How To Make Shahi Paneer: Fool-Proof Tips To Make It Just Like They Do In Restaurants

‘We have to have Shahi Paneer’, said the caterer of my brother’s wedding, when we were deciding the menu for the reception party, and we nodded in unison. As hard-core meat-eaters, we had picked all the dishes we wanted in the non-veg counter, but when it came to the veg section, we found ourselves in a pickle. And once again, it was paneer that came to our rescue, just like it does always. Whether you have unexpected guests over, or you are too pressed for time to cook a wholesome lunch, if you have a block of paneer by your side, you need not worry at all. Among the endless dishes one can make with paneer, we often find ourselves gravitating towards this one paneer dish called Shahi Paneer, and it is not very hard to deduce why. ‘Shahi’ is a Hindustani word for Royal, and that is exactly the treatment that is given to cottage cheese in this delish gravy. Every bite of this orange-hued gravy dish feels like a feast fit for royalty. It is a nice departure from most Indian paneer curries, since it is not spicy at all, instead, it comes with a sweetish touch. 

A beloved Mughlai dish, Shahi Paneer is made by emulsifying tomatoes, ground cashews, onions, cream and butter. The gravy is stirred sedulously until it is thick, creamy and luscious. Big, but thin chunks of paneer are added to the gravy which is then simmered and served hot. Aren’t you drooling, because we just cannot stop smacking our lips. So, without any further ado, let’s get to the pro tips we are talking about.  

How To Make Shahi Paneer: Pro Tips  

Choose good-quality tomatoes for the gravy. They should have the right amount of ‘khatta’. Since your gravy is going to be very mild, it is important you bring in this acidic element to the dish to maintain a fine balance. Besides, if you want the restaurant-like reddish, orange colour, you cannot afford to be stingy with tomatoes.  

Your dry fruit mixture will add richness to the gravy. You can experiment with a variety of nuts and seeds such as cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds etc.  

Always use fresh cream or malai for the gravy, else, the gravy may not get the luscious texture and appear to be clumpy. 

The same goes for paneer, try to use best quality, fresh paneer in the gravy. If you are using frozen paneer, make sure you take it out of the fridge and let it rest in room temperature for at least an hour before using it in the curry.  

You can also drop the paneer in warm water, this would soften the paneer. 

Use desi ghee to cook the gravy and not flavoured oils. Cook the ginger, garlic and whole spices nicely before you add in the onions and tomatoes. 

Sounds like your cup of tea? Try making shahi paneer at home with this delicious recipe.