Shahi Paneer Recipe is one of the most popular Paneer recipes. This recipe plays an important role in all Indian menus, especially North Indian cuisine. You'll find this recipe in all the restaurants, on special occasions, etc. This is made by adding Paneer in aromatic & creamy curry made with the onion-tomato masala with some Indian spices.
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The post contains Helpful Tips & Tricks to make the most aromatic Shahi Paneer Recipe. But if you're in a hurry, you can also click "Jump to Recipe' under the Heading to go directly to the Recipe Card.
WHAT IS SHAHI PANEER?
The name itself says Shahi, which means Luxury. So, you can guess that the dish called Shahi Paneer feels luxurious in flavor & texture. This is one of those dishes which is relished by Vegetarians as well as Non- Vegetarians. You can make this restaurant-style shahi paneer in minutes using Instant Pot.
This recipe of Shahi Paneer originated from Mughlai cuisine. And Mughlai cuisine is popular for its rich and aromatic flavors. And hence this recipe of shahi paneer has nuts, fruits, spices, cream to bring out the same richness in the curry.
📋INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE
You don't need a lot of ingredients to make this curry. However, the more basic the ingredients, the more flavorful curry will turn out. Here is the list of all the ingredients that you'll need to make Shahi Paneer Masala:
- PANEER: This is a paneer recipe so you will need nice firm paneer. You can use homemade paneer or get store-bought paneer. I usually get Haldiram's Paneer that is easily available at any Indian store or you can also get Paneer from Costco.
- ONIONS: Onion are used to make the curry masala. Any onion works for the recipe. I personally prefer using red onions as they give bold flavor to the curry.
- TOMATOES: I use tomatoes as well as a can of diced tomatoes. Canned diced tomatoes provide nice color to the curry.
- CASHEW PASTE: Cashew/almond paste give a nice creamy texture to the paneer curry. I usually make the paste in advance and store in the freezer and use it as needed.
- SWEETENER: You can use honey, maple syrup, or dried fruit like apricots, mongoes, etc.
- CREAM: You can use whipped cream along with milk or you can also use coconut milk for the creamy flavor.
- SPICES: I normally use Kashmiri Red Chili Powder, Garam Masala Powder, and Kasoori Methi. Along with that I also use some whole spices like cloves, green cardamom that provide an aromatic flavor.
- OIL: You can use oil or buter. To make the curry creamier, butter is added.
See the recipe card for quantities.
🔪HOW TO MAKE SHAHI PANEER
Check the recipe card below for the full recipe, but you can refer here for step-by-step photo instructions.
Step 1: Add oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add sliced onions. Also, add Green Cardamon & Cloves to it. If not using Cashew/Almond Paste, you can add whole Almonds/Cashews at this point too. (But make sure to soak the nuts for 10-15 minutes first before adding the masala). Or you can also use onion puree/ onion paste.
Step 2: When onions are cooked and start to change the color. Add tomatoes (fresh & diced). (Note: Diced tomatoes or tomato paste help provide better color and add a little sweetness to the curry). Also, add ginger & garlic and dried fruits like mangoes, peach, nectarines, etc. (if you don't want to use sugar or honey in the curry). Also, add 1 cup of water to avoid sticking.
Step 3: Cook for 5-10 minutes until tomatoes turn mushy. Keep stirring in between so that nothing sticks at the bottom of the pan. Cover it with a lid for faster cooking.
Step 4: When tomatoes turn mushy, transfer all the ingredients to the blender & grind until it is smooth. I have used Vitamix to blend the ingredients.
Step 5: Then, in the pan, add butter. And add a teaspoon of garam masala along with other spices (Kashmiri Red Chili Powder/ Red Chili Powder, Turmeric Powder, Fennel Seeds Powder, and Cumin Powder).
Step 6: Strain the blended masala (this step is optional, but it helps make the curry smooth & creamy). Add cinnamon stick and bay leaf and let it simmer for 5 minutes until the curry comes to desired consistency. Also, if you haven't added dried fruit like peach & mango, you can add honey or any sweetener.
Step 7: Add Paneer cubes & crushed Kasuri Methi and mix and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add cream and garnish the curry with fennel seeds and cilantro, and you can also garnish with some chopped nuts or melon seeds.
Hint: You can make Shahi Paneer Masala without adding cashew pastes or cream. If you want a creamy but still healthier curry, add 1-2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (just before serving).
💭EXPERT TIPS FOR SHAHI PANEER RECIPE
- Grinding the whole spices with the paneer masala makes the curry aromatic. For more aromatic flavor, don't forget to add Fennel Seeds Powder just before serving.
- The main flavor of Shahi Paneer comes from its aromatic curry, so I add few spices like Garam Masala & Red Chili Powder. To make a little spicy curry, you can also add green chili to the masala.
- This dhaba style shahi paneer is suppose to be sweet in flavor. So to bring the sweetness to the curry you cna dried fruits (like dried mangoes, apricots, pineapple, etc.) or honey, maple syrup, or sugar. .
- To get a creamier texture, you can either add Cashew Paste or grind fried cashews or almonds with the masala. Or you can also add almond flour in the grounded masala.
- I add Kasoori Methi while making the curry and not at the end. This brings nice color and taste to the curry. Sometimes when you add Kasuri Methi in the end, it makes curry a little bitter in taste.
- I also like to add diced tomatoes or tomato puree in the masala. This brings a nice color to the curry. Or you can also add tomato puree to the paneer.
- You can also add Maple Syrup or Honey or Sugar, etc for a little sweetness.
There are some substitutions that you can try:
- VEGAN: Instead of Paneer, you can also add tofu to make the curry vegan. Also if want the curry to be vegan, you can replace milk or cream with either coconut milk or oats milk along with some almond flour. You can also add cauliflower to the curry that also tastes amazing. Checkout Cauliflower version of this recipe on my website.
- HIGH-PROTEIN: To make the curry high in protein, you can also add chickpeas. Chickpeas surprisingly tastes so good in Shahi Paneer curry. Checkout this recipe of creamy Chickpeas Curry by Savory Bites Recipes. Or you can also try my popular recipe of Delhi-Style Chickpeas Curry.
- YOGURT: If you don't want curry to be too rich so can add Greek Yogurt instead of heavy cream. You can add yogurt in some milk and mix it. Add it in the curry just before serving. If you cook yogurt then it will curdle so to avoid this just add milk & yogurt mix just before serving.
- SWEETENER: I usually prefer adding honey or maple syrup. But you can also add some dried fruits like peaches, mangoes, or apricots.
You can change the recipe as per your taste and preference.
- SPICY: you can make it spicy by adding more red chili powder or Kasmiri red chili powder.
- DELUXE: You can also add some crumbled paneer to make the curry more creamier and rich.
- GRILLED PANEER: You can also add grilled or shallow fried or air fried paneer pieces to the curry. That also give a nice tatse to the curry.
I always make my curries in Indian Kadai as they turn out so great all the time. They are heavy-bottomed pans, so the food cooks quickly and properly. But if you don't have Kadai, you can also use Wok (just make sure it is heavy-bottomed).
Here are some of the equipment I have used for the recipe:
- KADAI: to make and cook the curry. Or when I'm in hurry then I like to make it in my Instant Pot.
- VITAMIX: to grind the onion-tomato masala until it is smooth & creamy
- NINJA FOODI: I have used my Ninja Foodi to air fry the Paneer cubes or you can use any air fryer. You can also shallow fry them on any pan.
🧾FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can store it in the refrigerator or freezer; the taste will remain the same. You can store leftover Shahi Paneer in the fridge for 3-5 days. And in the freezer in a container for 1-2 months. Before using the frozen Shahi Paneer, just thaw and heat it in the microwave or in a pan on the stove-top until hot
The leftover Shahi Paneer is even tasty, more aromatic, and tastes even more flavorful. You can serve Shahi Paneer with any Indian flatbread like roti, naan, rice, or bread. You can also check out the Garlic Naan recipe that pairs perfectly with Sahi Paneer Masala.
You can make shahi paneer sweet and spicy. You can add sweetener or honey, or sugar for a sweet flavor. You can add red chili powder or green chilis for a spicy flavor.
SHAHI PANEER: Shahi Paneer has Paneer in aromatic-creamy onion-tomato gravy. Most people get confused between Shahi Paneer and Butter Paneer (Paneer Butter Masala). Shahi Paneer is an aromatic creamy curry with a little sweetness. This curry is rich in flavor as it has nuts, fruits, spices, cream in the base of curry.
PANEER MAKHANI/ PANEER BUTTER MASALA: As the name itself says Paneer Makhani or Paneer butter masala. So this variety of paneer is made with a decent amount of butter in the curry. Butter Paneer doesn't have a lot of spices but tastes irresistible because of all that butter and cream in it.
KADAI PANEER: Kadai Paneer is a spicy version of Indian curry. Freshly made Kadai masala is added to make this variety of paneer. Also as the name suggests this paneer is made in Kadai (or wok) to bring out the smoky flavor.
PANEER TIKKA MASALA: Paneer Tikka Masala is another extraordinary Paneer curry that originated from the Indian subcontinent. Marinated paneer pieces are first grilled in the tandoor and then added to the creamy curry with onions and capsicums.
You can add cream, which gives a nice texture to the gravy. Or, if you want curry not too heavy, you can replace cream with yogurt. I usually prefer adding yogurt to my curries for a creamier texture. But without any Cream/Yogurt, the curry still turns out to be creamy and aromatic as it already has cashews/almonds. Also, adding butter gives a creamy flavor to the curry.
This Paneer recipe is very rich in flavor; hence when made at low- heat, it becomes more flavorful.
If the curry of shahi paneer is too watery then you can let it cook for 15-20 minutes at low heat. If this doesn't work you can add some almond flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Or you can also add crumbled paneer too.
Yes, you can add milk for a more rich and creamy texture of the curry. You can add milk instead of water or you can add ½ cup of water and ½ cup of milk.
As I have mentioned earlier also, Shahi Paneer is rich in flavor & texture. But you can still enjoy this curry without onion and garlic. To make the base of the curry add tomatoes and ginger along with nuts, dried fruits, and spices. The curry will still turn out great.
🥗OTHER PANEER RECIPES
- BUTTER PANEER MASALA
- ACHAARI PANEER
- PALAK PANEER
- HOMEMADE PANEER
- KADAI PANEER
- MATAR PANEER
- PANEER TIKKA
- MALAI KOFTA
- NAVRATNA KORMA
📖 RECIPE CARD
Shahi Paneer Recipe
- 1 cup Paneer cubes
- 2 medium Tomatoes chopped
- ½ cup Diced Tomatoes
- ½ cup Onion sliced
- 1 tablespoon Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 1 teaspoon Honey/ Maple Syrup or dried fruits like mangoes, papaya, peaches, etc.
- 5 Cashews soaked in watrer for 10-15 minutes
- 5 Almonds soaked in water for 10-15 minutes
- 1 cup Water
- ¼ cup Cream
- 1 teaspoon Kasuri Methi (dried Fenugreek Leaves)
- 2-3 tablespoon Oil + Butter
CASHEW/ ALMOND PASTE
- First, soak 15-20 almond/cashews in water for about 30 mins. Or you can also microwave them with some water for 2 mins. If you're using almonds, just take out the peel before grinding.Add cashews/almonds with some water and grind it until creamy and smooth. And use this paste (around 1-2 tablespoon) in the curry.
INSTANT POT RECIPE:
- Press Saute add oil to the pot. When the oil is hot, add onions to the pot and fry. Then add tomatoes (fresh + diced) when onions start to change color. Also, add soaked cashews/ almonds, dried fruits (mangoes, papaya), ginger & garlic paste, cardamom, cloves, and 1 cup of water.
- Close lid and pressure cook for 5 minutes with the vent in the sealing position. NPR (No Pressure Release) for 5 minutes & then Quick Release.
- When the valve goes down and steam is released, open the lid. Blend all the ingredients in the high-powder blender. Add 1 -2 tablespoons of butter.
- Then add all the spices (garam masala powder, turmeric powder, fennel seeds powder and Kashmiri Red Chili Powder) and cook for another 1-2 minutes.You can also add almond flour & cashew Paste at this time and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
- Saute at low heat for 5 minutes until you get desired consistency. Then add Paneer, Kasuri Methi, and cream. Mix it and cook for 1 -2 more minutes.
- Finally garnish with 1-2 tablespoons of cream, fennel seeds powder, cilantro, and saffron strands. Serve hot with Garlic Naan or Rice.
- Add Oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add sliced onions. Also, add Green Cardamon & Cloves to it. If not using Cashew/Almond Paste, you can add soaked Almonds/Cashews at this point too. You can also add dried fruits like mangoes, peaches, etc for the sweetness or add honey. Also, add ginger-garlic paste, tomatoes (fresh & diced), and 1 cup of water.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes, until tomatoes turn mushy. Keep stirring in between so that nothing sticks at the bottom of the pan. Cover it with a lid for faster cooking.
- Take the masala out and grind it until smooth. Add butter to another pan and add Cinnamon Stick & Bay Leaf to it.Then add spices (garam masala powder, turmeric powder, fennel seeds powder, and Kashmiri red chili powder) and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the ground masala, and cook for another 5-10 minutes until you get the desired consistency.
- Add Cream, Paneer, crushed Kasuri Methi, and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Finally garnish with 1-2 tablespoons of cream, fennel seeds powder, cilantro, and saffron strands. Serve hot with Garlic Naan or Rice.
- VEGAN: Instead of Paneer, you can also add tofu to make the curry vegan. Also if want the curry to be vegan, you can replace milk or cream with either coconut milk or oats milk along with some almond flour. You can also add cauliflower to the curry that also tastes amazing.
- HIGH-PROTEIN: To make the curry high in protein, you can also add chickpeas. Chickpeas surprisingly taste so good in Shahi Paneer curry.
The leftover Shahi Paneer is even tasty, more aromatic, and tastes even more flavorful. You can serve Shahi Paneer with any Indian flatbread like roti, naan, rice, or bread. You can also check out the Garlic Naan recipe that pairs perfectly with Sahi Paneer Masala. You can also use some Almond Flour to make the curry creamier.