Paneer Korma Recipe | Paneer Kurma

Updated: January 24, 2022, By Swasthi

Paneer korma that’s delicious, simple to make and requires only pantry staples. For a hearty Indian vegetarian meal, serve this paneer kurma with plain basmati rice, flavored rice like Ghee rice, Jeera rice, and pulao or with flatbreads like Butter Naan, roti or chapati. Unlike most other Paneer Recipes, this paneer korma isn’t loaded with calories as it doesn’t use ingredients like butter, ghee or cream. Make this delicious and fragrant paneer kurma on the stovetop or in the instant pot following my easy one pot recipe.

If you are new to Indian cuisine you may be wondering

What is Paneer Korma?

Paneer korma is an Indian dish where Paneer, aka Indian cheese is simmered in a fragrant and delicious kurma gravy. Korma also known as kurma is a South Asian curried dish where meat or vegetables are cooked in a curry base made with nuts, seeds, yogurt, coconut and spices.

In Paneer korma recipe, vegetables & meat is replaced with paneer. This resulting dish is simply delicious with soft paneer in an aromatic and rich gravy.

In India, every region and even every household has a different recipe to make korma. In North Indian cuisine it is known as korma and is mostly made with onions, seeds, nuts and yogurt as the base, while the South Indian version uses coconut or coconut milk with a unique combination of spices and herbs.

Paneer korma is popular on the restaurant menus and you find many kinds like shahi paneer korma, Hyderabadi paneer korma, Chettinad paneer kurma, Nawabi korma etc. Each of these have their own special flavors.

Every version has a thickener used, some recipes use nuts like almonds or cashews. While some use seeds like melon seeds or poppy seeds. A few recipes also use fried onions, yogurt, seeds, nuts and coconut. So every version has a different taste and flavor.

My Recipe

In this post I have shared a generic recipe from my mom. It has delicious flavors from the whole and ground spices, herbs like mint. I have used poppy seeds and coconut here. You can also substitute them with nuts like almonds and cashews or with yogurt and nuts or with just coconut milk.

This dish is light and not heavy as the white shahi korma you get in the North Indian restaurants. On special occasions I have also made this with 1/3 cup of split cashews to make cashew paneer korma. If you love cashew curry you will love that version as well.

Shahi Paneer Korma

More Paneer Recipes
Paneer butter masala
Kadai paneer
Matar paneer

Photo Guide

How To Make Paneer Korma (Stepwise Photos)


1. Skip this step if you intend to use coconut milk. Add 12 cashew nuts (24 split) or 2 tablespoons poppy seeds to a grinder jar. Make a fine powder. Then add ¼ cup coconut and grind to a smooth paste with 6 to 8 tablespoons water. Ensure this paste is very smooth and do not have grits in it. Keep this aside.

blending poppy seeds to a paste to make paneer korma recipe

Make Paneer Korma

2. Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons oil on a medium heat. When the oil becomes slightly hot, add whole spices

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 inch cinnamon piece
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 to 3 cardamoms
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon Shahi jeera or cumin. When they begin to sizzle, reduce the heat to low and add ½ tablespoon ginger garlic paste. Saute till the ginger garlic turns fragrant for a min or 2. Do not burn this.
sauteing dry spices for paneer korma

3. Add 1 ¼ cup chopped onions and sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt. On a medium heat, fry till onions turn golden and transparent. Stir occasionally so the onions cook evenly.

fry onions till golden for paneer korma

4. Add ¾ cup chopped tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon turmeric. Saute till the tomatoes turn mushy. If they are too dry, splash little water and cook covered on a low heat.

frying tomatoes to make gravy for paneer korma

5. Add

  • 1 to 1¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 10 chopped mint leaves or coriander leaves. I also add half teaspoon fennel seeds powder at this stage. Saute for 2 to 3 mins on a low heat without burning.
addition of garam masala for paneer korma

6. Add the ground paste (cashew/poppy seed & coconut paste) or coconut milk.

coconut poppy seeds mixture for paneer curry

7. On a medium flame saute for about three to four minutes stirring occasionally. It must begin to release a nice aroma of coconut and poppy seeds.

saute coconut paste

8. Pour 1 and ¼ cup water. If using coconut milk you will need only ¾ cup water. Mix well and bring it to a boil. If required, add little more water to adjust the consistency.

pour water

9. Cook on a medium flame till the korma gravy turns thick and specks of oil are visible on top. At this stage, taste test and add more salt and garam masala if required. If you want to add cashews, add 1/3 cup ghee fried cashews and let simmer for a while.

Cook on a medium flame

10. Add panner to the korma and turn off the stove. Give a good mix and keep the paneer korma covered.

step by step pictures on paneer korma recipe

Garnish paneer korma with coriander leaves.

south indian paneer korma recipe swasthis recipes


What is korma sauce made of?

Korma sauce is made of onions, yogurt, nuts, seeds and whole spices. Some versions even use fried onions or coconut and herbs like mint leaves.

What is the difference between korma and curry?

Korma is essentially a gravy dish, In other words it is a dish with sauce and most often ingredients like yogurt, seeds, nuts, spices, herbs and sometimes coconut are used. A curry can be a dry dish or a saucy dish and is usually made in South Asian style. It may or may not have the ingredients used in korma.

What does a korma taste like?

Korma tastes nutty, flavorsome and has a well-balanced taste of slight sweet, spicy and tart flavors. It is heavy on flavors but light on heat quotient.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

paneer korma recipe

Paneer Korma | Paneer Kurma

5 from 38 votes
Indian cottage cheese known cooked in a onion tomato based gravy along with poppy seeds and coconut paste. Mildly spiced gravy that can be served with rice based dishes or Indian breads like roti , naan and phulka
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings3 to 4

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 250 to 300 grams paneer cubed
  • cup onions fine chopped (1 large)
  • ¾ cup tomatoes chopped (2 medium)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 to 1¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 10 mint leaves fine chopped or 2 tablespoons coriander leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds or shahi jeera
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 inch cinnamon piece
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • cup water (¾ cup if using coconut milk)

To Grind or use ½ to ¾ cup thick coconut milk

  • 12 cashew nuts or 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • ¼ cup fresh coconut
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons water


  • Skip this step if you want to use coconut milk in the recipe. Add cashews or poppy seeds to a grinder jar and make a fine powder first. Add fresh coconut and repeat grinding. Pour 6 to 8 tbsps water to make a smooth paste. If required add a little more water.

Stovetop Paneer Korma

  • Heat a pan with oil on a medium heat. Once the oil is slightly hot, add whole spices – bay leaf, star anise, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and cardamoms.
  • When the spices begin to sizzle, add ginger garlic paste and fry till it turns slightly aromatic for about 60 seconds. Do not over fry, it can make the gravy bitter.
  • Add onions, sprinkle salt and fry till they turn transparent or golden.
  • Add tomatoes , salt and turmeric. Fry till tomatoes turn mushy. If required splash a bit of water and cook covered until the tomatoes turn mushy.
  • Next add red chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder and mint leaves or coriander leaves. Carefully saute for two to three minutes without burning.
  • Add the smooth ground paste. Fry for three to four minutes on a medium flame stirring occasionally. It must begin to release a nice aroma of coconut and poppy seeds. [If using coconut milk stir it together with ¾ cup water]
  • Pour water (or diluted coconut milk) and mix well. Bring this to a boil and reduce the heat, cook till the gravy thickens & you see specks of oil floating on the korma. Keep stirring occasionally.
  • Once the curry reaches a desired thick consistency, add paneer and gently stir.
  • Turn off the heat. Let paneer korma rest for a while so it absorbs the flavors. Serve with rice, roti or naan.

Instant pot Paneer korma

  • Perform all the steps following the instant pot saute mode, except for adding the coconut paste or coconut milk. Reserve this for adding later. Also you will use only 1 cup water for cooking the gravy.
  • Pressure cook for 5 mins and wait for 2 mins. Release the pressure manually.
  • Stir in the ½ to ¾ coconut milk or the coconut paste. If you think your korma is too thick, pour little boiling water. Taste test and add more garam masala and salt if required.
  • Let cook on saute mode until aromatic and thick for 3 mins.
  • Turn off the IP and add paneer. Cover paneer korma with a lose lid and serve after 10 mins. Garnish with coriander leaves.


  1. If you want you may add half teaspoon of fennel seed powder along with garam masala. If you do not have simply add ½ to ¾ seeds to the grinder when you grind the coconut/poppy seeds.
  2. Add up to 1/3 cup split fried cashews 2 mins before adding the paneer.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Paneer Korma | Paneer Kurma
Amount Per Serving
Calories 348 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 55mg18%
Sodium 46mg2%
Potassium 345mg10%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 15g30%
Vitamin A 800IU16%
Vitamin C 14mg17%
Calcium 452mg45%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

This Paneer Korma Recipe post was first published in July 2014. Updated and republished in January 2022.

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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Hello. Looks delicious! Can I substitute halloumi for the paneer in this recipe please?
Where I live I don’t know where to buy paneer, but halloumi is easily available.
Thank you

5 stars
Made this tonight and it was a roaring success – the pot was scraped of every last morsel! Thank you so much <3

Can I use Amul cheese slices instead of Paneer? If not is there any other recipe I can try with processed cheese slices?

5 stars
As a college student who loves home made food and budgeting I appreciate the substitutes you provide and how amazing the dishes turn out. I made chicken for the first time a day ago and it turned out like it was made by a mother and it was delectable.

5 stars
This sounds so good! I have poppy seeds and coconut milk instead of fresh coconut. Should I just blend them together?

5 stars
I actually just tried Paneer Korma for the first time and I LOVED it. I’m not sure if it was like yours or not. I had the following ingredients: Paneer Cheese, Indian Soffrito, Cashew Cream, Korma Spice? Red and Green Bell Peppers and some red onion, plus Cayenne to taste, brown rice, and Cilantro. The trouble is this was delivered and I have since dropped the meal service. Do you have a recipe that would be close to that? Or should I just add peppers, and cilantro and use brown rice? Or is yours maybe sweeter?

5 stars

Nice recipe i try first then write comment sovery nice testy dish

Can I make it without poppy seeds?

Hi Swasthi
I love all your recipes – they are so easy to cook and taste delicious. Thank you so much for offering such a fantastic service.
I only have black poppy seed. Can I use them instead of the white poppy seeds?
The colour of the curry will slightly be darker, I assume. Will the taste differ as well?
What kind /brand of blender do you use to blend the spices into fine powder?
Thank you very much in advance.
Best regards Steffi

Thank you so much! It helped me a lot. I will have a look at the blenders you recommended later. Maybe they are available in Europe as well.
The dish was delicious even with the black poppy seeds (I bought them already powdered). Next time I am in an Asian store I will buy the white seeds and cook the dish again to find out if there is a difference. Happy Easter!

5 stars
Thanks for your recipe

Thank you for information…

very yummy recipe.sir but i want to ask u if we don’t hve coconut than can we use coconut powder ready.

practically i observed that your recipe is delicious

reall it tests so nice.

5 stars
This recipe is a keeper swasthi. I make it every week we r addicted to this. Thanks

5 stars
this turned out wonderful,yummy

5 stars
Swasthi, you are an amazing cook. we made this so many times, it turns out too good. but coul not comment here. I must thank you for so many yummy recipes.

My fav anytime……. Delectable paneer kurma !!

Mom’s recipes are always a super hit! My amma makes almost a similar korma with chicken, will def try your version.