paneer pasanda

Paneer Pasanda Recipe

Updated: September 9, 2023, By Swasthi, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Paneer Pasanda literally translates to ‘ Favorite Paneer’ and is a popular dish in the North Indian restaurants. Soft Paneer Sandwiches are filled with aromatic nut & spice mixture, later fried until crisp and served with a luxurious gravy. Paneer Pasanda is best served with fluffy Basmati Rice, Butter Naan, Tandoori Roti or with plain Parathas.

paneer pasanda



This is not just another orange gravy with paneer that we always eat! Paneer Pasanda is a special and celebratory dish!

What is Pasanda?

It is unclear whether Pasanda was invented in the Mughal kitchens or was developed on the basis of existing Indian cooking methodologies but the dish became popular during the Mughal era where prime cuts of meat were served as “Pasanda”. The preparation basically had thin strips of meat. (Source: Wiki)

Since a major population of Indians are vegetarians, Paneer Pasanda was born in the Indian restaurants. Culinary enthusiasts came up with the idea of making this with paneer sandwiches, which are actually thin strips of paneer filled with a stuffing of nuts, spices, khoya (milk solids), paneer and herbs.

In the restaurants, to join these 2 thin slices of paneer (with the filling), they are dipped in corn flour batter before frying. This task is a bit tedious for beginners so I have shared an easier method in this post. Also we are just going to pan-fry them in ghee which taste as good as the deep-fried restaurant pasanda sandwiches.

About this Recipe

This dish has 2 components – Gravy and sandwiches. This Paneer Pasanda has a delicious & rich orange gravy that does not taste like the Butter Masala, Paneer Makhani or even Shahi Paneer.

This has a unique flavor profile as the ingredients (especially the spices), their proportions and the cooking method of the dish are all different.

For the Paneer Sandwiches I use Coriander chutney or Green chutney which I consider is the key ingredient in the filling. Without coriander chutney, this Paneer Pasanda is nothing special, meaning the chutney is the heart of this dish.

We were never fond of Paneer Pasanda until I figured out this trick of adding coriander chutney (Source: Chef. Sanjeev Kapoor) to the sandwich fillings.

This gravy is rich and heavy than other Paneer Dishes so it makes a great side for occasions like weekend dinners, parties or festive meals like Diwali.

I have some tips, substitutes and possible variations in the sections below (after the stepwise photos).

How to Make Paneer Pasanda (Stepwise Photos)

Preparation

1. Fine chop or process 2 medium onions to make 1¾ cups (200 grams) and begin to cook (next step). As you saute the onions prepare the rest –

  • 1½ cups (200 grams) tomatoes (diced, sweet variety, not sour)
  • ½ inch ginger (peeled & sliced)
  • 4 medium (or 8 small) garlic cloves (slice if the cloves are large)
  • Soak 20 cashew nuts in half cup water (or use ¼ cup almond flour)
  • ½ cup curd (fresh yogurt, not sour)
ingredients for pasanda gravy

2. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons oil to a deep pot and add onions. Saute them on a medium flame until golden. This step takes about 10 minutes. Add the ginger garlic and continue to saute on a lower flame until the onions are deep golden and caramelized. Do not burn.

3. When the onions are done, turn off and cool them completely, leaving the excess oil in the pot.

4. Add the tomatoes, soaked cashews (without water), yogurt and cooled onions with ginger garlic to a grinder jar. Make sure you add only cooled ingredients, heat can split the curd.

5. Blend to a smooth paste.

Make Pasanda Gravy

6. To make the gravy you will need these spices. Keep them aside as you won’t have time to look for ingredients while making.

  • 1 green chili (slit, deseeded or leave it for no heat)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves
  • 1½ inch cinnamon piece
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 strand mace
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar (if needed, to balance the flavors)
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (cut down for low heat)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper crushed/powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg grated
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi
  • 1 pinch saffron (adjust to taste, or rose water or kewda water)

7. Heat 1 to 1½ tablespoon butter to the same pan and melt it on a very low heat. Add the whole spices and deseeded green chili. Let them sizzle in the butter for a minute. If you do this too long, the spices may splutter & splash the butter.

8. Stir in the garam masala and red chili powder.

9. Immediately pour the onion tomato paste. Quickly mix and cook covered on a medium heat (leaving the spoon in) for 8 minutes. At this stage the masala splutters a lot, so it is essential to cover the pot and cook on a low to medium heat. Meanwhile heat 1½ to 1¾ cups water in a small pot.

10. Turn down the heat completely and pour the hot water (not boiling hot) and mix well.

11. Cover and simmer until the gravy turns thick and creamy. It takes about 16 to 20 minutes, depending on your cookware and stove. While this cooks, prepare the sandwiches (next step).

Prepare the Sandwiches

12. I am using 2 blocks of rinsed paneer here (200 grams each). You can also use 1 large block. Trim the sides of each block to make it perfectly shaped. From the 2 blocks you will get about ¼ cup (35 to 40 grams) crumbled trimmings (see picture below), which we are going to use for the stuffing. Dice each block to 4 portions. You will have 8 portions from 2 blocks. Make a slit carefully, keeping the base of the piece intact (on one side). You don’t need 2 slices but a slit on 1 portion, so we can stuff in there.

13. Crumble all the trimmed edges of the paneer and add it to a small plate. Add the following:

  • 1½ tbsps fine chopped cashew nuts (or pistachios & almonds)
  • 1 to 1½ tablespoon coriander chutney (or coriander, chili and ginger paste)
  • ⅛ teaspoon garam masala
  • ⅛ teaspoon cumin powder (adjust to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried ginger (optional)
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon amchur or chaat masala (adjust to taste)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt (or as needed)

14. Mix all of them well and taste test. Adjust the filling to your taste. Add more chutney, spices or salt to your taste. To make it kids’ friendly, leave out the chilies in the coriander chutney. If you add too much chutney, the filling may turn too loose. We want it wet but not runny.

15. Carefully fill the sandwiches with the prepared filling, making sure not to break them to parts.

16. Meanwhile check the gravy, it should turn thick and creamy.

17. Add nutmeg, garam masala, kasuri methi, black pepper, sugar and salt.

18. Mix well and taste test the gravy. Adjust the spices as required to your taste. Sprinkle 1 pinch saffron strands or rose water or kewda (all are optional but they add another layer of flavors). Turn off and cover the pot.

19. Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in a non-stick (or well seasoned cast iron) pan and spread the ghee all over. When the ghee is hot, gently place the sandwiches all over. Note that using a lot of fats (ghee or oil) at this stage is going to splatter.

20. Fry them on a medium high heat until they turn golden on the base. Gently with a wooden tong or 2 spatulas, hold the sandwiches and turn them to the other side. Handle them carefully.

21. I didn’t have to add any additional ghee, if you want you may add. Turn off when they are crispy and golden.

22. This is the consistency of the gravy after cooling down a bit (after 10 to 15 mins). If you have a runny gravy, your sandwiches will sink and soften instantly. If so, serve the gravy and the sandwiches separately only in your dinner plates.

Serve Paneer Pasanda warm with steaming hot Basmati rice, Butter Naan, Tandoori Roti or Plain Parathas. We feel flavored rice dishes are unnecessary and a bit heavy for this side. A simple Masoor Dal and Kachumber go well in this meal. If you want to extend your menu, make this Dal Tadka or Vegetable Curry or Baingan Bharta with some flatbreads.

paneer pasanda recipe

Pro Tips

  • If you want you may puree the brown onion paste separately and add during the last 5 mins of cooking, for a more caramelized onion flavor. I often have trouble grinding so little brown onions to a smooth paste so I prefer pureeing everything together.
  • This gravy has a slight tang that comes from the yogurt and tomatoes. However using sour tomatoes or very sour yogurt can make the dish too tangy and inedible.
  • This dish uses less amount of ground spices so it makes for lesser gravy/ sauce. If you use too much ground spices or butter, the dish takes up the same flavors as our butter masala.
  • This Paneer Pasanda recipe is low on heat and that’s how the dish is made. But if you prefer more heat, use more green chilies along with onions. Puree the chilies as well with the brown onions.
  • If you have kids for the meal, watch the green chilies you add to your coriander chutney. If you do not have coriander chutney, make a paste of handful coriander leaves, very little ginger and cumin. Taste test so there is not too much ginger.
  • Do not leave out the whole spices as they impart flavors that are different from the ground spices like garam masala or cumin powder.
  • If you want you can also make this with Paneer Butter Masala gravy.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

paneer pasanda recipe

Paneer Pasanda Recipe

5 from 29 votes
Paneer Pasanda that tastes much better than your favorite restaurant! Spiced paneer sandwiches are pan fried and served with a creamy gravy.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings4 to 5
AuthorSwasthi
Diet : Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1¾ cups (200 grams) onions fine processed or chopped
  • ½ inch ginger (peeled & sliced)
  • 4 medium (or 8 small) garlic cloves
  • 1½ cups (200 grams) tomatoes (diced, sweet variety, not sour)
  • 20 soaked cashews (or ¼ cup almond flour)
  • ½ cup curd (fresh yogurt, not sour)

To make the gravy

  • 1 to 1½ tablespoon butter
  • 1 green chili (slit, deseeded or leave it for low heat)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 strand mace
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 4 cloves
  • inch cinnamon piece
  • ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (cut down for low heat)
  • ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1½ to 1¾ cups hot water

To finish

  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar (if needed, to balance the flavors)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper crushed/powder
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi
  • teaspoon nutmeg grated
  • 1 pinch saffron (adjust to taste)

For the Sandwiches

  • 400 grams Paneer block/s
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • tbsps cashew nuts (or pistachios & almonds)
  • teaspoon garam masala
  • teaspoon cumin powder
  • teaspoon red chili powder
  • teaspoon dried ginger
  • teaspoon amchur or chaat masala
  • teaspoon salt (or as needed)
  • 1 to 1½ tablespoon coriander chutney

To Garnish (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream or cashew cream
  • 1 tablespoon coriander leaves fine chopped


Instructions

Preparation

  • Heat oil in a deep pot and saute onions on a medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to saute on a low heat until deep golden (caramelized) but not burnt.
  • Cool this and add to a blender along with tomatoes, soaked cashews and curd. Make a smooth paste.
  • Add butter to the same pot and heat it on a low heat. Add the whole spices – bay leaf, mace, cinnamon, cloves, green and black cardamoms and green chilies.
  • Let them sizzle in the butter for a minute and stir in the red chili powder and garam masala, followed by the onion tomato puree.
  • Be careful as this can splutter. Quickly cover and cook for 8 minutes on a low to medium heat (leaving the spoon in & stir after every 3 minutes without uncovering).
  • Turn down the heat and stir in the hot water. Cover and simmer until the gravy turns thick and creamy.

How to Make Paneer Pasanda

  • Meanwhile, trim the edges of the paneer blocks to cut down about 35 to 40 grams ( ¼ cup crumbled). Cube the rest of the paneer to 8 portions.
  • Make a slit on the paneer portions, keeping one side intact (refer the pictures in the post).
  • Mix together the crumbled paneer with salt, coriander chutney, chopped cashews, red chili powder, amchur, garam masala and dried ginger. Taste test and add more spice to your taste. The mixture has to be moist.
  • Carefully fill the paneer sandwiches with this mixture, making sure to keep one side intact. (do not break). Keep them aside.
  • Check the gravy, it should be thick and creamy. Add nutmeg, kasuri methi, black pepper, sugar and salt. Taste test and adjust all the spices if you want.
  • Sprinkle saffron or rose water or kewda. Turn off and keep covered for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Heat a pan with ghee or oil and place the paneer sandwiches. Fry them on a medium to medium-high heat until golden, using a wooden tong or 2 spatulas, hold the paneer sandwiches and turn them to the other side.
  • Fry them until crisp and golden.
  • The gravy becomes thick after cooling down a bit. Serve the gravy with Basmati rice, naan or roti. Place the sandwiches in the gravy and garnish with coriander leaves & cream.


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

Watch Paneer Pasanda Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Paneer Pasanda Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 477 Calories from Fat 351
% Daily Value*
Fat 39g60%
Saturated Fat 19g119%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 78mg26%
Sodium 627mg27%
Potassium 309mg9%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 609IU12%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 553mg55%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Paneer Pasanda 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
Very nice dish I like it and the procedure

5 stars
Is there any suggestion on what to do with the remaining crumble after the sandwiches are filled? I ended up with a lot of crumble remaining. Not sure what to do with it.

5 stars
Lovely pasanda! I made it for my husband’s birthday dinner and it was a huge hit. My kids kept asking for more paneer and my husband for the sauce. Thank Swasthi. This is the first recipe I have made from your website and can’t thank you enough for making our day.

5 stars
Like everything else on this blog, this paneer pasanda was a huge success. I think saffron is a must for the flavors.

nice paneer

5 stars
This looks insanely delicious. I can’t wait to try it. I’ve made easier versions of your dal tadka many times over and every time I’ve tried other sites to see how they do it differently, I miss how incredibly thorough you are. I LOVE that you include the amounts WITH the step by step parts, so I’m not scrolling back and forth (when, of course, I haven’t prepped perfectly ahead, but at least have everything on the counter 😀 ). This is how I always rewrite my favorite recipes for home use and I really appreciate your doing it here. I can tell you put a massive amount of time into your work here. Thank you so much!!!!

5 stars
Thank you for the fabulous recipes you post. My wife made this for a small party and everyone raves about it.

5 stars
I am a die hard fan of paneer and this pasanda is the best I have ever made. The sandwiches are really delicious and addictive

5 stars
Your recipes are the best. This had so much flavor and love saffron in pasanda.

5 stars
Excellent recipe.

5 stars
I read the recipe. Will definitely try it, but I can imagine the taste after reading the recipe. It has to be rich in taste and flavors.

5 stars
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