Dhaba Style Paneer Masala | Spicy Indian Paneer Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4 servings
  • Paneer / cottage cheese – 250 gms, cut into 2 cm cubes
For marinating paneer:
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Water – 2 tbsp
Other ingredients:
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. Take a kadhai and add mustard oil and 1 tablespoon of ghee reserving 1 tablespoon for frying the paneer.
  3. 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.
  4. Then add the finely chopped onion and sauté them on medium for 10 minutes or until golden.
  5. 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.
  6. Now add all the powdered spices – Kashmiri chili powder, black pepper powder, kasoori methi, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder and besan.
  7. Keep stirring so that all spices mix together thoroughly. Make sure to sauté the spices on low flame so that they do not burn.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Uncover and cook on high flame for 5 minutes or until the oil starts separating from the onion-tomato mixture.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!
  14. 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.
  15. Finally sprinkle some freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve the hot and spicy dhaba style paneer masala with butter naan or kulcha! Enjoy!
Recipe by Everyday Indian Recipes at https://www.everydayindianrecipes.com/dhaba-style-paneer-masala/