Paneer Pasanda Recipe is a shahi dish in which cottage cheese slices stuffed with cashews and khoya are simmered in a creamy and rich gravy along with a mélange of spices to lend it a one-of-a-kind taste. This dish is a treat everyone will delight in irrespective of age because of its smooth, creamy and mild flavor compared to other Indian paneer curries.
Consider this delicious dish for your next gathering, and it will likely garner all the “wows”!
If you have been following my recipes for a while, you already know that I am a big-time paneer lover!
On my blog, you can find many of my favorite paneer fares ranging from savory to sweets, such as Paneer Butter Masala, Tawa paneer, Achari paneer tikka, Paneer tikka pizza, Paneer burfi, or Instant Pot Paneer biryani.
I ♡ paneer for so many reasons as it is –
- Protein-rich food
- Quite popular among vegetarians, though, it is equally liked by non-vegetarians too.
- Has high nutritional value, and
- It’s an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be cooked in a multitude of ways.
Paneer is a staple in my house, and among all the varieties, this highly comforting & decadent paneer Pasanda dish has a special place.
What is Instant Pot Paneer Pasanda
For those unfamiliar, Paneer is an un-aged and non-melting fresh cheese, which is quite popular in the Indian subcontinent.
Paneer has its origin from Persia from the word ‘panir,’ which means cheese in Turkish and Persian languages. Paneer is known to take on the flavor of other ingredients it is cooked in, making it a popular choice to be added to several dishes to enhance the taste and nutritional content.
The word Pasanda comes from the Urdu word ‘Pasande,’ which means preference or liking. These creamy, dreamy Pasanda dishes date back to earlier centuries where they were first served in the courts of Mughlai emperors. Therefore it is the reason why the pasanda gravies are rich and luxurious.
So, picture yourself indulging in a paneer dish that is dunked in a lusciously creamy and rich gravy.
Sounds heavenly, right? It’s a true food lover’s paradise!
Difference between Paneer pasanda and Paneer Butter masala
Paneer Pasanda and Paneer Butter Masala are popular Indian dishes loved by ardent paneer lovers throughout the country. They share the same ingredients, but they are different from each other, owing to the various methods employed during their preparation.
Paneer Butter Masala — As the name suggests, paneer butter masala is cooked with butter, which lends a creamy, rich gravy. The paneer pieces in butter masala are usually cubes or cut lengthwise.
Paneer Pasanda — In the recipe, a combo of grated paneer and nuts are packed between paneer slices, and later on, these paneer pieces are deep-fried or shallow fried and simmered in a silky smooth and creamy gravy. I have sliced my paneer into triangles, but the paneer can be cut into square pieces.
No matter the occasion, a bowl of paneer swirled with fresh cream – is one of life’s simple delights.
Ingredient list for Instant Pot Paneer Pasanda Recipe
Don’t let the long list of ingredients and the steps-to-make-this-paneer pasanda recipe deter you from trying this recipe. This dish may have a lengthy process, but I can guarantee it is well worth it! Done well and done correctly, it is easy to understand why this dish is a classic.
I have explained in detail each of the steps on how to cook paneer pasanda along with images to make it simpler for you.
» Paneer — The recipe’s main ingredient is paneer, and it can be cut either in triangles or lengthwise. Paneer or Indian cottage cheese has a mild flavor, and it works well with many ingredients. It is readily available in the refrigerator section of your local Indian Grocery stores.
» Onions — Onions provide the dish with a depth of texture and taste while complimenting it as the base for the gravy. They have a combo of sweet, savory, and pungency flavor, making it a flavor powerhouse.
» Ginger and garlic — To enhance the dishes’ flavor, it is always recommended to use freshly sliced or minced garlic and ginger.
» Tomatoes — Use ripe tomatoes for this recipe as it lends a beautiful color and creamy texture.
» Spices & Whole Spices — The secret to the richly flavored Paneer Pasanda recipe is a blend of whole spices like Bay Leaves, Whole Black Cardamoms, Green Cardamom, cloves, Cumin seeds, and ground spices like garam Masala Powder, degi mirch, Haldi powder is used to add warm, earthy, and robust flavor to our dish.
» Kasuri Methi — Dried fenugreek leaves or Kasuri methi is used to season and flavor curries, especially paneer dishes. It has a taste similar to that of celery and fennel combined with a slightly bitter tang.
» Cashews — Cashews lends a mild flavor and creamy texture to this paneer recipe. If you don’t prefer cashews, you can add coconut cream, melon seeds, almonds, or poppy seeds instead.
How to make Instant Pot Paneer Pasanda
For easy understanding, I have divided the recipe into two parts —
- The first step would be to prepare the paneer by cutting the paneer into triangles or lengthwise.
- Second step is to prepare the gravy.
Cut paneer into 2.5-inch squares. Make a deep lengthwise slit in the paneer and ensure that you don’t accidentally cut through the paneer. Repeat the process with the rest of the paneer pieces.
During the process, you may end up with a few paneer crumbs. Save them for stuffing paneer squares.
» Paneer stuffing — Combine paneer with cilantro, spices, mawa, almonds, and cashews in a food processor. Pulse and grind the ingredients into a fine powder. Add milk and mix until the mixture becomes wet. The paneer stuffing should be moist, not runny; therefore, add milk slowly.
» Stuff Paneer — Take a paneer cube. Gently apply the paneer-nut stuffing inside the slit. After that, press the paneer cubes firmly. Repeat the process with the rest of the paneer squares.
» Cornflour slurry — Combine cornflour and water in a bowl. Mix until lump-free.
» Fry Paneer — Heat oil in a pan. Dip each stuffed paneer cube in the cornflour slurry until it is coated well. Once the oil is moderately hot, slowly add the dipped paneer into the pan. Shallow fry the paneer cubes until lightly golden. Remove from oil and drain them on a kitchen paper towel. Repeat the process with the rest of the paneer squares. Perfectly sealed paneer squares are ready.
Prepare Instant Pot Paneer Pasanda Masala
Turn the Instant Pot to ‘Saute mode.’ Once it displays ‘hot,’ add oil to the insert. Add bay leaves, cumin seeds, green cardamom, cloves, and whole black cardamom. Sauté for a minute or until fragrant. Add garlic pods and ginger slices to the Instant Pot. Add cubed onions to the pot. Sauté until the onions turn translucent.
Add soaked cashews and chopped tomatoes to the insert. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add green chilies to the pot and give the ingredients a good stir.
PROTIP — Deglazing the insert removes all the brown bits stuck to the bottom. Scrape everything from the base to prevent the burn message.
Turn the Instant Pot off. Close the lid and seal the pot. Press the Manual or pressure cook button and cook the masala for 5 minutes on HIGH.
PROTIP — It will take about 10 minutes for the pressure to build than the actual cooking time.
Once the cooking time has elapsed, turn the steam valve to the venting position to quickly release the pressure. When the pin drops, carefully open the lid.
Discard the bay leaves and whole black cardamom pods. Allow the onion mixture to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer the onion mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.
Turn the Instant Pot to ‘Saute mode.’ Once it displays ‘hot,’ add ghee to the insert. Add Kashmiri red chili powder and turmeric powder to the insert and sauté for a few seconds. Add the ground mix to the insert. Sauté for 4-5 minutes on LOW. Add spices to the simmering gravy. Give it a good stir.
Cut paneer — While the gravy is simmering, slice the fried stuffed paneer into triangles.
Add the paneer triangle to the simmering gravy. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the paneer is soft. Add water to adjust consistency to your liking.
Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and serve hot with jeera rice.
Expert tips and Variations
» Paneer — Homemade paneer may crumble while slicing; therefore, I have used store-bought paneer for the paneer pasanda recipe.
The trick to using a store-bought paneer is to rinse the paneer block under tap water to get rid of slimy stuff on top. Pat it dry with a kitchen towel, then dip it in lukewarm warm for 5 minutes until soft. Do not soak for as the store-bought paneer will start to crumble too while slicing.
» Frozen Paneer — If using frozen paneer, thaw it over the kitchen counter until it softens. Now immerse it in a warm bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water, dry it with a kitchen towel, and slice it into the desired shape.
» Pan-fry — I have pan-fried the paneer cubed until lightly golden. Feel free to deep-fry the paneer cubes for a more intense flavor.
» Tomatoes — Use fresh tomatoes for a stunning sauce and if they’re not available, use store-bought canned tomato puree instead.
Always use ripe tomatoes to get the desired sweetness in the gravy.
» Masala — Grind the onion-tomato-cashew mix to a fine paste. A fine paste will lend a silky smooth texture to our paneer pasanda gravy. If your gravy is grainy, you can pass it through a wire-mesh to get a smooth paste.
» Color — Kashmiri red chili powder lends a beautiful color to the Paneer pasanda recipe without making it too spicy. But if you prefer the deep orange color just like the restaurant ones, you may add a pinch of orange color to get that vibrant color.
» Dried Kasoori Methi — This is an essential ingredient in the Paneer pasanda recipe as it lends a fabulous flavor to this dish. Therefore, do not skip dried fenugreek leaves at the end.
» Cream — Cashews in the recipe take care of the creaminess and luscious texture of the gravy; therefore, no cream is added to the paneer pasanda recipe. But if you prefer cream, swirl it towards the end, once paneer pasanda is all cooked and ready to be served.
» Substitute Mawa — Substitute unsweetened desiccated coconut if you don’t have mawa on hand. But if you don’t have a liking for either mawa or coconut, you can skip them altogether.
» Customize — This recipe is easy to scale up or down to suit your preferences.
Can I make Paneer pasanda in Advance?
You sure can! This recipe component can be made ahead and assembled at the last minute, making this dish dinner party gold.
- You can make paneer cubes and gravy two days in advance. Prepare the paneer pieces, shallow-fry them, and allow them to cool. Store the paneer cubes in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Likewise, prepare the gravy and cool it completely before storing it in an airtight container.
When ready to serve, add the gravy to a heavy-bottomed wide pan. Bring it to a boil. Cut the stuffed paneer pieces into triangles and add them to the simmering gravy. Cover the pan and let the paneer simmer in the gravy for 3-4 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot.
How to add smoky flavor to Paneer Pasanda?
You can easily achieve a smoky flavor in your Paneer Pasanda recipe. This process of smoking the food is called dhungar in India. To give dhungar to this recipe —
- Heat 2 pieces of charcoal briquettes over direct heat until red hot.
- With the help of tongs, carefully drop the burning charcoal into a steel bowl or Katori.
- Drizzle two teaspoons of ghee on top of the charcoal.
- The charcoal will start to emit smoke. Immediately cover the bowl with a glass lid and let the Paneer soak in all that smoky flavors for about 6-8 minutes. After 8 minutes, remove the lid, carefully lift the hot bowl, and set aside.
Your smoky tandoor style Paneer pasanda is ready. Give the paneer a final mix. Garnish Paneer Pasanda with cilantro leaves and serve hot.
PROTIP – Do not throw the charcoal into the bin right away. It’s still very hot. Let it cool down completely, then dispose of.
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!
This Instant Pot Paneer Pasanda is a perfect dish for house parties, potlucks, and special occasions. It’s super easy to make, luscious, creamy, and will indeed become a show-stopper at your next party. Bring the serving dish to the table, and you will have your family and friends licking their plates.
This Paneer Pasanda recipe can be polished off with –
A few of my favorite pairings!
Should you make this recipe, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below. And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
HUNGRY FOR MORE FAMILY-FAVORITE RECIPES, TRY THESE-
Instant Pot Paneer Pasanda
- 8 squares Paneer pieces each square is 2.25 inch thick square
- ½ cup Crumbled Paneer
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri Red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Garam masala powder
- ½ teaspoon Coriander powder (sukha dhaniya)
- ½ teaspoon Cumin powder
- 3 tablespoons Crumbled Khoya/Mawa
- 1 tablespoon Cashews
- 1 tablespoon Almonds
- 1 tablespoon Chopped Cilantro leaves
- – – Salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons Cornflour
- 1½ tablespoon Water
PANEER PASANDA GRAVY
- 2 tablespoons Ghee
- 2 – Bay leaves
- 2 – Whole Black Cardamom
- 3-4 – Cloves
- 2 – Green Cardamom
- 1 medium Onion cubed
- 2 small Tomatoes chopped
- ½ inch Ginger peeled and sliced
- 6-7 cloves Garlic pods
- 2 small Green chili
- 1.5 tablespoons Cashews soaked for 30 minutes, drain
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 1½ teaspoons Kashmiri Red chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon Haldi (Turmeric powder)
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- 1 tablespoon Kasoori methi/ dried fenugreek leaves
- Salt to taste
- Cut paneer into 2.5-inch squares.
- Make a deep lengthwise slit in the paneer and ensure that you don’t accidentally cut through the paneer.
- Repeat the process with the rest of the paneer pieces.
- Combine paneer with cilantro, spices, mawa, almonds, and cashews in a food processor.
- Pulse and grind the ingredients into a fine powder.
- Add milk and mix until the mixture becomes wet.
- The paneer stuffing should be moist, not runny; therefore, add milk slowly.
- Take a paneer cube. Gently apply the paneer-nut stuffing inside the slit.
- After that, press the paneer cubes firmly. Repeat the process with the rest of the paneer squares.
- Prepare cornflour slurry – Combine cornflour and water in a bowl. Mix until lump-free.
- Heat oil in a pan. Dip each stuffed paneer cube in the cornflour slurry until it is coated well.
- Once the oil is moderately hot, slowly add the dipped paneer into the pan. Shallow fry the paneer cubes until lightly golden.
- Remove from oil and drain them on a kitchen paper towel.
- Repeat the process with the rest of the paneer squares. Perfectly sealed paneer squares are ready. Set them aside.
GRAVY PREPARATION – COOKTOP VERSION
- Steps: 1-4 — Melt ghee over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pan. Once the ghee starts to melt, add chopped onions to the pan. Sauté until the onions turn translucent. Add ginger and garlic to the onions. Sauté the ginger and garlic for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Steps: 5- 8 — Add cashews to this mix. Cook cashews for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, stirring intermittently.
- Steps: 9-12 —No add chopped tomatoes to the pan. Sauté the tomatoes with onions + cashews. Lower the heat to the low setting and cover the pan. Allow the mixture to simmer over low heat until the tomatoes are soft and tender.Once the tomatoes are soft, uncover the pan. Take it off the heat and allow the masala to cool.Once cooled, transfer this mix to a blender. Puree the cooled masala in the blender until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Steps: 13-16 —Heat a heavy-bottomed pan or Kadai over medium heat. Add butter and oil to it. As the butter starts to melt, add bay leaf, cinnamon, green cardamom, black cardamom, and cloves to the pan. Sauté for a few seconds until the whole spices are fragrant. Now add Kashmiri red chili powder to the whole spices. Mix until fully combined. Do not cook for long or the chilies will burn. Next, add the butter gravy back to the pan.
- Steps: 17-20 —Mix until the sauce is fully blended.It’s time to season our masala. Add the coriander powder, turmeric, sugar, garam masala powder, and salt to the masala.
- Stir around a while until the spices are well blended in the gravy. Cook for another 1-2 minutes on medium heat. Keep stirring. Now add water to the butter masala gravy. Depending on the consistency you like, add water slowly. If you prefer a thick gravy, add less water than recommended in the recipe.
- Add the paneer triangle to the simmering gravy. Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the paneer is soft. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and serve hot with jeera rice.
INSTANT POT VERSION
- Turn the Instant Pot to ‘Saute mode.’ Once it displays ‘hot,’ add oil to the insert.
- Add bay leaves, cumin seeds, green cardamom, cloves, and whole black cardamom. Sauté for a minute or until fragrant.
- Add garlic pods and ginger slices to the Instant Pot.
- Add cubed onions to the insert. Sauté until the onions turn translucent.
- Add soaked cashews and chopped tomatoes to the pot. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Add green chilies to the pot and give the ingredients a good stir. Turn the Instant Pot off. Close the lid and seal the pot. Press the Manual or pressure cook button and cook the masala for 5 minutes on HIGH.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, turn the steam valve to the venting position to quickly release the pressure. When the pin drops, carefully open the lid. Discard the bay leaves and whole black cardamom pods.
- Allow the onion mixture to cool completely.
- Once cooled, transfer the onion mixture to a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Turn the Instant Pot to ‘Saute mode.’ Once it displays ‘hot,’ add ghee to the insert. Add Kashmiri red chili powder and turmeric powder to the insert.
- Sauté for a few seconds.
- Add the ground mix to the insert. Sauté for 4-5 minutes on LOW.
- Add spices to the simmering gravy. Give it a good stir.
- While the gravy is simmering, slice the fried stuffed paneer into triangles.
- Add the paneer triangle to the simmering gravy.
- Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the paneer is soft.
- Add water to adjust consistency to your liking.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and serve hot with jeera rice.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhy is my paneer chewy? Paneer tends to become chewy for several reasons. Store-bought paneer tends to become chewy and rubbery after cooking. To avoid this situation, soak the paneer in warm water for not more than 10 minutes while ensuring it is completely immersed in water. Another reason is – Paneer tends to become chewy if cooked for a prolonged time. If cooked for long, heat removes moisture from the paneer and can make it dry and chewy. Can I make this recipe Vegan? Of course, you can! You can easily customize this paneer Pasanda recipe into a vegan by substituting three ingredients –
- Replace paneer with tofu,
- Butter with coconut oil, and
- Milk with coconut cream.