Shahi paneer recipe – Delicious, rich & creamy restaurant style shahi paneer. Shahi dishes originated in the royal kitchens of the Mughals and were meat based. Shahi paneer is popular in the Indian restaurants & is made in several ways. Similar to the other mughlai foods, this shahi paneer is prepared with nuts, onions, spices & yogurt or cream. The use of yogurt or curd elevates the taste of the gravy with the aroma of spices infused.
Many sources mention that mughlai foods were made rich with the use of nuts, saffron & curd. Tomatoes were not used as they did not exist in India during the mughal reign.
Restaurants serve shahi paneer made in different styles, some even use tomatoes. The recipe shared here does not use tomatoes but I have included tips in the recipe card if you prefer to use it. Using both yogurt & tomatoes makes the gravy very tangy which can be balanced with the addition of extra cream.
To make shahi paneer recipe, most restaurants serving mughlai foods use kewra water for the aroma. Without that one may not feel the dish so special. Though kewra water doesn’t add any taste to the food, it definitely brings in a great aroma to mughalai foods. But if you don’t like its fragrance just skip it.
Tips to make best shahi paneer
- Using fresh curd or yogurt especially homemade is the key as the store bought ones often have a sour flavor.
- Do use good quality paneer. If using store bought, then immerse it in warm water for 15 to 20 mins. Drain & use in the recipe.
- A good garam masala & the whole spices enhance the aroma of the gravy. So do not skip them or reduce the quantity than mentioned in the recipe.
- To make shahi paneer recipe with white gravy, just skip using red chili powder and use green chili to add the hint of heat or spice.
- I have used almonds / badam just to reduce the quantity of cashews. If you like to use all cashews, just replace almonds with cashews.
Serving suggestions for shahi paneer
Shahi paneer recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 1 ½ cup paneer cubes (approximately 225 to 250 grams)
- ½ cup curd or yogurt (avoid sour curd)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric or haldi
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 Pinch saffron (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons Ghee or oil
- 2 to 4 drops Kewra water (optional)
- ¾ cup water
- 3 tablespoons cream (optional)
- ½ teaspoon cumin or jeera or shahi jeera (optional)
- 2 to 3 cloves
- 1 to 2 inch cinnamon
for shahi paste
- 12 whole cashewnuts split or kaju
- 8 almonds or badam
- 1 cup onions cubed
- 3 green cardamoms or elaichi
- 1 green chili slit (optional)
How to make the recipe
Preparation for shahi paneer
- Add one tablespoon ghee to a pan, heat it. Add cashews, green cardamom & almonds. Fry them until light golden.
- Next add cubed onions, green chili and fry until they turn transparent. If using tomato (optional), chop 1 small ripe tomato. Add it now and fry till mushy. Transfer these to a plate and cool completely.
- Blend this with very little water to a smooth puree or paste.
- This step is optional. You can fry the paneer lightly in ghee. Keep the fried paneer immersed in hot water for about 15 mins. This helps to soften the paneer.
How to make shahi paneer
- Heat up the same pan with the rest of the ghee or oil. Add cumin, cloves & cinnamon. Saute until they turn fragrant just for a minute.
- Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes off. This takes about 1 to 2 mins.
- Next transfer the onion cashew paste, chili powder, garam masala, turmeric & salt. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes until the raw smell of the spice powders goes away.
- Beat the curd well in a separate bowl with a fork until smooth. Lower the flame completely and then add it to the pan. Mix well. Cook till it begins to leave the sides of the pan.
- Pour ½ to ¾ cup water. Add saffron if using. Cook till the shahi paneer gravy thickens. Or till u see traces of oil over the gravy. Taste the gravy and add more salt if desired.
- Add paneer and cook for about 2 minutes on a low heat. If sauteed in ghee before then just add paneer and do not cook further. Pour kewra water & cream if using and stir.
- Transfer shahi paneer to a serving bowl to prevent it from cooking further. Garnish shahi paneer with cream. You can also sprinkle some crushed pepper for extra heat.
Preparation for shahi paneer recipe
1. Fry paneer lightly in 1 tbsp. ghee and set aside to a plate. This is optional. I choose not to fry.
2. For making the shahi paste, onions and nuts can be blanched or sauteed in ghee. Sauteing brings out the aroma of the nuts and mild sweetness from onions. So i prefer to saute than to blanch. Heat a kadai with 1 tbsps. Ghee. Add green cardamom, cashews, almonds, and fry till they turn slightly golden.
3. Add onions, green chili and fry till translucent. I forgot to add green chili. Take these to a wide plate and cool.
4. Transfer them to a jar with very little water.
5. Make a smooth paste.
How to make shahi paneer
6. Heat the same pan or kadai with rest of the ghee or oil. Fry cinnamon & cloves for a min. Do not skip the spices since we do not use much of garam masala powder in this recipe. These tempering spices add flavor to the gravy. I have also added the optional ingredients small bay leaf and shahi jeera. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
7. Add the ground onion paste, red chili powder, turmeric, salt and garam masala. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes.
8. Beat the curd to smooth with a fork. Lower the flame and add it to the pan.
9. Cook until it leaves the sides of the pan.
10. Add ½ to ¾ cup water,add saffron strands. stir and begin to cook till curry thickens. By then you can see traces of oil over the gravy.
11. Add cubed paneer and cook for 3 minutes. If you have already sauteed the paneer in ghee, then switch off the stove immediately after adding paneer to gravy. You can also add deseeded slit green chili now for that distinct flavor. Sprinkle kewra water & cream if using. Give a good stir.
Transfer immediately to a serving bowl else paneer can turn rubbery if left in the hot pan for longer.
Shahi paneer is ready. Garnish with cream.