
Preparation for achari paneer
- Add red chilies, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin, mustard and methi seeds to a spice jar. Make a fine powder set aside.
- Puree tomatoes and capsicum. Set this aside as well.
How to make achari paneer
- Heat oil in a pan. Add kalonji seeds.
- When they splutter add hing.
- Immediately add finely chopped onions and saute until golden.
- Add ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes away.
- Lower the flame and add in the achari spice powder.
- Saute till a nice aroma comes out just for 1 to 2 mins. Do not over fry to prevent bitterness.
- Pour the tomato capsicum puree.
- Saute till the moisture evaporates. The mixture turns thick.
- Add red chili powder, turmeric, salt and sugar.
- Mix and fry on a low heat for 2 mins. The masala leaves the pan by now.
- Add half of the curd to the pan. Mix well with spice masala.
- Add the other half and repeat it.
- Cook until the masala leaves the pan.
- Pour water and make a gravy.
- Cover and cook until the gravy thickens.
- At this stage you will see traces of oil on top. Mix everything well.
- Add paneer and ginger.
- Mix and cover the pan.
- Cook on a low heat for 2 mins.
- Add coriander leaves and turn off the heat.
- Transfer achari paneer masala to a serving bowl. If you prefer more tang, then add lemon juice.
Video of achari paneer recipe
Recipe notes for achari paneer
Curd or dahi used has be fresh. It has to be at room temperature and must be whisked well before adding to the pan. This helps in preventing the curd from coagulating in the gravy.
Preparation for achari paneer masala
1. Add coriander seeds, red chili, fennel/ saunf, jeera/ cumin, methi seeds and mustard. Make sure you use only 1/2 tsp of mustard and a pinch of methi seeds. Using more can make the gravy bitter.
2. Make a fine powder. Set the powder aside.
3. Add capsicum and tomato to the same jar.
4. Make a fine puree.
How to make achari paneer masala
5. Heat mustard oil & any other oil in a pan. Add kalonji seeds.
6. Add hing / asafoetida.
7. When they splutter, add finely chopped onions.
8. Saute them until golden brown. Then add ginger garlic paste. Saute just until the raw smell goes away. Do not over fry as it may make the curry bitter.
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.
10.Pour in the pureed capsicum and tomato. Saute this until all the moisture evaporates.
11. Add turmeric, red chili powder, salt and sugar.
12. Saute this until the mixture leaves the pan. Make sure you do not do it at a high flame or for long time.
13. Lower the flame/ heat completely. Add half of the curd and mix it well until combined with the spice mixture. Make sure the curd is at room temperature and is whisked well.
14. Add the other half and repeat mixing. Using too much curd in a recipe usually causes acidity so I have used only 1/3 cup. I added 1 tbsp of lemon juice just before serving.
15. Saute this till the mixture leaves the pan on a medium flame.
Making achari paneer gravy
16. Add water as needed.
17. Make a gravy.
18. Cover and cook till the gravy thickens.
19. You see traces of oil on top. Mix everything well and add paneer. I have also used little ginger at this stage.
20. Cook covered for 2 mins on a low heat. Add coriander leaves. Do not overcook or leave it on the stove as it will make the paneer hard.
Transfer achari paneer masala to a serving bowl. Keep covered until serving. Add some lemon juice if you prefer the dish to be more tangy.