Desi Tawa Paneer Masala with Original Dhaba Flavour
Image Credit: Tawa paneer is a recipe straight from the dhabas | Pexels

Paneer as it is one of the most loved ingredients in North India. So many varieties have been introduced already and all have been loved equally. This different style of cooking paneer curry is quick and delicious for any meal of the day. Tawa Paneer Masala Dhaba Style has the essence of Indian dhabas and a special taste due to pan griddle or tawa used in cooking. Very simple ingredients are used to make a quick paneer recipe, which is healthy as well as tasty. Goes with all kinds of Indian breads and rice, it is versatile in that way.

Paneer as a primary ingredient has contributed to a large number of main course dishes, and among the desi dishes is this Tawa Paneer Masala. Desi Dhaba Style curries are wholesome and filling, with a unique local flavour in their dishes. 

The speciality about using Pan griddle is the resultant flavour which is unique to tawa cooking. The final dish has a bite, say in Tawa Paneer Masala, the vegetables in the tadka have a crunch in combination with the soft paneer. The flavours of a dhaba style cooking is brought in through the very tasty and rich masala. Cooking on a pan helps maintain the required crunch. 

Preparation of Tawa Paneer Masala 

Tawa Paneer Masala is a semi-dry quick paneer dish, that can be made on a Tawa (or pan griddle), and as delicious as it can be. The preparation involves a tawa gravy that is made by boiling tomato, onion and some spices in a cooker, and this gravy is added to the sauteed vegetable masala made on a tawa.

Tawa paneer | Freepik

  • 5 Tomatoes
  • 3 Onion
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 3 Cloves
  • 3-4 Green Cardamom
  • 1/2 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger
  • 4-5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/3 cup Water

Ingredients for Tawa Masala

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Chopped Ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon Chopped Green Chilli
  • 1 Teaspoon Chopped Garlic 
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Diced Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Yellow Capsicum
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Green Capsicum
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Red Capsicum 
  • Salt To Taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala 
  • 400 g Paneer Cut Into Cubes
  • 1 Teaspoon Paneer
  • 1 Teaspoon Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Tawa Paneer Gravy
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kasoori Methi 
  • Coriander Sprigs 
  • 1/2 Lemon 
  • 1 Pinch Chaat Masala 
  • Water 
  • 2-3 Tablespoon Cream


  • Cutting and chopping:
  • Cut Paneer into cubes
  • Roughly cut three onions and five tomatoes
  • Chop one each red, yellow and green capsicum
  • Chop 2 inch ginger, four to five cloves garlic, one green chilli

Cooking the Tomato-Onion Gravy

  • Pressure cook cut tomatoes, onions, black cardamom, cloves, green cardamom, cumin, ginger, garlic, red chilli powder using a dash of water
  • Let it cook for one whistle on high flame
  • After one whistle, simmer the flame and allow it to cook for two more whistles
  • Turn off the flame
  • Open the lid of the cooker and let the gravy to cool for sometime
  • Grind the gravy in a grinder thoroughly
  • Optionally sieve the gravy once to separate the tomato seeds and raw masala ingredients(if any)
  • Keep aside the smooth gravy

Cooking the Tawa Paneer Masala

  • On the griddle(pan), add a tablespoon oil to let cumin seeds splutter
  • Add cumin seeds and chopped green chillies
  • Now, add butter and one-fourth cup onions. Slightly saute onions
  • Add chopped red, yellow and green capsicum to allow them to saute
  • As sauteeing takes place, cut paneer cubes and add salt over the cubes and over the tawa masala
  • Add garam masala or pav bhaji masala or meat masala on the tawa veggies
  • Simmer the pain and let the veggies cook with the masala
  • Mix the curry thoroughly for a minute
  • Take the curry to the sides of the tawa
  • Add a tablespoon of butter and as it heats add the tomato-onion gravy
  • To this gravy, add kasoori methi, coriander leaves, a dash of lemon juice and a pinch of chaat masala
  • As the curry is cooked, mix the paneer masala
  • Add some water to adjust consistency
  • Optionally add cream and coriander leaves to garnish
  • Enjoy with rumali roti or laccha paratha

Frying the masala on the tawa gives the characteristic aroma and taste to the Tawa Paneer Masala. Make this different paneer curry for your lunch or dinner meals to be enjoyed with rotis or naan.