Punjabi Shahi Paneer recipe | Restaurant style Shahi Paneer | How to make Shahi Paneer

Shahi Paneer recipe | Learn how to make rich, creamy, flavorful restaurant-style Shahi Paneer at home.

In our home, any dish made with Paneer can impress everyone. The word paneer brings a twinkle in the eyes of my 5 years old kid.

Shahi Paneer recipe

What is Shahi Paneer?

Shahi Paneer is one of the most famous and mouth-watering North Indian delicacies, originating from the Mughlai cuisine.

Shahi = Royal and Paneer = Indian cheese, often referred to as cottage cheese. Put together, it is a Royal Paneer dish, something fit for the Kings. True to its name, this dish is sure to leave anyone wanting more.

How is Shahi Paneer different in taste? Paneer is cooked in a shahi gravy that is thick in consistency, velvety smooth, and mildly sweet in taste. A bite and leaves a slight feeling of sweetness on your tongue and a subtle taste of whole spices.

Difference between Shahi Paneer and Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Tikka Masala, Kadai Paneer etc?

Ordering a Paneer dish in a North Indian was always confusing. The menu card has a paneer section with a long list of paneer variants.

Meme culture has made funny images of the similarities between Paneer dishes in India. Order any paneer dish and you will be served the same.

But it’s not true. I noticed a difference in taste, texture, and color of gravies at Santosh Dhaba in Hyderabad, the restaurant is popular for vegetarian dishes and prepares the best paneer curries.

After some research, I found out that most restaurant dishes revolve around the onion-tomato proportion. Depending on the dish, the proportion varies. Also, each dish is unique in how they are cooked and the spices used to flavor it.

There are some slight differences that differentiate paneer dishes from one another. Here are a few:

Paneer Butter Masala: Self-explanatory – Paneer is cooked with lots of butter in a Masala (gravy) made with onion-tomato, tomato-cashew paste, and Indian spices.

Paneer Tikka Masala: There are two parts to this dish. Paneer tikkas- made by marinating paneer pieces with yogurt/hung curd, ginger garlic paste, tandoori masala, a few Indian spices and grilled in a tandoor. This dish has a smoky flavor and cubes of vegetables- onion, capsicum, and tomato.

The tikkas are simmered in masala similar to paneer butter masala. A difference is, the quantity of makhani gravy is less.

Kadai Paneer: The gravy of kadai paneer is almost similar to Paneer Tikka Masala but there is a difference in the spice mix. Kadai masala, a coarse spice mix made by dry roasting whole dry red chilies, coriander seeds, whole black pepper, and cumin seeds is added to the onion tomato masala. Also, the quantity of cream and butter is less compared to other paneer dishes.

Shahi Paneer: This dish is different from the above dishes in taste and its looks. As it’s a dish made for the Kings, it has to be made with rich ingredients like nuts (cashews and almonds), khoya, and a generous amount of cream, fewer tomatoes, and a few Indian spices compared to its counterparts. Also, the color of gravy is orangey-red.

Punjabi Shahi Paneer Recipe

Shahi Paneer recipe has two versions

Mughlai Shahi Paneer: The dish has white color gravy made with onion, curd, and nuts as the base for the gravy.

Punjabi Shahi Paneer: The dish has orangey-red color gravy, made with onion, tomatoes, kashmiri red chili powder, and nuts as the base.

The recipe I’m sharing is Punjabi Shahi Paneer.

Just like any other dish, the Punjabi Shahi Paneer recipe also has many variations. Some use tomatoes and some use curd as sour ingredients. The dish is unique for its velvety texture.

So, the Punjabi Shahi Paneer recipe is a three steps process;

  1. Make the Shahi Paneer masala.
  2. Grind the masala to smooth puree and strain.
  3. Cook/Temper the puree in few Indian spices.

Preparing this dish does take time, but it’s totally worth it. If you are planning to make this for a get-together or party, you can prepare the curry a day before, without paneer. The next day you can reheat the curry and add paneer pieces, the dish will be ready in 15 minutes,

Reasons to try Shahi Paneer recipe

The dish is a true celebration of rich flavors

Restaurant-style, yet super easy Shahi Paneer recipe

Delicious and creamy vegetarian dish

Pairs beautifully with rice or any Indian bread (butter naan, rotis, parathas, and so on)

Unique taste and not heavy on the stomach

A perfect dish for all the age groups

Punjabi Shahi Paneer restaurant style

Ingredients to make Shahi Paneer

Paneer: Use fresh or good quality for best results. I used Jersey Soft paneer.

Onion & Tomato: To make the base of the curry. I pureed fresh tomatoes. Another option is store-bought tomato puree.

Whole Spices: Bay leaf, Cloves, Cinnamon, Green cardamoms, Cumin, Black Peppercons, Black Cardamom. They add a subtle flavor to the curry.

Ginger-Garlic paste: This adds wonderful flavor to the curry.

Coriander stems: Adds a beautiful aroma.

Ground Spices: Kashmiri red chili powder, Coriander powder, Turmeric powder, Coriander powder and Cumin powder.

Kasuri methi: This is the key ingredient in North Indian curries.

Nuts, Ghee, Butter, Milk, and Cream: Cashew nuts and Kharuja/Muskmelon seeds. All these ingredients are added to make the dish rich and creamy.

You can add almonds too

Sugar or Honey: To balance the sourness of tomatoes.

How to make Shahi Paneer?

Let’s learn to make this drool-worthy Shahi Paneer recipe easily at the comfort of your home.

1.In a pan add onion, tomatoes, whole spices, coriander stems, cashews, melon seeds, 1tbspn butter, garlic and ginger.

2. Turn on the flame and saute for 2 minutes on medium flame. The sauting process tastes better than just boiling the ingredients in water.

3. Add water. Cover the pan and cook till tomatoes are mushy. This may take 10-15 minutes on low flame..

4. Remove bay leaf and transfer to a mixie jar.

5. Let it cool completely and grind to smooth puree. Add little water if needed.

6. Strain the puree to remove any pieces of whole spices or unblended tomatoes skin.

7. Keep the strained puree aside.

8. In a bowl add turmeric powder, kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder an cumin powder. Add little water and mix well.

9. Heat oil or ghee in a pan. When hot, add the masala paste and saute till oil separates.

10. Add the strained puree and give a good mix.

11. Cover the pan and cook for 10-15 mins on low flame.

12. Next, add milk and mix well. Continue to cook on low flame for 5 minutes.

13. Add salt, sugar, kasuri methi, 1 tbspn butter and cream. Mix and cook till the gravy thickens. Do not over cook, else the cream will turn into ghee.

14. Add paneer pieces. Mix gently and cook for just 2-3 minutes.

Shahi Paneer is ready to relish. Garnish with fresh coriander/kasuri methi, fresh cream and rogan/chili oil (optional). Serve hot with rumali roti or naan or pulao.

Tips

Paneer: Quality of the paneer makes a lot of difference in any dish. It has to be soft. You can use homemade or store-bought paneer. Use paneer at room tempertaure. If using refrigerated or frozen, soak the paneer in hot water for 15-30 mins.

Tomatoes: Always use hybrid tomatoes for any restaurant-style dishes. They are less tangy/sour compared to local tomatoes.

Add coriander stems: Usually we use only coriander leaves and discard the stems. Use stems will making the gravy, it adds beautiful aroma. In restaurants, it a key ingredient while making makhani gravy.

Vibrant color of the gravy: Use good quality Kashmiri red chili powder or Deggi mirchi powder to get a vibrant color, just like your favorite restaurants.

Why my paneer is rubbery and hard? After adding the paneer pieces, gently mix with the gravy and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Do not simmer for longer. Overcooking removes moisture from the paneer pieces and will make them hard and rubbery.

Kasuri methi: Dry roast kasuri methion low flame till crisp and crush between the palms.

Do not skip nuts paste, milk, and cream: To make Shahi Paneer truly royal in its taste, add these ingredients for rich and creamy curry.

Serving Suggestions

Shahi Paneer is a versatile dish that pairs well with rice varieties like plain basmati rice, jeera rice, vegetable pulao, and with all Indian bread like roti, paratha, butter naan, etc.

Storage Suggestions

How to store Shahi Paneer? You can referigerate the leftover in an air-tight container for 2-3 days. Reheat on stovetop or microwave untill warm before serving.

To store beyond 2-3 days, you can freeze just the shahi gravy. Freezing wmay affect the taste and texture of paneer. Cool the gravy completely and transfer in an air-tight container or freezer safe bag. Freeze it for upto 2-3 months. Thaw at room temperature and heat till piping hot and add the paneer cubes.

More Restuarant style recipes you might like

Veg Kholapuri

Mix Veg curry

Palak Paneer

Rajma Masala

If you’ve tried this Shahi Paneer recipe and it turned out as expected, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.

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Recipe Card

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Punjabi Shahi Paneer recipe | How to make Shahi Paneer

Author: Santosh Allada
The best Punjabi Shahi Paneer recipe. This restaurant-style Shahi Paneer recipe is super easy to make at home. Even a beginner can make it easily by following the step-by-step instructions.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, North Indian
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Shahi Paneer Masala

  • 2 medium Onions (roughly cut)
  • 4 medium Tomatoes (roughly cut)
  • 6-8 Garlic cloves
  • 2 inch Ginger
  • 1 tsp Shah jeera
  • 4 Whole peppercons
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 inch Cinnamon
  • 2 medium size Bayleaf
  • 2 Green Cardamom
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 8 whole Cashews
  • 1 tbsp Melon seeds (magaj)
  • few Coriander stems

Other Ingredients

  • 200 gms Paneer
  • 1 tbsp Oil or Ghee
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1/2 cup Milk (boiled)
  • 1 tsp Kasuri methi (dry roasted and crushed between palms)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Cream
  • 1 tbspn Butter
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

Making Shahi Paneer masala

  • In a pan add onions, tomatoes, whole spices, coriander stems, cashews, melon seeds, butter, garlic, and ginger.
  • Turn on the flame and saute for 2 minutes on medium flame. The sauting process tastes better than just boiling the ingredients in water.
  • Add water. Cover the pan and cook till tomatoes are mushy. This may take 10-15 minutes on low flame.
  • Remove bay leaf and transfer to a mixie jar. Let it cool completely and grind to a smooth puree. Add little water if needed.
  • Strain the puree to remove any pieces of whole spices or unblended tomatoes skin. Keep the strained puree aside.
  • In a bowl add turmeric powder, kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Add little water and mix well.
  • Heat oil or ghee in a pan. When hot, add the masala paste and saute till oil separates.
  • Add the strained puree and give a good mix. Cover the pan and cook for 10-15 mins on low flame.
  • Next, add milk and mix well. Continue to cook on low flame for 5 minutes.
  • Add sugar, kasuri methi, butter, salt, and cream. Mix and cook till the gravy thickens. Do not overcook, else the cream will turn into ghee.
  • Add paneer pieces. Mix gently and cook for just 2-3 minutes.
  • Shahi Paneer is ready to relish.

Notes

Shahi paneer is mild in taste. If you want to make it spicy, add green chilies
while making the masala (pic 1) and red chili powder instead of kashmiri red
chili powder.
To make Vegan Shahi Paneer, use coconut cream, vegan butter and tofu.
For restaurant style smooth gravy, do not skip straining the puree.
After adding the paneer cubes, do not overcook. Paneer pieces will lose moisture and become hard and chewy.


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