Paneer do pyaza is a rich, creamy curry of soft succulent paneer and plenty of onions in a wonderful medley of spices, herbs and tomatoes. Try this flavorful and absolutely delish paneer recipe with restaurant style flavors from the Mughlai cuisine. I am sure you will love it.
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What is Do Pyaza?
The word “Do” means two or double and “Pyaza” or “Piaza” means onions. This means that the onions are added twice in the recipe or double the amount of onions are included.
There is one more interesting anecdote in relation to this dish. That of Emperor Akbar’s courtier, Mullah Do Piyaza creating this recipe unexpectedly when he added a huge amount of onions to a meat dish. I wonder if this story is true or not.
But if you look at the words, ‘do pyaza‘ these literally mean two onions or double the onions.
Do pyaza recipes are usually made with meat. But of course my recipe is a vegetarian version of do pyaza and made with paneer.
In this particular recipe, the onions are doubled as well as added twice at two different stages of cooking.
So basically there is a good amount of onions in this dish. If you like onions, then this dish is for you.
I have also shared a few vegetarian do pyaza recipes like:
About Paneer Do Pyaza Recipe
In this delicious paneer do pyaza recipe, first finely chopped onions are sautéed to make a flavorful mild gravy. Later blanched, sautéed onion cubes are mixed in.
The blanched onions offer a lovely crunch, in contrast to the smooth gravy with the melt in the mouth paneer cubes.
This paneer do pyaza recipe is not at all spicy and obviously has hints of sweetness due to the amount of onions included.
Fresh cream makes the gravy rich and smooth while balancing the tang of the tomatoes beautifully.
People who love creamy, mild and less spiced food will love this paneer do pyaza. But as you prefer you can increase the spice and heat in the dish by adding some red chili powder or cayenne pepper.
Paneer do pyaza can also be served as a starter or a side dish with a North Indian meal.
This is one of those recipes that be easily doubled or tripled and will be good for Diwali parties or small gatherings.
I have adapted this recipe from the book “100 Great Indian Recipes” by Master Chefs Of India.
How to make Paneer Do Pyaza
Blanching onions and tomatoes
1. Blanch halved or quartered 2 medium-sized onions and 2 whole medium tomatoes in hot water. For this method, first heat water as needed, in a pan until it begins to boil.
Add 2 small to medium-sized onions that have been halved or quartered (75 to 80 grams) and 2 small to medium sized tomatoes (75 to 80 grams) in the hot water. Let them cook for a minute or two. Then switch off the heat.
Cover the pan and let the onions and tomatoes blanch in the hot water for about 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Drain and once the onions are cooled, separate the individual onion layers and set aside. For large onion layers, chop them in halves.
Sautéing blanched onions (pyaz)
3. Heat 2 teaspoons butter in a pan. Add the onion layers and sauté until they are lightly browned from the edges.
TIP: Both salted butter and unsalted butter are fine. Instead of butter you can also use ghee or oil.
4. Set them aside.
Chopping raw onions and blanched tomatoes
5. Peel the skin from the blanched tomatoes and chop them finely. Also, peel, rinse and finely chop two small to medium-sized onions (75 to 80 grams).
If you measure, you will get about ½ cup of finely chopped tomatoes and about ½ to ⅔ cup of finely chopped onions.
Sautéing spices and onions
6. Heat 1.5 tablespoon oil in the same pan. Keep the heat to low and add the whole spices listed below. Sauté the spices for some seconds until aromatic and ensure you do not burn them.
- 1 inch cinnamon (true cinnamon and not cassia cinnamon)
- 3 green cardamoms
- 2 to 3 cloves
- 1 single strand of mace
- 1 medium-sized or 2 small tej patta
- 2 to 3 dry red chilies (seeds can be removed if you prefer)
7. Add ½ to ⅔ cup finely chopped onions.
8. Stir and sauté the onions stirring often until they become golden on low to medium-low heat. Take care that they do not get burnt, so you have to stir them often and do not leave them unattended.
Sautéing tomatoes and ground spices
9. Add the finely chopped blanched tomatoes and mix well.
10. Then add the ½ teaspoon ginger-garlic paste. Mix and stir the masala mixture very well and sauté on a low to medium-low heat until the oil begins to release from the sides. The tomatoes should soften and be completely cooked.
TIP 1: To make a quick ginger-garlic paste (which I always do), simply crush ½ inch ginger and 2 small garlic cloves in a mortar-pestle.
TIP 2: If the tomatoes stick to the pan, add a few splashes of water. Mix well and deglaze removing and stuck bits or ingredients. Continue to sauté.
11. Keep heat to a low and add the following listed ground spices:
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
- 2 pinches of grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
TIP: You can also add red chili powder for some color and a bit of heat. Include about ¼ to ½ tsp of red chili powder or cayenne, depending on your liking.
12. Mix and combine the ground spices thoroughly with the sautéed onions and tomatoes on a low heat.
Making Paneer Do Pyaza
13. Add the blanched and sautéed onion layers. Mix and sauté for 2 minutes on low heat.
14. Now add paneer cubes (250 grams). I recommend adding Homemade Paneer for the best taste and texture.
15. Season with salt and mix everything gently but thoroughly.
16. Add ¼ cup light cream or low-fat cream.
TIP: If you have whipping cream or heavy cream, add 2 tablespoons of either.
17. Mix gently and cook for about thirty seconds to a minute. Then switch off heat.
18. Garnish with 1 to 2 tablespoons coriander leaves (cilantro) and 1 teaspoon ginger julienne or 1 tablespoon of grated paneer.
Serve paneer do pyaza hot or warm.
Any paneer curry or gravy paired with a roti or plain Paratha is a favorite with us.
You can also serve paneer do pyaaza with bread or dinner rolls. In fact when you a have a North Indian lunch or dinner menu plan, you can include paneer do pyaza as a side dish.
- Paneer: For best results, make the do pyaza recipe with homemade paneer. If using packaged paneer, I suggest to include malai paneer. For frozen paneer, follow the package instructions, prior to adding them.
- Onions: Use any type of onions be it red, white or yellow. In fact small button onions and even pearl onions or shallots taste great here. But do not use scallions or green onions – the recipe will have a major makeover to it and will taste something else.
- Vegan options: If you are allergic to dairy, then make the dish with tofu, oil and cashew cream or coconut cream.
- Tomatoes: Due to unavailability, if you do not have fresh tomatoes, use canned tomatoes or tomato puree. Do not blanch your canned tomatoes – simply chop or crush them and add while cooking. You can add about ½ cup crushed canned tomatoes or ⅓ cup tomato puree.
- Kasuri Methi: For more restaurant style flavors, add about ½ teaspoon of crushed kasuri methi which also gives a lovely nutty aroma.
- Cream: I have used packaged cream here. But you can use malai which is clotted cream (that floats on the top of heated milk). For malai, you will need to whip it in a small blender until smooth before adding it.
- Additional veggies: Bell pepper (red or yellow or capsicum) makes this dish taste more flavorful. Optionally for a meaty texture and more protein, you can sauté or stir-fry or roast some button or cremini mushrooms separately. Add them when you add the paneer.
- Pan: It is best to make this dish in a heavy skillet or frying pan, so that the sautéed onion-tomato masala does not stick or get burnt on the surface of the pan.
- Consistency: This is a semi-dry dish. If you prefer a slight gravy consistency, add ¼ to ⅓ cup water and simmer before you add sautéed onions layers and paneer.
- Pan frying paneer: If you like some crispy texture in your paneer, then pan fry them in some oil until light golden or golden.
Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
Paneer Do Pyaza Recipe (Restaurant Style)
- 2 onions (small to medium-sized) – 75 to 80 grams, or 5 to 6 button onions or small pearl onions or shallots
- 2 tomatoes (small to medium-sized) – 75 to 80 grams
- water – as required
For sautéing blanched onion layers
- 2 teaspoons Butter for sautéing the blanched onions
- 2 tablespoons oil – neutral flavored
- ½ to ⅔ cup finely chopped onions – 75 to 80 grams or 2 small to medium-sized
- ½ teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste or ½ inch ginger and 2 small garlic cloves crushed in mortar-pestle
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ½ teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder (ground cumin)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
- ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala
- 2 pinches grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder – optional
- 250 grams Paneer (cottage cheese)
- ¼ cup light cream or low-fat cream or cooking cream or 2 tbsp of heavy or whipping cream
- salt as required
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 3 green cardamoms
- 2 to 3 cloves
- 1 single strand of mace – optional
- 1 tej patta (medium-sized) or 2 small-sized
- 2 to 3 dry red chilies (seeds removed if preferred)
- 1 teaspoon ginger julienne – optional
- ½ to 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 1 tablespoon grated paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
Blanching onions and tomatoes
- Peel and rinse the onions. Rinse the tomatoes. Halve or quarter the onions.
- You can also use pearl or button onions instead of regular onions
- Blanch halved or quartered onions and tomatoes in hot water. For this method, first boil water in a pan till the water begins to boil.
- Add the onions and tomatoes and let them cook for a minute or two. Then switch off the flame.
- Cover the pan and let the onions and tomatoes blanch in the hot water for about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Drain and once the onions are cooled, separate each onion layers and set aside. If the onion layers are large, then chop them in halves.
Sautéing blanched onions
- Heat butter in a pan.
- Add the onion layers and sauté until they are lightly browned from the edges. Set aside.
Chopping fresh onions and blanched tomatoes
- Peel the skin from the blanched tomatoes and chop them finely.
- Also peel, rinse and finely chop two small to medium onions. You will need ½ to ⅔ cup of finely chopped onions.
Sautéing spices and onions
- Heat oil in the same pan. Lower the heat and add all the whole spices – cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, mace, bay leaf and dry red chilies. Mix and sauté the spices for some seconds until aromatic. Take care not to burn them.
- Add the chopped onions. Stir and sauté the onions until they become golden.
- Add the blanched and finely chopped tomatoes. Mix well.
- Then add ginger-garlic paste. Mix and stir the masala mixture very well and sauté on a low to medium-low heat until the oil begins to release from the sides.
- The tomatoes should soften and be completely cooked.
- Keep heat to a low and add ground spices – coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, black pepper powder, nutmeg powder and garam masala powder.
- You can also add red chili powder if you prefer. Add about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of red chili powder depending on your taste.
- Stir and mix the ground spices very well on low heat.
Making paneer do pyaza
- Then add the blanched and sautéed onion layers. Mix and sauté for 2 minutes on low heat.
- Add the paneer cubes.
- Season with salt and stir everything well.
- Add the light cream or low-fat cream. Mix gently and cook for about thirty seconds to a minute. If you have whipped cream, then add 2 tablespoons of it.
- You can also add kasuri methi at this step. Add about ½ teaspoon of crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves).
- Garnish with coriander leaves, ginger julienne or grated paneer.
- Serve paneer do pyaza hot or warm with Indian flatbreads like chapati, roti or naan.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This paneer do pyaza recipe from the blog archives first published on October 2014 has been updated and republished on February 2021.