Achari Paneer – which essentially translates to “pickled cottage cheese” – is a delicious Northern Indian dish where soft pieces of paneer are served in a creamy, masala gravy accentuated with pickle spices and tangy curd. Here I show you how to make this yummy Punjabi recipe using step-by-step photos.
About Achari Paneer Recipe
During my many years as a cook, I’ve tried many achari paneer recipes that were quite disappointing. This recipe is the culmination of many years of experimentation, and the results were too good that I have to share!
The robust flavor of the pickling spices is pronounced without being overwhelming, and the sourness of the fresh curd complements the spices perfectly. If you are fond of pickles, you will love achari paneer!
I also like that this recipe is made without any onions or garlic. If you have an aversion to alliums, don’t fret! This tangy paneer gravy recipe was made for you. That said, if you’re a fan of onions and garlic, you can absolutely add them.
In my opinion, achari paneer is best served with tandoori roti, paratha or Naan, but you can absolutely opt to serve it with rice, steamed veggies or a side salad if you have a gluten intolerance.
My friends, this is a really good paneer achari recipe. The taste is similar to that of grilled Achari paneer tikka, but you get soft pieces of paneer in a smooth, luxurious gravy. If you are looking for a new way to prepare your paneer, stop your scrolling and get to cooking!
How to Make Achari Paneer
Roasting pickling spices
1. First take the achari or pickling spices in a pan. The five pickling spices in clockwise order are:
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- ½ teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2. Heat the pan on a low flame and roast the spices till they are *just* fragrant. Don’t brown them or burn them.
3. Once cooled, add the spices to a small spice grinder. (You can also use a mortar and pestle if you don’t have a spice grinder.)
4. Grind to a semi-fine powder.
5. Remove the achari masala powder and set aside for later.
6. In the same grinder, add 10 to 12 cashews.
7. Grind to a fine powder. Don’t worry if some fat is removed during the grinding process; that is natural.
8. In a bowl, take 1 cup fresh whole milk curd/yogurt and whisk it till smooth. Use fresh curd and not sour curd.
Making achari masala
9. Heat 2 tablespoons of mustard oil or sunflower oil or ghee in a pan.
If using mustard oil, then allow it to smoke before you add the spices. For any other oil or ghee, just heat it until shimmering in the pan. Then lower the flame and add 2 dry red chilies and a generous pinch of asafoetida.
TIP: If you are gluten intolerant, be sure that your asafoetida is gluten free! Many commercially available brands are processed with wheat.
10. Saute for a few seconds till the red chilies change color.
11. Then add 1.5 teaspoons ginger-green chili paste (about ½ inch ginger + 1 to 2 green chilies crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle).
12. Stir and sauté till the raw aroma of ginger goes away.
13. Then add ⅓ cup tightly packed chopped tomatoes.
14. Stir and add the following spices:
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder (ground coriander)
- ¼ teaspoon cumin powder (optional)
15. Again stir very well and sauté the tomatoes till they soften completely and become pulpy. You should also see oil releasing from the sides.
16. Now add the cashew powder.
NOTE: If using store brought cashew powder, then add 2 tbsp cashew powder. Check the shelf life of the store brought cashew powder before adding, as it can go rancid during storage.
17. On a low-medium flame, stir and sauté the mixture for 2 minutes after adding cashew powder.
18. Reserve 1 teaspoon of the ground achari masala spice mix and add the rest.
19. Stir very well. At this stage, you can also add 1 to 2 teaspoons of mango pickle masala, if you have it.
20. Add 1 to 1.5 tablespoons besan (also known as gram flour). You can swap gram flour with chickpea flour. We are adding besan so that the curd does not separate.
21. Stir the besan very well and incorporate it into the rest of the masala.
Making paneer achari gravy
22. Keep the flame on a low and add the beaten curd.
23. As soon as you add the curd, begin to stir the mixture quickly.
24. Continuing to stir quickly, incorporate the curd well into the rest of the masala.
25. Add salt to taste.
26. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes on a low flame.
27. Add the paneer cubes. I recommend using 200 or 250 grams paneer chopped in cubes.
28. Cook the paneer cubes for about 20 to 30 seconds. Don’t cook for more time as then the paneer cubes can get chewy and rubbery. Switch off the heat.
29. Then add 3 tablespoons light cream or low-fat fresh cream. You can also use 1 to 2 tablespoon of whipping cream or heavy cream.
Also add ½ teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) to the paneer achari gravy.
30. Gently mix very well.
31. Add 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves and 1 teaspoon chopped mint leaves. Stir.
32. While serving, sprinkle the reserved achari masala from the top and garnish with a coriander or mint sprig. Serve achari paneer with tandoori roti, chapati or naan or Plain Paratha or Laccha Paratha or Rumali Roti.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Feel free to swap in almonds or peanuts, or opt for sunflower seeds if you have a nut allergy.
I won’t recommend this. This gravy tastes best when served hot as soon as it is made. On refrigeration, because of the yogurt, the taste will change. Moreover on reheating the paneer cubes lose their softness and can become hard.
If necessary, you can swap the paneer for a firm block of tofu. While I haven’t tried it myself, I suppose opting for a dairy free yogurt and either omitting the cream or swapping for coconut cream should also work fine!
Need more Paneer Recipes? Check out some of my favorites:
Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more veetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
Achari Paneer Recipe | How to make Achari Paneer
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
- ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 200 to 250 grams Paneer chopped in cubes or squares (cottage cheese)
- 1 cup fresh whole milk curd (yogurt) or 240 grams curd
- 1.5 teaspoon ginger-green chili paste or ½ inch ginger + 1 or 2 green chilies
- 2 dry red chilies
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- 1 medium tomato chopped, about ⅓ cup tightly packed chopped tomatoes, 75 to 80 grams of tomatoes
- 10 to 12 cashews or 2 tablespoon cashews or 2 tablespoon cashew powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper or paprika
- ½ teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
- ¼ teaspoon cumin powder – optional
- 1 or 2 teaspoon mango pickle masala (optional)
- 1 to 1.5 tablespoon besan (gram flour)
- ½ teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
- 3 tablespoon light cream or low fat cream or 1 to 2 tbsp whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon mustard oil or sunflower oil or ghee
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro leaves)
- 1 teaspoon chopped mint leaves
- salt as required
Roasting pickling spices
- First take the achari or pickling spices in a pan – fennel seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds.
- Heat the pan and on a low flame roast the spices till they are fragrant. Don’t brown them.
- Once cooled, add the spices in a small dry grinder or spice grinder and grind to a semi fine powder.
- Remove the achari masala powder and keep aside in a bowl.
Making masala base
- In the same grinder, add 10 to 12 cashews.
- Grind to a fine powder. If oil releases while grinding then its fine.
- In a bowl, take fresh whole milk curd/yogurt and whisk it till smooth. Use fresh curd and not sour curd.
- Heat mustard oil or sunflower oil or ghee in a pan.
- On a low flame, add 2 dry red chilies and a generous pinch of asafoetida. Saute for some seconds till the red chilies change color.
- Then add ginger-green chili paste. Stir and saute till the raw aroma of ginger goes away.
- Then add the chopped tomatoes and stir.
- Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder (optional).
- Again stir very well and saute the tomatoes till the tomatoes soften completely and become pulpy. You should also see oil releasing from the sides.
- Now add the cashew powder. If using store brough cashew powder, then add 2 tablespoons cashew powder. Do check the shelf life of store brought cashew powder before adding.
- On a low to medium flame, stir and saute the mixture for 2 minutes after adding cashew powder.
- Reserve 1 teaspoon of the ground achari masala and add the rest. Stir very well.
- Add 1 tablespoon besan. We are adding besan so that the curd does not curdle. You can swap besan (gram flour) with chickpea flour.
- Stir the besan very well and incorporate it into the rest of the masala.
Making paneer achari gravy
- Keep the flame on a low and add the beaten curd.
- As soon as you add the curd, begin to stir the mixture quickly and fast. Stirring quickly, incorporate the curd well into the rest of the masala.
- Add salt as per taste.
- Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes on a low flame.
- Add the paneer cubes. 200 or 250 grams paneer chopped in cubes.
- Cook the paneer cubes for about 20 to 30 seconds and switch off the heat. Don't cook for more time as then paneer cubes may lose their softness and will become hard.
- Then add light cream or low fat cream. Also add crushed kasuri methi to the gravy. Gently stir very well.
- Switch off the flame and add chopped coriander leaves and chopped mint leave. Stir gently again.
- While serving sprinkle the reserved achari masala from top and garnish with a coriander or mint sprig. Serve achari paneer masala with tandoori roti, chapati, rumali roti, plain paratha or naan.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Achari Paneer post is from the blog archives first published in April 2015 has been updated and republished on June 2021.
Comments are closed.
Turned out to be very delicious and easy to make, thank you!
I have tried all your dal n all the variety of punjabi paneer sabji during this lockdown… it was an amazing time to cook with you… it’s yummy Tasty mouth watering experience… thank you so much
Thanks a lot Kajal. Glad to know. Happy cooking.
Can I use almonds instead of cashews?
yes you can use almonds.
Very nice, delicious. Thanks
Today made this for potluck and it was a hit.
Welcome Aditi. Nice to know this.
Can i skip cashews?? as i don’t want it to be sweeter in taste
yes you can.
Should i use same measurements of ingredients if I hsve 180 gms of paneer ? Or should I half the measurements?
deepti, you can use the same measurements. just that a bit of paneer will be less, but the gravy is delicious and so works well in this scenario.
Followed the instructions (only substituted whole milk dahi with slim dahi). It was delicious. I loved how all the masalas come together so well. It’s well spiced but not overpowering at all. Yum!
Welcome Shivani. Thanks for your positive feedback.
Really a great recipe
Hello, I’m planning to try this one today. Can you please Confirm if mango pickle masala is just mustard seeds,chilli powder,turmeric powder,hing blended together in right proportions?
madhuri, i have replied to your comment on fb. you can use this mango pickle masala you have mentioned.
I love your recipies. How to save them, or get back to any one of them
thanks khola. bookmark the page in your browser. you can also use our app and then save the pages in favorite section of the app. our app is available on both android and iOS. just search with the title ‘veg recipes of india’.
I am big fan of your recipes and they have been hit on my all parties.
This time I am going to try Achaari Paneer. I am a working woman and will not have time to cook fresh on day of party. I usually cook on evenings after work. Is it okay if I prepare achaari paneer gravy couple of days in advance and refrigerate it? I am planning to add paneer just hours before party after reheating gravy.
Please suggest best way to do it.
thanks a lot jaspreet. you can easily make the gravy and refrigerate it. since curd is added, i would suggest to refrigerate for 1 to 2 days and not more. secondly add cream when you reheat the gravy. since the gravy will thicken after cooling, then you can add some water also while reheating it.
Just tried this recipe today for my family… everybody just love it… thanks for providing such a great recipe
i am confuse in size of 1 teaspoon which use in masala & oil
what is used in masala dabba, the size is usually 1/2 teaspoon, but can be 1 teaspoon also. teaspoons ranging from 1/4th to 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon are easily available online and also in super stores.
All your recepies are gr8.. But when i tried your achari paneer recepie it got bitter , i don’t know why?? Is something wrong i did..
did you add methi seeds and dry methi leaves as per the measurements mentioned in the recipe. if even a slight amount is increased, the gravy will have bitter tones to it.
Is there a substitute for kalonji ? I dnt have it handy at the moment but want to try this recipe 🙁
jaya, there is no substitute for kalonji. so just skip it.
Is adding cream necessary.. Can I make this recipe without cream
megha, you can skip cream if you want.
Hey Dassana.. Thank u so much for sharing this recipe.. Because of your recipe I got the first prize during a competition! Thanx a ton ??????
congratulations dibyarshmi 🙂 very pleased to know this and you are welcome.
Awesome recipe. Turned out great. All the guests loved it .
thank you pamil 🙂 for your positive feedback.
The best part about trying these recipes is that it makes a person like me, someone who had simply no interest in the kitchen finally believe that I too can handle the kitchen well. I made this preparation a few a days ago and my family loved it. A big thank you. 🙂
welcome swapnil glad to know this all the best and thank you for your kind words 🙂
Amazing recipe. I made this for my mom’s birthday and she was floored with the taste.
I will never be able to thank you enough.
ayush do wish your mother a happy birthday on behalf of us, thankyou for your kind words and you are welcome.
i am regular follower of your recipes and they are easy and awesome. last time when i cooked achari paneer from your recipe, it went awesome but this time slight bitter test is coming might be i added methi dana or kalunji twice. Can you suggest me how to rectify the same it it happen again.
manita, nice to know that you liked the achari paneer recipe. in that case you can add some more beaten curd and the sourness of the curd will balance the bitterness of the methi.
Looks very delicious. Will try soon
I have been following your posts/recipes for quite some time now. They are very helpful. I always make manchurian as per your recipe. But I am facing a problem recently that pictures of your recipes do not load on to my phone. What could be the problem?
thanks anu. let me know which phone you are using and which country you live. are photos able to load from other websites.
Thanks for the prompt reply. I live in India and I use a Samsung phone. I think the problem is with my device 🙁
fine anu 🙂
Thank u so much 🙂 tried the recipe..came out awesome..
Also..Can u please add the recipe for honey chilli potatoes..
welcome varalika 🙂 would add your request on our file and thankyou.
I tried this recipe one Sunday and it came out really well! Thank you for sharing such good recipes with us 🙂 The only thing was that there was a little bit of bitterness because of mustard seeds I guess. Rest was all awesome!
thankyou nirupama for trying the achari paneer. could be you must have kept the mustard seed for long time in the oil hence its become bitter. you are welcome 🙂
Hey dassana.. gr8 recipe!! Wl b trying it out soon.. just have some doubts.. when u say at this stage u can add masala from mango pickle..u mean as an addition to the achari masala v prepared or instead of ?? Also..instead of the fresh cream at d end can v use malai instead wen v make d gravy and tomato puree instead of the cut tomatoes.. I find the flavour of tomatoes btr in my gravys wen used as puree
thanks. the masala from mango pickle is added along with the achari masala. you can add 1 tsp of the mango pickle masala. but if you want more strong pickle flavors, then you can 1 tsp more. yes you can add malai. just beat the malai with a spoon before adding. and also you can add tomato puree.
Hello Dassana….last saturday i cooked achari paneer..it came out perfect…my husband likes to eat paneer & my achari paneer was so delicious that he gave me 95 marks out of 100 😉 u & all ur recipes r just awesome…my nxt try will b veg kadai gravy…i know it will also b a big hit…:-) 🙂 thnk u & God bless u ….:-)
welcome debashree. glad to know this. thanks for sharing positive feedback and for your prayers.
Achaari Paneer is a very delicious dish. It has a great combination of flavours and the taste is very unique and it’s very easy to make:)
Awesome Recipe.. Will definitely gonna try this one..!! Yummy.. :P. Keep posting more recipes 🙂 I tried Methi Malai paneer recipe of yours and it was amazing. My friends liked it so much. Thanks.. 🙂
welcome smriti. nice to know this.
This is the first recipe I tried from this site and its lovely….achari in true sense.
I love ur recipes and illustrations….you are angel send by god for non cook people like us((for me sure))…because of u I am a super sushil bahu((counted as)) 🙂
I wanted to ask can we add masala from nilon/mother dairy mango pickle in step 19 ????
Thank you neha for these sweet words. Yes you can add mango pickle masala in step 19.
Very nice and easy and taste is also yummy
Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful recipe:)
Is it okay… if i make the gravy 3 hours before the dinner time n keep it in fridge. And later during dinner time i add paneer. As m worried if i make whole thing earlier and what if due to heat curd curry gets sour..
yes you can make the gravy some hours before and refrigerate. add the paneer later when you reheat the gravy.
Your website is the helping hand for me.. thanks for this wonderfull recipe.. Aachari Paneer… i also tried your eggless cakes n vada sambhar… it came out awesome… once again thanks
welcome siddhi. glad to know this. thanks for sharing positive feedback.
If using the mango pickle masala – at what stage should I add it?
welcome craig. add after step 19. its mentioned in the post.
superb…..and to no onion no garlic….wow awesome….
Hi Dassana, sorry I have a query regarding your south indian mushroom biryani, but I could not seem to find the “Leave a Reply” boxes…so I am commenting here. I wish to know if that biryani can be made in a rice cooker? Normally what I do is fry the seasonings, add the rice and mix well, then cool it and transfer to a rice cooker. Wonder if the same would work for the mushroom biryani recipe? Please let me know, thanks.
I really like your clear instructions and beautiful pictures. Am not a “natural” cook, but with your help, I am coping quite okay. Keep up with your good work 🙂
hi mala, you can easily make the south indian mushroom biryani in the rice cooker. since its not layered biryani, it will work in the rice cooker. thank you for your sweet words.
Very nice recipe
very nice recipe
Can you please post the recipe of spring rolls?
thanks and you are doing a great job
thanks anushka. yes i will add the recipe soon.
You have said mengo pickle masala to be used but which mengo pickle masala? Can you share that mengo pickle masala recipe?
any north indian or western indian mango pickle. though not essential to add. i have added gujarati mango pickle masala. here is the recipe – https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/gujarati-mango-pickle-recipe-methia-keri/
Thank you so much. Would you please add me to your news letter subscription?
welcome kirit. i have added your email.
Hi Dassana, thanks for another wonderful recipe. I know this is Vegetarian food blog, however I was wondering if I make this recipe with chicken drumsticks, would I marinate it? It’s fine if you are unable to answer. Thanks
Awesome piece of recipe ,very well defined and posted, easy to make and tastes good. Thanks for sharing such a delicious paneer variant.
Can we add garam masala as well?
siddharth, if you want then you can add pinch or two of garam masala. but there is no need.
Very nice n flavourful! Different!
It came out perfect! Thanks for the recipe. Can you plz share restaurant style paneer kathi roll recipe, I have tried it many times but it doesn’t come like the ones we get outside.
welcome veda. thanks for sharing positive feedback. i will try to add the recipe soon.
Absolutely loved this recipe. I think I even slept better after such a good dinner!
I’m wondering if I can extrapolate this to a rice dish.. like Achari Pulav. I will try it this weekend!
Thank you for rekindling my interest in cooking.. I have watched various videos, and followed a few other food blogs but this dedicated blog for vegetarian recipes means, I don’t have to skim through looking for veg options. I just pick one and go with it.
thanks shri for this sweet and encouraging feedback. i think you can make achari pulao but some experimentation is needed. you can also make it like paneer biryani but don’t cook the paneer before as it will become hard. just marinate everything with the paneer. check this link of paneer biryani recipe – https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/paneer-biryani-recipe/ i hope it helps.
Hey. I tried this recipe .. It turned out too sour maybe because of the curd … Can i add tomato ketchup to it? And you havent added even a pinch of salt to this?
you can add tomato sauce. you can also add some sugar to balance the sourness. the curd must have been too sour, hence the gravy has become too sour. i have added salt. its there in the step by step pics. its also mentioned in the recipe method details. i missed adding in the ingredients section, though.
Thank you so much for the awesome recipe! I made it last weekend and got rave reviews from my boyfriend (and I too loved it!). I like this recipe because it’s fast to prepare, and has things I keep in the house (now that I got the kalonji). So I can make this one last-minute.
I want to thank you for posting easy-to-follow Indian recipes with AWESOME pictures. I can’t tell you how much the pictures help, because I can tell if I got the consistency right. I am an American, and I didn’t grow up cooking Indian food, but with your help, I am able to cook wonderful tasty dishes.
welcome leslie. good to know that pictures help you in cooking. feel free to ask any query. thanks for sharing your encouraging feedback.
First of all wants to thank u, all your recipes are superb and this blog is just like my helping hand… Once again thank u.
welcome piyali. thanks for sharing your positive feedback.
Made this today for dinner ! Finger licking it was ! Glad that I liked your page in fb 🙂 keep going Dassana.
thanks smitha for sharing your positive feedback. nice to know this.
I tried this last night and it turned out superb. I didn’t expect mine to taste so good on the first try. I am officially a fan of yours now. Your recipes are always so easy to follow, especially with the pictures that you post. I even read all the comments, bcoz so many of them have useful tips from you. Thanks for posting these. 🙂
thanks again anju 🙂
Made your achari paneer on Saturday . It came out very well, the achari masala took it to a different level altogether. Just wanted to let you know that in the written description of the recipe, you have forgotten to mention the addition (optional) of the mango pickle masala. I too forgot to add it:)it still turned out really great. I think the recipe can be easily adapted to make Achari chicken or baby potatoes. It’s a keeper!
thanks you anu. good to know. yes i have forgotten to add. i will update. yes the same recipe can be made for any achari dish gravy. for chicken, you will need to marinate it in the curd and achari spices for a few hours or minimum for 30 minutes. for baby potatoes also, you can parboil them and then saute or shallow fry them. for less calories, just steam them till they are cooked well. but do remember to poke the potatoes with a skewer or toothpick, so that they absorb the masala flavors well.
it is my first visit to your blog. You have explained in very well manner with all steps. Everyone who don’t know how to make achari paneer recipe, can eaisly make using your tutorial. I love your way how you crafted this post.
Keep up your great work!
thanks jyoti for sharing your positive feedback. thats the idea behind the blog that is “everyone can cook”.
Well explained..mouth watering recipe..
Wow its amazing.. I really like it… Thanks for sharing.
Simply awesome, Dassana!! Let me tell you this, I visit a lot of blog/websites & try out recipes, but so far your website is the best. Your recipes are foolproof & guaranteed to succeed..keep up the good work!!
priya, glad to know this. thanks for sharing positive feedback on recipes.
Great recipe of Aachari Paneer.Waiting for more delicious
Awesome dish…send more recipes to my mail id plz
thanks yuri. have added your email address in subscription list.
Superb recipe! very different! thanx for sharing it!
Wonderfully presented. Thank you !
Your recipes are amazing. I am a non vegetarian but I h have started enjoying yr recipes, specially paneer ones. My son loves when I make yr paneer receipes.
welcome iman. glad to know this.
Your recipes are so well explained that anybody can cook …Thank you once again for one more wonderful share.
Amazing Dassana.. this Recipe looks so simple and yummy.. i will give a try this weekend and share the pics with you… ur amazing cook…
This recipie looks so delicious can’t wait to try it out.
All your recipes are so well explained that even a non cook like me is hooked. My kid just loved your quick strawberry mousse.
welcome raman. thanks for sharing positive feedback on recipes.
That looks lovely. one of my many favourites.
Very nice combination of all spices and the gravy what you have suggested.
Can you please share the recipe of Paneer Tikka Masala (main Course) Restaurant style ?
Paneer Tikka Masala (Starter) that you have shared is amazing recipe , I tried and everyone just loved it. Thankful to you 🙂
thanks shefali for sharing positive feedback. i have noted down the request and will try to add the recipe.
Wow!!! It looks so amazing :). I love your recipes and your blog
Can you post any receipe with soya chunks? Am looking for a side dish with that for chapati or roti.
savitha, i don’t cook soya chunks at home so can’t post the recipe.
Awesome recipe….tried it for dinner..sister and mom loved it. I have tried most of your paneer recipes but this one took the cup 🙂 thankyou so much for making cooking so much fun and easy.
pleased to know this devika 🙂 thankyou for your positive feedback.