Kashmiri Paneer Masala

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This easy Kashmiri Paneer Masala recipe makes a quick and tasty Indian curry. Soft, succulent pieces of paneer are simmered in a delicious tomato-based gravy. This is a no-cream, no-butter recipe, no-onion, and no-garlic recipe. Perfect for weeknights or even for entertaining!

Here are some more paneer recipes for you to try – Palak Paneer [Spinach with Indian cottage cheese], Paneer Butter Masala, and Paneer In Veggie Sauce.

 

Kashmiri Paneer Masala

 

KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA

It was on my bucket list ever since I tried this recipe at the restaurant. Finally, after a few trials and errors, I nailed this recipe for Kashmiri Paneer Masala. How fascinating it is to recreate something? Isn’t it?

Kashmiri Paneer Masala is a popular dish from the Northern State of Kashmiri. A very simple and mild preparation of paneer dish, that uses whole spices, a few aromatics, and simmered in a tomato puree.

This dish does not use any onion, garlic, cream, or butter. Commonly used spices in regional Kashmiri cuisine like ginger, saffron, Shahi jeera, and fennel seeds are used as aromatics.

I have used fresh tomatoes for this recipe. But, this recipe works just fine with canned tomato puree. I do cheat at times and skip the fresh tomatoes and that’s ok. We all do that, isn’t it? You can use homemade paneer or a good quality store-bought paneer.

INGREDIENTS FOR KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA

Paneer – I have used homemade paneer for this recipe. Feel free to use good quality store-bought paneer.

Tomatoes – I have used ripe, Roma tomatoes, blanched and pureed. You can use canned tomato puree, works just fine.

Ginger – I like fresh organic ginger, but ground ginger works fine.

Green chili – This dish is quite mild. I used about 2 Thai green chilies, just for some flavor. Feel free to skip it or use any mild chili.

Tomato paste – It is optional. Since I used fresh tomato puree, adding just a small amount of tomato paste, gives a nice texture to the sauce. Feel free to skip, if using canned tomato puree.

Yogurt – Homemade or store-bought, thick, or Greek-style yogurt works fine.

INGREDIENTS FOR KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA (CONTINUED)

Arrowroot flour – Helps prevent curdling of yogurt. You can use cornstarch, works fine.

Honey – It is optional. If the tomatoes are acidic, honey helps balance the flavor. You can use the sweetener of your choice.

Whole Spices – Cinnamon stick, bay leaves, whole green cardamom, Shahi jeera, or sub with cumin seeds.

Dry spices – Fennel seeds powder, Kashmiri red chili powder or sub with mild Paprika, garam masala, Kasuri methi, and asafetida.

Oil – Traditionally, mustard oil is used for this recipe. I have used Canola oil.

Pic Shown: Kashmiri Paneer Masala

 

Kashmiri Paneer Masala

 

DIRECTIONS FOR KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA

PREP FOR KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA

Cut the paneer into a square shape. Set it aside.

In a small bowl, mix yogurt and arrowroot flour. Set it aside.

Prepare a small bowl for an ice bath. Add 1 cup of water and a handful of ice cubes.

To blanch the tomatoes, add 2 cups of water to a small pot and bring it to a rolling boil.

Using a paring knife, slit a shallow X on the bottom of each tomato.

Using a slotted spoon, carefully add the tomatoes to the boiling water.

Blanch them for 30-60 seconds or until the skin starts to come off around the X slit.

Immediately, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water bowl to stop the cooking process.

Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin. It should slide off easily.

In a blender jar, add blanched tomatoes, and make a fine puree.

KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA

In a bowl, add 2 cups of warm water and set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan. On medium heat, fry the paneer cubes in batches until golden brown.

Note: The paneer might splutter, be careful. Fry on medium to low heat.

Remove the fried paneer and add it to the bowl of warm water. Let it soak while you make the masala.

Note: Soaking the paneer in warm water, helps keep the paneer soft and moist.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Next, add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, whole green cardamom, Shahi jeera, and asafetida. Fry the spices for 30 seconds.

Add slit green chili and Kashmiri red chili powder. Immediately pour the puree and cover with the lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Note: Be careful as the sauce may splatter. Use a splatter screen or lid to prevent any splashes.

Add the fennel powder, and ground ginger, and mix well.

KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA (CONTINUED)

Simmer the tomato puree for 4-5 minutes until it starts to leave oil from the sides.

Add about 1 cup of soaking paneer liquid to the tomato puree and mix well. Bring the masala to a boil, and simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Note: Adjust the consistency as per liking. If it’s thick add some more soaking liquid.

Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk yogurt into the gravy.

Note: When adding yogurt remove the pan from the heat to avoid curdling of yogurt.

Return the pan to heat. Add the drained paneer pieces, a pinch of saffron, Kasuri methi, honey (optional), and salt to taste. Give it a good stir. Simmer the gravy for 4-5 minutes.

Note: Honey helps balance the flavors of the gravy, and reduces any tartness from the tomatoes.

Allow the paneer to soak some of the flavors.

Garnish with fresh coriander and a pinch of garam masala powder. Serve with paratha, naan, or rice.

Pic Shown: Kashmiri Paneer Masala

 

Kashmiri Paneer Masala

 

TIPS FOR DELICIOUS KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA

Use fresh veggies for the best results. The key ingredient here is tomatoes which make the base of this delicious sauce. Use ripe tomatoes that are slightly sweet and less tart.

Paneer is yet another important ingredient in this dish. I prefer homemade paneer over store-bought. I find homemade paneer, quite soft and perfect for this dish. You can use homemade or good quality store-bought paneer. Follow the instructions on the package before using the paneer.

Indian food is all about spices and flavors. Though this recipe uses spices very sparsely, adjust the spices to suit your taste bud. Kashmiri red chili powder is used mainly for color. You can sub paprika for the same. A small amount of garam masala goes a long way. Do not add too much of it, or it will overpower the flavors of the dish.

Soaking paneer in warm water, softens and brings out the fresh flavor in the paneer. Soak the paneer pieces in warm water for 10-15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pieces and use them in the dish as suggested.

Add paneer and let it simmer for a couple of minutes or until the sauce comes to a gentle boil. This helps the paneer warm through and absorbs all the flavors.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHERE TO BUY PANEER

Paneer is available in most Asian or Indian grocery stores. You can make fresh paneer at home.

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE PANEER

I have shared a recipe for homemade paneer on my blog. Here’s the link to the recipe – How To Make Paneer

CAN I SKIP FRYING THE PANEER

Paneer is pan-fried to take some rawness out of it. It also adds flavor to the dish. Feel free to skip it if you prefer so. Make sure to soak the paneer in warm water before adding it to the sauce.

CAN I USE FROZEN PANEER

If using frozen paneer, thaw the paneer overnight or for a couple of hours, in the refrigerator.

Pic Shown: Kashmiri Paneer Masala

 

Kashmiri Paneer Masala

 

CAN I ADD ONION

Traditionally, this recipe is made without onion and garlic. If you prefer to add an onion, go ahead and add it. For this recipe, I would suggest 1 small onion would work.

Add chopped onion just before adding the tomato puree. Sauté for a few minutes or until translucent. No need to brown the onion. Follow the rest of the recipe.

WHERE TO FIND KASURI METHI

Kasuri methi is dried fenugreek leaves. It is easily available in most Asian or Indian grocery stores. You can find Kasuri methi in the spices section.

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA

For vegan Kashmiri paneer masala, use the following substitute for paneer and yogurt:

Use tofu, seitan, or tempeh instead of paneer. Medium Tofu tastes great in this recipe.

Instead of yogurt, use plant-based yogurt, coconut cream, or cashew paste.

Soak 8-10 cashews in warm water for cashew paste for 30 minutes. Grind to a smooth paste. Add this cashew paste at the end.

HOW TO SERVE KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA

I like to serve Kashmiri paneer masala with some Indian flatbread such as tandoori roti, paratha, or naan. But this dish goes well with steamed Basmati Rice or brown rice as well.

Pair it with Sindhi Methi Aloo [Fenugreek Potato Curry], Aloo Soya [Indian Fried Dill Potato],  Aloo Gobi [Potato Cauliflower Curry], Bharwa Bhindi [stuffed okra], Nav Dhan Dal [9 mix lentils and beans], or Dal Makhani [Madras Lentils] and you have a feast.

HOW TO STORE KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA

Kashmiri Paneer masala stays fresh for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. 

TRIED THIS RECIPE?

Hope you enjoy this Kashmiri Paneer Masala!! If you give this recipe a try, please rate the recipe by clicking the stars ⭐️ on the recipe card. Leave a comment and share your experience. Thank you ❤️ 

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Kashmiri Paneer Masala

Kashmiri Paneer Masala

Jyoti Behrani
This easy Kashmiri Paneer Masala recipe makes a quick and tasty Indian curry. Soft, succulent pieces of paneer are simmered in a delicious tomato-based gravy. This is a no-cream, no-butter recipe, no-onion, and no-garlic recipe. Perfect for weeknights or even for entertaining!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Dish/Entrees, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, North Indian
Servings 4
Calories 282 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 6 oz paneer, cut into a square shape
  • 4 medium tomatoes or 1/4 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 inch ginger, chopped
  • 1-2 green chili, slit into two; adjust to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 4 tbsp oil or ghee
  • 2 tbsp thick or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp arrowroot flour
  • 1 tsp honey or preferred sweetener (optional)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • salt to taste

WHOLE SPICES

DRY SPICES

FOR THE GARNISH

  • a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • a pinch of garam masala

Instructions
 

PREP FOR KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA

  • Cut the paneer into a square shape. Set it aside.
  • In a small bowl, mix yogurt and arrowroot flour. Set it aside.
  • Prepare a small bowl for an ice bath. Add 1 cup of water and a handful of ice cubes.
  • To blanch the tomatoes, add 2 cups of water to a small pot and bring it to a rolling boil.
  • Using a paring knife, slit a shallow X on the bottom of each tomato.
  • Using a slotted spoon, carefully add the tomatoes to the boiling water. Blanch them for 30-60 seconds or until the skin starts to come off around the X slit.
  • Immediately, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water bowl to stop the cooking process.
  • Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin. It should slide off easily. In a blender jar, add blanched tomatoes, and make a fine puree.

DIRECTIONS KASHMIRI PANEER MASALA

  • In a bowl, add 2 cups of warm water and set aside.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan. On medium heat, fry the paneer cubes in batches until golden brown.
    Note: The paneer might splutter, be careful. Fry on medium to low heat.
  • Remove the fried paneer and add it to the bowl of warm water. Let it soak while you make the masala.
    Note: Soaking the paneer in warm water, helps keep the paneer soft and moist.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Next, add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, whole green cardamom, Shahi jeera, and asafetida. Fry the spices for 30 seconds.
  • Add slit green chili and Kashmiri red chili powder. Immediately pour the puree and cover with the lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Note: Be careful as the sauce may splatter. Use a splatter screen or lid to prevent any splashes.
  • Add the fennel powder, and ground ginger, and mix well.
  • Simmer the tomato puree for 4-5 minutes until it starts to leave oil from the sides.
  • Add about 1 cup of soaking paneer liquid to the tomato puree and mix well. Bring the masala to a boil, and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
    Note: Adjust the consistency as per liking. If it’s thick add some more soaking liquid.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk yogurt into the gravy.
    Note: When adding yogurt remove the pan from the heat to avoid curdling of yogurt.
  • Return the pan to heat. Add the drained paneer pieces, a pinch of saffron, Kasuri methi, honey (optional), and salt to taste. Give it a good stir. Simmer the gravy for 4-5 minutes.
    Note: Honey helps balance the flavors of the gravy, and reduces any tartness from the tomatoes.
  • Allow the paneer to soak some of the flavors.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and a pinch of garam masala powder. Serve with  parathanaan or Basmati Rice.

Notes

Please refer to the post for the following:
  1. Tips For Delicious Kashmiri Paneer Masala
  2. FAQ's

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Kashmiri Paneer Masala
Amount per Serving
Calories
282
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
25
g
38
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Trans Fat
 
0.1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
9
g
Cholesterol
 
29
mg
10
%
Sodium
 
63
mg
3
%
Potassium
 
208
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
8
g
3
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
3
g
3
%
Protein
 
7
g
14
%
Vitamin A
 
656
IU
13
%
Vitamin C
 
11
mg
13
%
Calcium
 
246
mg
25
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Disclaimer

Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.

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KEYWORD

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