Bring the essence of dhaba style food inside the comfort of your home by making this delicious dhaba style paneer masala! It’s a perfect treat to all paneer lovers!
After trying ample paneer recipes and sharing them in our other blog i.e. Flavor Quotient, I was at a fix with what new to share with paneer! Paneer is so well loved across India and I had to get my hands-on new paneer recipes. Finally, I recalled this yummy dhaba style paneer masala which I was lucky enough to taste many times during our multiple road trips. Dhaba style food has something real special in them that once you taste them, you won’t ever forget it your entire life! Of course, in a good way! This dhaba style paneer masala is no exception and even though I tried to replicate the exact flavor of the dhaba dish, I urge you to try the real deal at least once in your life time at a real dhaba!
This dhaba style paneer masala is a no-nonsense dish! And I must warn you that it’s not for the faint hearted, neither for the weight watchers. This dhaba style paneer masala is as sinful as it can get with lots of ghee and spices; but it’s definitely a celebration worthy dish. Hence make this dhaba style paneer masala at your next special occasion and I bet everyone will love you for this! Give the good old paneer butter masala a miss next time and try this new showstopper called dhaba style paneer masala!
If you ask me, I wasn’t too fond of paneer during my childhood or teenage. Only after I started blogging and kept exploring new recipes, I discovered a whole new gamut of recipes that can be made using paneer. If I come to think of it now, I realized that paneer had no place in Bengali cuisine and since I was only exposed to Bengali food at home during my growing up days, I had hardly tasted any real paneer recipe during that time. My journey with food blog has helped me discover uncountable gems in the world of cooking and Indian paneer dishes are definitely one of them.
If you are fond of spicy food, you will instantly fall in love with this dhaba style paneer masala. The recipe may seem little too long but trust me it’s not complicated whatsoever. This dhaba style paneer masala closely matches the flavor and taste of the spicy paneer masala that the dhabas serve us across highways of India. This dhaba style paneer is best served with any kind of Indian flat bread like butter naan, kulcha or chapati. But if you are a rice lover like me, don’t stop yourself from scooping the succulent cubes of paneer along with the rice mixed with that delicious gravy! It’s worth every bite! Enjoy!
- Paneer / cottage cheese – 250 gms, cut into 2 cm cubes
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Kashmiri red chili powder – 1 tsp
- Garam masala – ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Water – 2 tbsp
- Mustard oil – 3 tbsp
- Ghee – 2 tbsp
- Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Green cardamom – 4 to 6
- Cloves – 4 to 6
- Cinnamon – 1-inch stick, broken into small pieces
- Onion – 3, medium or 2, large, chopped very finely
- Ginger – 1-inch piece, julienned (cut into thin strips)
- Garlic – 6 to 8 cloves, minced
- Kashmiri red chili powder – 1 tsp
- Crushed black pepper – ¼ tsp
- Kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) – 1 tsp
- Garam masala – ½ tsp
- Cumin powder – ½ tsp
- Coriander powder – ½ tsp
- Besan (chickpea flour) – 1 tbsp
- Freshly chopped coriander leaves – 1 cup
- Tomato – 4, medium or 3, large, pureed
- Sugar – ½ tsp
- Water – 1 cup, preferably hot
- Take the paneer cubes in a bowl and add all ingredients listed under marinate – salt, Kashmiri chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and water. Toss the paneer cubes to coat each with the spice mix. Keep them aside for 30 minutes.
- Take a kadhai and add mustard oil and 1 tablespoon of ghee reserving 1 tablespoon for frying the paneer.
- Once the oil is hot, temper it with cumin seeds, green cardamoms, cloves and crushed cinnamon. Sauté them in hot oil for 1 minute on low flame until they become fragrant.
- Then add the finely chopped onion and sauté them on medium for 10 minutes or until golden.
- Next add the ginger juliennes and minced garlic cloves. Keep sautéing them until the ginger and garlic turn soft and onion turn golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes on medium heat.
- Now add all the powdered spices – Kashmiri chili powder, black pepper powder, kasoori methi, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder and besan.
- Keep stirring so that all spices mix together thoroughly. Make sure to sauté the spices on low flame so that they do not burn.
- Add about a tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves and stir them in with the spices. Keep frying the spices on low flame for couple of minutes. This step is important to release all the flavors of the masala into the paneer masala gravy.
- Next add the pureed tomato and sugar (to balance the tartness of tomatoes) and stir them well. Cover and cook them on low for 5 minutes until the liquid from tomatoes are absorbed and tomatoes are cooked thoroughly.
- Uncover and cook on high flame for 5 minutes or until the oil starts separating from the onion-tomato mixture.
- Now take a separate frying pan and add the reserved one tablespoon of ghee to it. Once the ghee is hot and melted, drop the paneer cubes. Toss the paneer cubes in ghee to warm them up; this step will ensure that the paneer remain very soft and velvety in texture as well as gets coated with all the spices.
- After tossing the paneer cubes in ghee for couple of minutes, add them to the prepared gravy along with 1 cup of water. Stir everything well to mix thoroughly.
- Cover the kadhai and cook on low flame for 5 more minutes. This way your paneer cubes will be infused with all flavorful spices making it immensely delicious!
- After about 5 minutes, uncover the pan and check the consistency of gravy. It should not be too watery; boil off some excess water if you feel it’s too runny.
- Finally sprinkle some freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve the hot and spicy dhaba style paneer masala with butter naan or kulcha! Enjoy!