Paneer Korma (Paneer Kurma)

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Paneer korma recipe is a creamy, rich and delicately flavored curry with a white gravy base made with almonds, onions, yogurt and spices. You can also call this recipe as white paneer kurma. The exotic flavors of this paneer curry is best savored with naan or tandoori roti.

paneer korma served in orange bowl

About Paneer Korma Recipe

As is with the Indian cuisine, there are many ways a dish is prepared and so is it with this paneer korma recipe. My recipe is a North Indian dish and inspired from the rich and luxurious Mughal cuisine.

This white paneer kurma has a faintly sweet taste with a touch of sourness. The sweetness in the gravy comes from the almonds and onion paste and sour hints coming from yogurt. There are no tomatoes added in the recipe.

The gravy is mild to taste and thus goes well with kids or with folks who cannot eat spicy food. Though for a bit of heat, I have added one green chili, but you could skip it too.

There is some prep work required like making almond paste and onion paste. After preparing these two pastes, the recipe is easy to make. To the same gravy base, you can also add steamed veggies or make a curry with both veggies and paneer.

Almonds give a subtle sweet flavor and creaminess to the dish. In place of almonds, you can use cashews too. But keep in mind that with cashews the taste will be different.

White korma with paneer or veggies is a childhood favorite. Dad would get us this white gravy with naan or roti from a few restaurants in Mumbai. I have really good memories of food with dad getting us awesome food or taking us to dine out in restaurants.

Those were the days when there were no pizza huts, mc donalds’s or fast food chains. The only pizza we would occasionally have was from the Udupi restaurants in Mumbai.

A largely Indianised version with tomato ketchup as the base sauce and the popular Indian brand of Amul cheese as the cheese topping, with the usual onions, capsicum and tomatoes as the veggies. A favorite till today.

Coming back to this creamy paneer kurma, serve it with naan, tandoori roti, chapati or paratha. It also pairs nicely with biryani, cumin rice or veg pulao.

If you love korma curries, then do have a look at these recipes of Vegetable Kurma and Navratan Korma.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Paneer Korma

Prep

1. First rinse and then blanch the almonds in hot water. Soak 20 to 22 almonds in ½ cup of hot water for 30 to 40 minutes. Cover and keep aside.

You can heat the water in an electric heater or microwave or in a small pan. If you have time, you can soak the almonds for an hour.

blanching almonds

2. In a pan, take ¾ cup roughly chopped onions and add ¼ cup water.

¾ cup roughly chopped onions and water in a pan

3. On a low to medium heat, cook the onions and water together stirring at intervals.  if in case the water dries up while cooking onions, then add some more water.

cooking onions

4. Simmer till the onions soften. Remove pan from the stovetop and set it aside for the onions to cool.

cooking onions till soften

5. After 30 to 40 minutes, peel the almonds and set them aside.

peeled almonds

6. Add the blanched and peeled almonds and ¼ cup of the soaking water to a grinder or small blender.

blanched and peeled almonds in a grinder

7. Make a smooth paste from the almonds without any tiny bits or chunks. Remove the almond paste in a bowl and set aside.

almond paste

8. To the same blender, add the cooked onions together with the remaining water/stock.

cooked onions in the blender

9. Grind or blend to a fine, smooth paste and set aside.

onion paste in blender

10. Take 6 tablespoons of full fat fresh curd (yogurt) in a bowl or measuring cup and whisk well till smooth. The curd should be fresh and preferably homemade.

If using store brought yogurt, then do check the taste. The curd should not be sour or khatta as we call it in Hindi.

whisked curd

Make White Curry Base

11. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a pan. Lower the heat as the ghee melts.

heat ghee in a pan

12. Add the following whole spices and fry the spices for some seconds till fragrant.

  • ½ teaspoon shahi jeera (caraway seeds)
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 to 3 single strands of mace
  • 1 small to medium tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
whole spices added

13. Now add the ground onion paste and mix very well with the spices and ghee. Be careful as the mixture splutters.

adding onion paste

14. Add 2 teaspoons of ginger-garlic paste. Stir and mix again.

adding ginger garlic paste

15. Sauté the onion paste stirring often on a low to medium-low heat until you see some fat releasing from the sides and the paste thickens.

We don’t need to brown this paste as we are preparing a white gravy. But make sure the onion paste is cooked well.

cooking the gravy

16. Now add the ground almond paste.

adding ground almond paste

17. Stir continuously and saute for two minutes on a low heat.

sauteing white gravy

18. Then add 1 slit green chili, ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder or white pepper powder and ½ teaspoon coriander powder.

add 1 slit green chili and pepper to gravy

19. Stir and mix again to combine the spices with the sautéed white paste.

mix white gravy

20. Saute for a minute on a low heat.

sauteing white gravy

21. Now first add 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of the beaten curd (yogurt) on a low heat.

adding curd to gravy

22. Briskly stir and incorporate the curd with the rest of the mixture.

mix the curd with gravy

23. Then add again 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of the curd.

add again 1 to 1.5 tbsp of the curd

24. Stir quickly again. Adding yogurt in small amounts like these does not allow it to get curdled or split in the gravy.

mix gravy again

25. Finish off all the curd (yogurt) this way and keep on stirring.

adding rest of curd and mixing with gravy

26. Here’s the white gravy after all the yogurt has been added.

paneer kurma gravy after addition of curd

Make Paneer Kurma

27. Then add ¾ to 1 cup water or as required.

water added

28. Mix very well so that the whole gravy has an even consistency.

stirring korma gravy

29. Add salt as required.

salt added

30. Bring the gravy to a gentle simmer on a low heat for about 4 to 5 minutes.

simmer gravy

31. Then add the paneer cubes – 200 grams paneer which has been chopped into cubes. Stir and mix the paneer cubes gently with the white gravy.

adding paneer to korma gravy

32. Switch off heat.

simmer the curry

33. Then add 3 tablespoons of light cream (low-fat cream or cooking cream). Swap light cream with 1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream of whipping cream.

cream added in paneer korma gravy

34. Stir to combine evenly until the cream is mixed with the rest of the kurma gravy.

paneer korma gravy in pan

35. Lastly, add 1 teaspoon of rose water or kewra water (pandanus water) or ½ teaspoon of each. Mix with the gravy gently.

rose water added

Serve paneer korma garnished with a few pinches of crushed saffron or ground saffron powder.

The paneer kurma pairs well with naan, tandoori roti, chapati or paratha or rumali roti. It can also be served with jeera rice or veg pulao.

paneer korma served in bowl

FAQs

What is a Korma or Kurma?

Korma also called Kurma is a curried dish where the base of the curry or gravy is made with nuts, seeds, yogurt, cream, spices or onions and tomatoes. The korma base ingredients vary from where the recipe is coming from. No two kurma recipes will be same and will have their own unique flavor and taste.

Can I skip the whole spices?

Yes you can choose to omit the spices. Having said that I do suggest to sprinkle about ¼ teaspoon of Garam Masala on the gravy once the paneer kurma is cooked. Stir and then serve. You can also swap shahi jeera with cumin seeds.

I do not have rose water, what can I use instead?

Add 12 to 15 saffron strands instead. Mix the saffron strands in 1 tablespoon warm water and set aside for 10 minutes. Then add this saffron soaked water to the gravy.

Is it fine to replace almonds with cashews?

Of course. You can choose to soak the cashews for about 20 to 30 minutes and then blend to a smooth and fine paste.

More Paneer Curries To Try!

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paneer kurma served in bowl

Paneer Korma (Paneer Kurma)

Creamy, rich and delicately flavored delicious paneer korma made in a white gravy base of blanched almonds, onions, yogurt and spices. The exotic flavors of this paneer curry is best savored with naan or tandoori roti.
4.94 from 15 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Soaking Time For Almonds 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Cuisine North Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

For almond paste

  • 20 to 22 almonds
  • ¼ cup hot water – for soaking almonds
  • 4 tablespoons water or the almond soaked water for grinding or blending almonds

For onion paste

  • 150 grams onions or about 2 medium onions or ¾ cup roughly chopped onions
  • ¼ cup water – for cooking onions

Other ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon Ghee (clarified butter)
  • ½ teaspoon shahi jeera (caraway seeds)
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 to 3 single strands of mace
  • 2 teaspoons Ginger Garlic Paste or 5 to 6 garlic + 1 inch ginger – crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle
  • 1 green chili slit (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder or white pepper powder
  • ½ teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • 6 tablespoons Curd (yogurt), full fat or made with whole milk – 100 grams
  • ¾ to 1 cup water or add as required
  • salt as required
  • 200 grams Paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons light cream (low fat or cooking cream) or 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon rose water or 1 teaspoon kewra water (pandanus water) or ½ teaspoon of each
  • 2 to 3 pinches crushed saffron or ground saffron powder for garnish

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • First blanch the almonds in hot water. Rinse almonds and soak them in hot water for 30 to 40 minutes. Cover with a lid and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, take the roughly chopped onions and add water.
  • On a medium-low to medium heat simmer the chopped onion and water together stirring at intervals. If in case the water dries up while cooking onions, then add some more water.
  • Simmer till the onions soften.
  • After 30 minutes, peel the almonds.
  • Add the blanched, peeled almonds and ¼ cup of the soaking water or fresh water to a grinder or small blender.
  • Make a fine and smooth paste from the almonds without any tiny bits or chunks. Remove almond paste in a small bowl and set it aside.
  • To the same blender, add the cooked onions together with the remaining stock. Grind to a smooth and fine paste.
  • Take the full fat fresh curd (yogurt) in a bowl or measuring cup and whisk well till smooth.

Making paneer korma

  • Heat ghee in a pan. Keep the heat to low.
  • Add the whole spices – shahi jeera, cinnamon, green cardamoms, cloves, strands of mace and tej patta. Fry the spices for some seconds till they splutter and become fragrant.
  • Now add the ground onion paste and stir very well with the spices and ghee. Take care as the onion paste will splutter when you add it to the pan.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste. Mix and stir again.
  • Sauté the onion paste stirring often on a low to medium-low heat till you see some fat releasing from the sides and the paste thickens. We don't need to brown this paste as we are preparing a white gravy. But ensure that the onion paste is cooked.
  • Now add the ground almond paste.
  • Stir continuously and saute for two minutes on a low heat.
  • Then add 1 or 2 slit green chilies, black pepper powder or white pepper powder and coriander powder. Stir and mix again.
  • Saute for a minute on a low heat.
  • Now first add 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of the beaten curd (yogurt or dahi) on a low heat.
  • Briskly stir and incorporate the curd with the rest of the mixture.
  • Then add again 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of the curd.
  • Stir quickly again. Adding yogurt in small amounts like this does not allow it to split or curdle in the gravy.
  • Finish off all the curd (yogurt) this way and keep on stirring.
  • Add water.
  • Mix thoroughly so that the whole gravy has a uniform and even consistency. Add salt as required.
  • Bring the gravy to a gentle simmer on a low heat – about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Then add the paneer cubes and stir gently to mix the paneer cubes with the gravy. Switch off the heat
  • Add light cream. Mix well and switch off the heat.
  • Lastly, add rosewater or kewra water (pandanus) water. Again mix gently.
  • Serve paneer korma hot or warm garnished with crushed saffron or saffron powder.
  • This paneer kurma pairs very well with naan, tandoori roti, chapati or paratha. It also goes well with cumin rice or veg pulao or veg biryani.

Notes

  • Instead of shahi jeera, you can use cumin seeds. 
  • Make this dish with fresh curd (yogurt). Do not use curd which has become sour. 
  • You can skip adding the whole spices and instead add ¼ teaspoon of garam masala powder when the dish is finished cooking.
  • In place of almonds, feel free to use cashews. With cashews the taste will be different but will taste good.
  • Do not add tomatoes in this recipe as it can make the dish taste sour and acidic.
  • As is the recipe cannot be scaled as the ingredients on scaling can make the taste and flavors go out of balance.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Paneer Korma (Paneer Kurma)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 422 Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Fat 36g55%
Saturated Fat 20g125%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 91mg30%
Sodium 441mg19%
Potassium 238mg7%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 206IU4%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 2mg13%
Vitamin K 2µg2%
Calcium 427mg43%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 18µg5%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 38mg10%
Phosphorus 101mg10%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Paneer Korma post from the blog archives first published in Jan 2015 has been republished and updated on 21 January 2022.

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42 Comments

  1. I am a complete beginner to cooking and this website is my knight in shining armour!
    Tried this recipe, and it came out really well! Loved it!!!
    Thank You!5 stars

    1. Thank you for the lovely feedback and the rating as well. Glad to know you like the paneer korma recipe. Welcome and Happy Cooking.

  2. This is my favorite website.I tried so many recipes from this site. All are amazing and well narrated. I liked the way you post step by step recipe with pictures. I tried this recipe today and it came out so well.
    Thank you so much for all the recipes.5 stars

    1. Welcome Shalini. Glad to know that you like step wise presentation of recipes. Thanks for giving positive review on recipes you tried.

  3. Very nice recipe mam.Thank u for the recipe.I made it today.Everyone liked it.

  4. You wonderful woman!
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    1. thanks a lot ravi for sharing this. glad to know that everyone liked the recipe. happy cooking.

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