Paneer Pasanda recipe is made with a sweet and spicy filling, stuffed between two pieces of the popular Indian cottage cheese a.k.a paneer, then dipped, fried and served in a lusciously smooth onion-tomato gravy. Make this delicious dish for your next celebration and witness the power of its excellence. While this restaurant-style Paneer Pasanda recipe is time-consuming, it is absolutely worth the hassle.
About Paneer Pasanda
Paneer pasanda is a rich and delicious dish of shallow fried stuffed paneer sandwiches in a smooth, creamy onion-tomato based gravy.
If you have ever wanted to try making this delicious dish, you may have been put off by the extensive preparation. I don’t blame you!
But while paneer pasanda recipe is not for everyday cooking, it is a wonderful dish to serve for special occasions.
It doesn’t hurt that making this dish with friends or family is both fun AND greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to make.
If you’re craving the flavors of this stuffed paneer delicacy but don’t have the time or patience to make it, you can simply fry the paneer without stuffing it first.
For an even simpler version of this recipe, feel free to use store bought fried onions for the paste. Just note that the flavor and quality of fresh ingredients is basically always going to be superior to store bought.
While this recipe is already a restaurant-style version of paneer pasanda, you can further develop the flavors by employing the dhungar method.
For photos and step-by-step instructions on how to create the smoky perfumed flavor of dhungar cooking, please refer to my Dal Makhani post.
How to Make Paneer Pasanda
While this restaurant-style paneer takes awhile to make, the steps are quite simple to execute. First, start by preparing the ingredients for your gravy.
Make Onion and Tomato-Cashew Paste
1. In a frying pan or kadai (wok) or a saucepan, take the following ingredients:
- 1.75 cups roughly chopped tomatoes
- 10 to 12 cashews, halved or roughly chopped
- ½ inch cinnamon stick
- 2 green cardamoms
- 2 single thin strands of mace (optional)
- 2 cloves
- 1 cup water
2. On a low to medium heat, stir and simmer this mixture till the tomatoes soften.
3. When the tomatoes soften, switch off the heat. Some stock will be left in the pan; we will use it while blending or grinding the tomatoes.
Let this mixture cool enough to handle before you blend or grind.
4. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan and add 1 heaping cup of chopped onions.
Tip: To cut back on dishes, feel free to move the tomato mix to a small bowl to cool and re-use the same pan.
5. Stir and sauté the onions on a low to medium-low heat. Add a pinch of salt for the onions to brown faster.
6. Once the onions become light golden, switch off the heat. Let the onions cool.
Tip: Don’t brown the onions too much, or you’ll risk the gravy becoming bitter.
7. Add the cooled fried onions to a high-speed blender or grinder jar. Add 4 to 5 tablespoons water.
8. Blend or grind the sautéed onions to a fine, smooth paste and set aside.
9. In the same blender or grinder, add the cooked and cooled tomato-cashew-spice mixture along with the stock from the pan.
There is no need to add any extra water while blending or grinding.
10. Grind to a smooth and fine consistency. There should be no cashew chunks or small bit and pieces in the paste. Set this paste aside.
Make Paneer Sandwich Stuffing
11. In a bowl or plate, take the ingredients listed below:
- 2 to 2.5 tablespoons finely crumbled or grated paneer (you can substitute grated processed cheese or cheddar cheese instead of paneer)
- 1 tablespoon raisins, chopped
- 6 to 8 cashews, finely chopped (approximately 2 tablespoons)
- 1 or 2 green chilies, chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
- ½ tablespoon chopped mint leaves
12. Now add the following ground spices:
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or season to taste)
13. Mix everything evenly and keep aside. Check the taste and add more of the spices and salt if required.
Tip: You can make the stuffing more spicy by increasing the amount of green chilies or red chili powder. If you like a bit of tang, add a few drops of lemon juice or sprinkle in some dry mango powder (amchur powder) or dry pomegranate powder (anardana powder).
Assemble and Make Stuffed Paneer Triangles
14. I used a round of homemade paneer for the pasanda and sliced it into triangles, as you would cut a cake. You can also slice them in squares or rectangles.
Tip: For neater pieces, use a cookie cutter.
15. Separate slices carefully. Add any crumbled bits of paneer that fall off to the stuffing mix.
16. Now hamburger bun slice each triangle into two halves, working gently to keep the paneer from breaking.
17. Repeat with all pieces of the paneer.
18. Now place some of the stuffing on the paneer triangle.
19. Cover it with its top triangular slice gently. Don’t press. One paneer sandwich is ready.
20. Repeat to complete remaining paneer sandwiches
Fry Paneer Sandwiches
21. In a bowl, make a paste of ½ cup cornstarch (known as cornflour in India) with 4 tablespoons water.
Tip: For a healthier version, I suggest to use yellow colored maize flour (makki ka atta) or gram flour (besan). Though note that the sandwiches will be yellow colored and the taste will be different.
You might have to adjust the quantity of water if using these flours. Make a medium consistency paste with them.
22. Dip the paneer sandwich slice in the batter.
23. Turn over and coat from all sides evenly. You can also use a spoon or small tongs to coat the slices. Make sure the stuffing side is also coated with the batter.
If you cannot turn the paneer sandwich in the batter, then use a spoon to pour the batter to cover all surfaces.
24. Place the paneer slices in a pan with 4 tablespoons of medium hot oil for shallow frying.
25. Repeating the above steps #22 and #23, place more paneer triangles in the hot oil.
Be sure to stir the corn starch paste before you coat each new set of paneer triangles, as the corn starch settles down.
26. When the base gets some golden specks or edges, then turn over and continue to shallow fry.
If you have batter coated the paneer triangles evenly and also coated the filling sides, the filling mixture won’t fall in the oil, while frying. It will be sealed inside.
Note: You can also deep fry these paneer sandwiches if you prefer.
27. I fried from all sides to ensure that the cornstarch coating was well cooked. If you don’t want to deal with this process, then just add enough oil to the pan so that it reaches halfway up the sides of your sandwiches and flip once.
28. Drain the fried paneer sandwiches on paper towels to remove any excess oil. Keep aside.
Make Paneer Pasanda Gravy
29. In the same pan as you cooked the tomatoes, add 1 to 1.5 tablespoons oil.
Tip: Cut back on waste by using the same oil in which the paneer sandwiches were fried.
Add 1 tej patta and ½ teaspoon shahi jeera (caraway seeds). Fry till the shahi jeera crackles. Substitute jeera (cumin seeds) if shahi jeera is not there.
30. Add 1 to 1.5 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste.
31. Stir and sauté on low heat for a few seconds till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
32. Now add the tomato-cashew-spice paste. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on a low to medium heat.
33. Stir and then add the fried onion paste.
34. Mix very well to combine and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes on a low to medium heat.
35. Add the below listed spices to the curry base:
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder or deghi mirch
Mix and stir very well.
36. Then add 1 cup water.
37. Stir and mix again until the mixture is even.
38. Simmer gravy on a low heat. if the gravy splutters a lot, then cover the pan with a lid.
39. Simmer the gravy till you see some oil specks on the top. The gravy will also thicken. This takes about 4 to 5 minutes on a low to medium heat. Taste and add salt as required.
40. Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar (or to taste).
41. Stir and then add the following ingredients:
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 teaspoon crushed dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), crushed
- 2 tablespoons light cream or low fat cream (I used the Indian brand of Amul cream)
Note: If you don’t have cream, then omit it. The gravy will still taste good.
42. Stir till the cream is mixed evenly with the rest of the gravy. Switch off the heat. Check the taste and add more of the salt or sugar if required as per your taste.
43. Now you can place the paneer triangles or pasanda in the gravy. Or else you can place them in a serving tray or plate and pour the gravy from top as shown in the final photos.
44. Coat the Paneer Pasanda in the gravy.
Unfortunately, I don’t advise freezing the paneer sandwiches for this dish as the cornstarch coating will become dense and chewy. That said, you can make some headway on your preparations.
You can either:
– make both the onion paste and tomato-cashew paste and freeze them, or
– make the gravy and freeze it. Just don’t add dry fenugreek leaves, garam masala and cream. On the day of cooking, heat the gravy in a pan. If necessary, feel free to add bit of water. Allow it to come to a gentle simmer, then add dry fenugreek leaves, garam masala and cream.
If corn is not a part of your diet, feel free to swap in gram flour or chickpea flour, rice flour or potato flour. Note that with any of these flours, the flavor of the pasanda will change.
While cashews are my preferred nut for this recipe, you can easily substitute almonds instead.
You may have overcooked the paneer, and it might have something to do with the quality of paneer that you are using. For best results, I suggest using Homemade Paneer whenever possible.
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 Pasanda (Restaurant Style Recipe)
For paneer sandwiches
- 250 grams Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) – one block or square
- 2 to 2.5 tablespoon grated paneer – can substitute grated cheddar cheese or processed cheese instead of paneer
- 1 tablespoon raisins – chopped
- 6 to 8 cashews – finely chopped or 2 tablespoons finely chopped cashews
- 1 or 2 green chilies chopped, or about 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies
- 1 tablespoon coriander leaves – chopped, (cilantro)
- ½ tablespoon mint leaves – chopped
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenner
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder (ground cumin)
- ¼ teaspoon salt or add as required
- 4 tablespoon oil or add as needed, for frying
For cornstarch paste
- ½ cup cornstarch – called cornflour in India
- 4 tablespoon water
For Onion paste
- 2 onions medium to large – 150 grams or 1 cup heaped chopped onions
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 4 to 5 tablespoon water to blend the sautéed onions. add more water if needed.
For Tomato paste
- 3 tomatoes medium to large – 250 grams or 1.75 cups roughly chopped tomatoes
- 10 to 12 cashews – halved or roughly chopped
- ½ inch cinnamon
- 2 green cardamoms
- 2 single thin strands of mace
- 2 cloves
- 1 cup water – for cooking tomatoes
For making paneer pasanda gravy
- 1 to 1.5 tablespoon oil or the fried oil in which the paneer triangles were fried
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (shahi jeera) – substitute cumin (jeera) if shahi jeera is not available
- 1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)
- ½ inch ginger + 3 to 4 garlic – crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle or 1 to 1.5 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (adrak lahsun ka paste)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
- ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar or as per taste
- 1 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), crushed
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoon light cream or low-fat cream with 25% to 35% fat
- 2 tablespoon coriander leave (cilantro) – chopped, for garnish
- salt as required
Making tomato paste
- In a frying pan or kadai take the 1.75 cups roughly chopped tomatoes, 10 to 12 cashews, ½ inch cinnamon, 2 green cardamoms, 2 single thin strands of mace, 2 cloves and 1 cup water.
- On a low to medium heat, stir and simmer this mixture till the tomatoes soften.
- When the tomatoes soften, switch off the heat. Some stock will remain in the pan and we will use it while blending the tomatoes. Let this mixture become warm or cool down completely before you grind.
- Add the cooked tomatoes-cashews-spices mixture together with the stock in a blender or mixer-grinder. No need to add any extra water while blending or grinding.
- Grind to a smooth and fine paste. There should be no cashew chunks or pieces in the paste. Keep this tomato-cashews paste aside.
Making onion paste
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan and add 1 cup heaped chopped onions.
- Stir and saute the onions on a low heat. Add a pinch of salt for the onions to brown faster.
- Once the onions turn to light golden, switch off the heat. Let the onions cool.
- Now in a blender or grinder, transfer the sautéed caramelized onions. Add 4 to 5 tablespoons of water or as needed.
- Blend or grind the fried onions to a fine and smooth paste. Keep this onion paste aside.
Assembling and stuffing paneer sandwiches
- In a bowl or plate, take the 2 to 2.5 tablespoons of grated paneer, 1 tablespoon raisins (chopped), 2 tablespoons finely chopped cashews, 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies, 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves and ½ tablespoon chopped mint leaves.
- Now add ¼ teaspoon red chili powder, ½ teaspoon cumin powder and ¼ teaspoon salt or add as required.
- Mix everything evenly and set aside.
- Slice the paneer gently in triangles. Now slice each triangle into two halves gently.
- Now place some of the stuffing on one paneer triangle halve.
- Cover it with its top halve gently. Don't press. One paneer sandwich is ready.
- Make all paneer sandwiches stuffed with the filling this way.
Frying paneer sandwiches
- In a bowl, make a paste of ½ cup corn starch with 4 tablespoons of water.
- Dip the paneer sandwich slice in the batter.
- Turn over and coat from all sides. You can also use a spoon or small tongs to coat the slices. Ensure that all the sides are evenly coated and the filling side should be also coated with the batter.
- Place the paneer slices in a medium hot oil for shallow frying.
- Dip each paneer sandwich triangle this way and then place more paneer triangles in the hot oil. Do stir the corn starch paste before you coat the paneer triangles with it as the cornstarch settles down at the bottom of the bowl.
- When the base is golden, turn over and continue to shallow fry until the second side is golden. You can also deep fry these paneer triangles.
- Remember not to overdo the frying as this may cause the paneer to become chewy, dry and dense.
- Now place the fried paneer sandwiches on kitchen paper towels. Keep aside.
Making paneer pasanda gravy
- In the same pan, in which we cooked the tomatoes, add 1 to 1.5 tablespoon oil. Add 1 tej patta and ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (shahi jeera).
- Fry till the shahi jeera crackles. Substitute cumin seeds (jeera) if out of caraway seeds.
- Add 1 to 1.5 teaspoon of ginger garlic paste.
- Stir and saute on low heat for a few seconds till raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
- Now add the tomato-cashew-spice paste. Stir and saute for 3 to 4 minutes on a low to medium heat.
- Stir and then add the fried onion paste. Stir very well and saute for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon coriander powder and ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder. Stir and mix very well.
- Then add 1 cup water. Stir again to combine.
- Simmer paneer pasanda gravy on a low heat.
- If the gravy splutters a lot, then cover the pan with a lid.
- Simmer the paneer pasanda gravy till you see some oil specks on the top. The gravy will also thicken. About 4 to 5 minutes on a low to medium flame.
- Then add salt as required.
- Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar or as required.
- Stir to mix and then add ¼ teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), crushed and 2 tablespoons light cream or low fat cream.
- Stir till the cream is mixed evenly with the rest of the paneer pasanda gravy.
- Now you can place the paneer triangles or pasanda in the gravy. Coat the paneer pasanda gently in the gravy.You could also opt to place them in a serving tray or plate and pour the gravy from top.
- Serve Paneer Pasanda hot garnished with some chopped coriander leaves. Best accompaniments with paneer pasanda are naan, tandoori roti, chapati, lachcha paratha, malabar paratha and jeera rice or veg pulao.
- Skip cream if you do not have it. Instead of light cream add ½ tablespoon of heavy cream.
- Make sure to use tomatoes which are sweet-sour to taste. Do not use tomatoes which are overly sour or tangy as this will result in a more tangy taste in the gravy.
- Use fresh paneer as it is one of the hero ingredient. Ensure the paneer is not rancid or tasting sour.
- For a vegan option substitute paneer with tofu and skip the cream. You can also use coconut cream instead.
- If you do not prefer cornstarch, feel free to swap in gram flour or chickpea flour, rice flour, tapioca starch or potato flour.
- No cashews? You can easily substitute almonds instead. Make sure to blanch them in hot water for 30 minutes and peel them.
- To Make Ahead, you can either make both the onion paste and tomato-cashew paste and freeze them. Or else make the gravy and freeze it. Just don’t add kasuri methi, garam masala and cream. On the day of cooking, heat the gravy in a pan. If necessary, feel free to add bit of water. Allow it to come to a gentle simmer, then add kasuri methi, garam masala and cream.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Paneer Pasanda recipe from the blog archives first published in March 2015 has been updated and republished on December 2022.