Paneer khurchan recipe with step by step photos – Paneer khurchan is an easy, quick and delicious North Indian semi-dry curry made with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) in a onion-tomato-capsicum base. Serve it with roti or paratha or naan for a delightful meal.
This is a North Indian Punjabi paneer dish which at times you will find in dhabas and restaurants.
To make paneer khurchan is very easy and just takes about 30 minutes. All you need is paneer and veggies like capsicum, tomatoes and onion, including the regular Indian spices.
The word ‘khurchan’ is derived from the Hindi word “khurachna” which means ‘to scrape’. So the dish is basically scraped paneer in a semi-dry sauce or gravy of onion, tomatoes and bell pepper.
There are quite a number of variations of making this dish and this is my own version. Mildly spiced, tangy from the tomatoes with a faint sweetness from the onions, bell pepper and cream. I suggest using fresh homemade paneer for best taste. You can use any color bell pepper.
To make paneer khurchan, you need a heavy and thick bottomed iron tawa/griddle. You can also use steel or aluminium tawa. The tawa should not be thin from the bottom as then the paneer will get browned quickly and burn too.
You can also use a thick bottomed iron or steel kadai. The recipe cannot be made in nonstick pans. Here I have used iron tawa.
Paneer khurchan goes best with chapatis, tandoori rotis or naan. Also remember to drizzle in some lime juice before serving.
How to make Paneer Khurchan
1. Slice 250 grams of paneer (Indian cottage cheese) into 1.5 to 2 inches batons or strips as shown in the below photo.
2. Chop all the veggies. You will need 2 medium-sized onions, thinly sliced, 1 large-sized chopped tomato, 1 large-sized capsicum that is cut in small cubes, 1 or 2 green chilies slit or sliced and 1 inch ginger, julienne. Reserve a few ginger julienne for garnish.
3. Heat 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of oil in medium to large sized tawa or skillet or frying pan. Don’t use non-stick pan. You can also use a thick bottomed iron or steel kadai.
You can use a neutral-flavored oil. You can also use butter or ghee but these will make the dish rich and heavy.
4. Add the sliced onions and stir to combine. Keep the heat to medium-low.
5. Sauté them stirring often till they turn translucent.
6. Then add the capsicum cubes and chopped tomatoes. You can use any variety of capsicum (bell pepper) – green, red or yellow.
7. Stir and mix very well using a spatula.
8. Keep on sauteing and stirring them for about about 7 to 8 minutes on a low heat.
9. The tomatoes need to get softened and the capsicum just about cooked.
10. Then add the following spice powders:
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
- a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- salt as required.
For a spicy version, increase the amount of red chili powder and garam masala powder. For a gluten-free version skip adding asafoetida or use gluten-free asafoetida.
11. Mix the spice powders very well with the sauteed onion tomato capsicum mixture.
12. Add the slit green chilies and ginger juliennes. You can also add 1 or 2 more of the green chilies if you prefer for a spicy taste.
13. Stir and mix well again.
14. Then add the paneer batons.
15. Stir and mix to combine the paneer with the masala base. Increase the flame to high. Paneer will leave moisture once you mix them with the rest of the masala base.
16. With a spatula, align and place each paneer strip touching the tawa or skillet, so that they are cooked evenly as well as get a bit golden from the bottom. Basically you have to line them in a single layer on the skillet.
17. Cook for a minute and then scrape the paneer strips from the base. Reduce the heat if everything starts to get brown quickly. Turn over each paneer strip and cook for some seconds or a minute until the other side gets browned a bit.
18. Again scrape and stir. Keep on scraping if you see the paneer or onion-tomato bits getting stuck on the tawa.
A note is not to cook too much as then the paneer would harden and become chewy. The scraping as well as flipping has to be done quickly. Scrape all the bits and pieces of paneer as well as the onion, tomato and capsicum.
19. Switch off the heat. Then add 1 tablespoon low fat cream or light cream and ½ teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves), crushed. The cream is optional and if you don’t have just skip it.
20. Stir and mix again very well.
21. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves and stir to mix. You can also garnish it with coriander leaves instead of mixing them.
24. Serve paneer khurchan hot or warm with roti or plain paratha or lachedar paratha or naan or tandoori roti or rumali roti.
You can also have it with bread slices or as a side dish with any Punjabi meal. For best taste and flavor serve this dish while hot or warm. As on reheating the paneer can become chewy, dense and lose its soft texture.
More Paneer recipes
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- 250 grams Paneer (cottage cheese)
- 90 to 100 grams onions or about 2 medium onions or ½ cup heaped sliced onions
- 150 grams tomato or 1 large tomato or 2/3 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 large green capsicum (bell pepper) or 100 grams capsicum or ½ cup chopped capsicum
- 1 inch ginger – julienne
- 1 or 2 green chilies – slit
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder or add as required
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper, add as required
- ½ teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder (ground cumin)
- ½ teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) – crushed
- 1 tablespoon low fat cream (optional)
- 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves for garnish
- 1.5 to 2 tablespoon oil
- salt as required
- Slice 250 grams of paneer into batons or strips about 1.5 to 2 inches.
- Chop all the veggies. Slice the onions thinly. Chop the tomatoes and cut the capsicum in small cubes.
- Slit the green chilies & julienne the 1 inch ginger. Reserve a few ginger julienne for garnish.
making paneer khurchan
- Heat oil in medium to large iron tawa. Don't use non stick pan. You can also use thick bottomed iron or steel kadai.
- Add the sliced onions and saute them till they turn translucent on medium-low heat stirring often.
- Then add the capsicum cubes and chopped tomatoes.
- Keep on sauteing and stirring them for about about 7 to 8 minutes on a low heat.
- The tomatoes need to get softened and the capsicum just about cooked.
- Then add the spice powders – turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder, a generous pinch of asafoetida and salt as required.
- Stir the spice powders very well with the sauteed onion tomato capsicum mixture.
- Add the slit green chilies and ginger julienne. Stir and mix.
- Then add the paneer strips.
- Stir and mix very well. Increase the heat to high. Note that the paneer will leave moisture once you mix them with the rest of the masala base.
- With a spatula, align and place each paneer strip touching the tawa, so that they are cooked evenly as well as get bit golden from the base.
- Cook for a minute and then scrape the paneer strips from the base. Reduce the heat if everything starts to get brown quickly
- Turn over and let the other side get browned a bit.
- Again scrape and stir. Keep on scraping if you see the paneer or onion-tomato bits getting stuck on the tawa. A note is not to cook too much as then the paneer would harden and become chewy. The scraping as well as flipping has to be done quickly.
- Switch off the heat. Lastly add 1 tablespoon low fat cream or light cream and crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves). The cream is optional and if you don't have just skip it.
- Stir and mix very well again.
- Add chopped coriander leaves and mix them. You can also garnish with coriander leaves instead of mixing them.
- Serve paneer khurchan hot or warm sprinkled with some lime juice and the reserved ginger julienne, along with some chapatis, tandoori rotis or naan or plain paratha.
- The amount of spices can be altered to suit your taste buds.
- I suggest to make the dish with fresh paneer. I always recommend making your own paneer.
- Use any neutral flavored oil. For a richer dish you can add butter or ghee instead of oil.
- For a spicy paneer khurchan increase the amount of green chilies.
- It is best to serve this dish hot or warm. On reheating the paneer will get cooked further and won’t taste good as they will become chewy and rubbery.
- Use a big-size skillet or tawa to accommodate the ingredients easily while sauteing. Also the paneer strips should be placed in a single layer while cooking the dish.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Paneer Khurchan post from the blog archives first published in December 2014 has been republished and updated on 17 January 2022.