This recipe of Paneer Pulao is a quick and perfect recipe for lunch and dinner. Fragrant hot cottage cheese peeking through green peas, carrots, and rice not only looks good. But it automatically makes your mouth water.
I prepare Paneer Pulao frequently at home because it is simple to prepare and delicious. Also, it is a perfect combination of protein from Panner and carbohydrates from rice. Green peas and carrots add further nutrition to them. Sometimes I also add mushrooms to it.
I love to serve it, with cucumber or onion raita. Plating it with vegetable salad on the side.
Usually, at home, I put plain chopped Paneer in this recipe. But on special demand or on special occasions, I fry the paneer cubes with spices. When paneer is cooked with a considerable amount of spices, it develops a wonderful aroma and flavor, that my husband and son love to enjoy.
Here is how to prepare a Spicy Paneer similar to Paneer Tikka:
To do this prepare a spice mix of the below ingredients in a large mixing bowl:
¼ teaspoon red chili powder (लाल मिर्च पाउडर) – adjust to taste
½ teaspoon garam masala powder (गरम मसाला पाउडर)
¼ teaspoon or salt to taste (नमक स्वाद अनुसार)
pinch of turmeric powder (हल्दी पाउडर)
1 tablespoon gram flour (बेसन)
¾ teaspoon ginger-garlic paste (अदरक-लहसुन का पेस्ट)
¼ teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves (कसूरी मेथी)
1½ tablespoon of oil (तेल)
Then add the paneer cubes in the above spice, mix well and keep aside to marinate. We will fry it later before adding it to the rice similar to the recipe below:
For The Pulao Masala
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (जीरा)
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (शाह जीरा)
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds (सौंफ)
- 1 black cardamom (बड़ी इलायची) - seeds removed and husks discarded
- 2 to 3 green cardamom (छोटी इलायची) - kept whole or seeds removed
- 2 to 3 cloves (लौंग)
- 1 inch cinnamon stick (दालचीनी)
- 1 single strand of mace (जावित्री)
- a small piece of stone flower powder (पथर फूल का पाउडर)
For Paneer Pulao
- 1.5 cups basmati rice (बासमती चावल) or pulao rice
- 250 to 300 grams Indian cottage cheese (पनीर)
- 1 medium to large thinly sliced onion (पतले कटे हुए प्याज)
- 1/3 cup green peas (हरा मटर) - optional
- 1/3 cup chopped carrot (कटी हुई गाज़र) - optional
- 2 tablespoons of clarified butter (घी) or oil for preparing pulao
- 2 to 3 teaspoon clarified butter (घी) or oil for pan frying the paneer
- 3 to 3.25 cups water (पानी)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic and green chili paste (अदरक लहसुन और हरी मिर्च पेस्ट)
- 1 Indian bay leaf (तेज पत्ता)
- 1 to 1.25 teaspoon lemon juice (नींबू का रस)
- 1.5 to 2 tablespoon chopped mint Leaves (कटा हुआ पुदीना पत्ता)
- salt to taste (नमक स्वाद अनुसार)
Ingredients for Spicy Paneer Cubes (Optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder (लाल मिर्च पाउडर)
- 1/3 teaspoon garam masala powder (गरम मसाला पाउडर)
- salt to taste (नमक स्वाद अनुसार)
- 1 pinch of turmeric powder (हल्दी पाउडर)
- 1 tablespoon gram flour (बेसन)
- 3/4 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste (अदरक-लहसुन का पेस्ट)
- 1/4 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves (कसूरी मेथी)
- 1.5 tablespoon oil (तेल)
Preparation Paneer Pulao
- In a bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of carom seeds, 1/4 teaspoon of fennel, seeds from 1 black cardamom, seeds of 2 to 3 green cardamom seeds, 2 to 3 cloves, 1-inch cinnamon, 1 single strand of mace, and a small piece of stone flower.
- Put them in a small dry grinder or coffee grinder jar and grind them coarsely. Now keep it aside for later.
- Wash the basmati rice in tap water until the water clears, and the starch comes out. After soaking the Basmati rice for 30 minutes, drain the water and keep it aside.
- In a mortar pestle, grind ginger, garlic, and green chilies into a paste.
How to make Paneer Pulao
- Melt ghee in a pot or pan for paneer casserole. After adding bay leaves, fry for 2-3 seconds. After that, toss in the thinly sliced onions.
- Cook the onion until golden brown or caramelized.
- Next, add ginger, garlic, and green chili paste. Cook till the smell of raw ginger-garlic subsides. (It will take about 10-15 seconds on low heat).
- Add pre-chopped mint leaves and ground pulao masala. Stir and mix it for a few seconds.
- Also, add green peas and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in soaked rice. Fry for a minute, shake gently. Then add lemon juice, water, and salt. Mix everything well.
- Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and boil it on a low to medium flame until the rice grains are soft. If the pan runs out of water, add a little more.
- While the rice is cooking, cut the cottage cheese into cubes.
- For frying paneer, heat ghee on a nonstick pan. I recommend using a nonstick frying pan. Since, while frying, the paneer cubes usually stick to the iron Tawa or frying pan.
- Now put cubed paneer in the pan and fry it till it becomes light golden. Don't overcook them; otherwise, they will become dense and rubbery. Keep the fried paneer cubes aside.
- After cooking the rice, let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, add the fried paneer pieces to the rice and mix gently.
- Cover the pan with a lid and keep it aside for another 5 minutes. It softens the cheese while the cheese also absorbs the aroma of the casserole.
- Serve hot Paneer Pulao by garnishing it with mint leaves and a few fried paneer cubes on top. You can serve paneer pulao with Raita, Dal fry, or Dal Tadka.
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