Indian · Mughlai · Vegetarian

Paneer do Pyaza (Farmer Cheese in spicy onion-tomato gravy)


Serves: 4
Cooking time: 1 hr


300 grams farmer’s cheese (paneer), cut in 1 inch cubes
1½ onion, large, chopped
1 onion, large, cut in slices of 1 inch thickness
½ green bell pepper (capsicum), cut in slices of 1 inch thickness
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2-3 pods of green cardamom (elaichi), medium
2 bay leaves (tamalpatra)
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
2 green chilies, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, medium (3 for puree, 1 finely chopped)
1½ tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chili powder, or adjust as per spice tolerance
1 tsp coriander – cumin powder (dhane – jeera powder)
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp sugar
2-3 tbsp cream
1½ tbsp cilantro (coriander leaves / kothambir), finely chopped
1½ tsp salt, or adjust as per taste


1.  Cut paneer, 1 onion and green capsicum in slices of 1 inch.
2.  Heat ½ tbsp oil on medium heat, add cubed onions and shallow fry until they have nicely softened. Then transfer them onto a plate and keep aside.
3.  In the same pan, heat ½ tbsp oil, add to it cubed green capsicum and fry until they have completely cooked. Then transfer them onto the same plate with onions on the side and keep aside.
4.  Reduce the heat to low, place the paneer cubes on the same pan and sprinkle a little salt over it. Flip the paneer in 15-20 sec and in another 15 sec, remove from pan. Transfer them on the same plate with onion, capsicum and keep aside.
5.  Heat 2 tbsp oil in the same pan, add 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2-3 cardamoms and 2 bay leaf. Once the cumin seeds sizzle, add 1½ chopped onions to the pan. Saute on medium flame until until the onions turn translucent.
6.  On the side, take 3 tomatoes in a container with a lid and microwave for 1½ min, warm enough until the tomatoes are tender.(Microwaving the tomatoes makes it easier to puree tomato skins easily). Then transfer them into a blender, let it cool down and then puree them until smooth.
7.  Once the onions soften, add ginger paste, garlic paste and green chilies. Saute for 1 min.
8.  Then add the tomato puree and 1 chopped tomato. Saute on medium heat until the oil starts to separate.
9.  Now add to it kasuri methi, turmeric powder, red chili powder, dhana jeera powder, garam masala, sugar and salt. Mix everything together and saute for 2 mins.
10.  Reduce the heat to low, add to the mixture shallow fried onions, capsicum, paneer and ½ cup water. Gently mix and cook for 4-5 mins.
11.  Add cream, gently mix everything together and turn off heat.

Garnish with cilantro and serve hot over steamed rice or with roti.

Spoonful O’tips

1.  Slightly toasting the paneer, makes its outer surface slightly hard and prevents it from breaking into pieces when tossed in the gravy.


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