This Shahi Paneer recipe is deliciously creamy and rich in Mughlai cuisine. The fresh, unmelted cheese pairs well with a creamy sauce, perfect for serving with naan or roti. “Shahi” means “royalty”, and I can promise you that this dish is fit for a king!
If you are looking for a comforting and comforting vegetarian dish to serve for dinner, look no further. Shahi Paneer is one of my favorite dishes and will definitely become one of yours.
What is Shahi Paneer?
Shahi Paneer can be translated as “royal cottage cheese”.
Paneer is a very popular cream cheese in Indian cuisine. It is made by curdling milk with a food acid (often lemon juice), then squeezed into cubes. The most remarkable thing about paneer cheese is that it doesn’t melt, providing a texture similar to that of tofu.
TIP: If you’re a vegan, you can easily substitute the tofu for the paneer.
Some Shahi Paneer recipes use tomatoes and butter. I chose not to use these ingredients, instead using yogurt to lighten the dish considerably.
TIP: If you prefer a richer version, feel free to add more cream or butter to the recipe where indicated.
Shahi sauce is packed with aromatic flavors including onion, ginger, garlic, red chili powder, saffron, and cardamom. Balanced with thick, creamy yogurt, this light version of Shahi Paneer is perfect for special occasions.
Also Read: Kadai Paneer Recipe – Semi-Dry
How to make Shahi Paneer
While the ingredient list for Shahi Paneer’s recipe is quite long, you don’t need to be intimidated. The process of making this dish is neither particularly technical nor difficult.
1. In a bowl, take the nuts and seeds – 1 tablespoon of almonds, 2 tablespoons of chopped cashews, 1 tablespoon of melon or magaz seeds and rinse them several times with l ‘water. Drain all the water and set aside.
2. Simmer ½ cup chopped almonds, cashews, melon or magaz seeds, onions, ½ teaspoon of ginger and ½ teaspoon of garlic in 1.5 cups of water for 8 to 10 minutes over medium-low heat.
3. Continue to cook until the onions are tender, then strain the broth and set aside for later use.
4. Once cool, place the softened onions, nuts, seeds, ginger and garlic in a blender or mixing bowl. You can peel the almonds if you prefer.
5. Make a fine paste of the cooked onion mixture, adding 2 to 4 tablespoons of filtered water or as needed.
6. Beat ½ cup fresh curd (yogurt) until smooth and set aside.
Sauté the onion paste
7. Heat 3 tablespoons of ghee in a pan over medium-low to medium heat. Let the ghee melt. You can even use oil or butter instead of ghee.
8. Fry all the spices whole until they release their aroma into the ghee. The whole spices are 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf), 2 to 3 cloves, 2 to 3 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of caraway seeds (shah jeera).
TIP: Be extra careful here, as the spices are delicate and can burn quickly if you’re not careful.
9. Add the onion and walnut paste.
10. Mix over low to medium-low heat until the dough is uniform. Then sauté for 7 to 8 minutes or until the fat separates from the sides of the dough.
You will see that as you continue cooking, the dough will thicken and become shiny. Keep stirring constantly for even cooking. This will also prevent the paste from burning from the bottom.
11. Now add ½ teaspoon of red chilli powder or cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon of garam masala powder and 1 teaspoon of ground coriander. You can even replace the red chili powder with ¼ teaspoon of white or black pepper powder.
12. Stir to combine well.
Add curd (yogurt) and simmer more
13. Reduce the heat to low or turn off the heat. Add the smoothed yogurt, 1 to 1.5 cups of filtered broth and additional water, ½ to 1 teaspoon of sugar and salt as needed.
14. Mix well and simmer over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce thickens. You can always change the consistency of the sauce by adding water.
15. Add ¼ teaspoon of cardamom powder and crush 15 to 20 saffron strands.
16. Stir and add the paneer cubes (200 grams) and 1 tbsp of heavy cream. If you add butter, you can add it here. Mix well and turn off the heat.
17. Garnish with a few sprigs of saffron or fresh coriander leaves or mint leaves and enjoy with flatbread or rice.