Tawa Paneer is a spicy, tangy, flavorful dish that will delight your taste buds. Made with succulent paneer in a delicious base of onions, tomatoes, capsicum and spices, this semi-dry paneer tawa masala comes together in 30 minutes for an easy week dinner.
Table of Contents
What is Tawa Paneer
Tawa paneer is a popular dish served in many Indian restaurants made in a gravy base with soft paneer cubes. As the name implies, the entire recipe is cooked on a tawa or tava – which is a flat or concave-shaped round pan; an essential piece of utensil in any Indian kitchen.
It is used for pan-frying as well as roasting. We make our staple Indian flatbreads like roti and paratha on tawa. Not to forget the classic dosa or chilla (gram flour crepes), and various pancakes are also cooked on this humble pan.
Tawa is also used to shallow fry or pan-fry snacks like aloo tikki, vegetable cutlet and for dry roasting spices, nuts and seeds.
About This Recipe
This Tawa Paneer recipe has soft, tender paneer cubes cooked in a tangy, onion-tomato masala with capsicum and spices. I have made a puree from the tomatoes. However, you can just finely chop them and add to the gravy sauce.
It is one of the easiest and quick paneer recipe you can prepare. This semi-dry curry can be cooked in less than 30 minutes.
As it is a breeze to make this flavorsome dish, consider cooking it when you have unexpected guests at home or you want to cook something easy for dinner.
Do not worry, if you don’t have a tawa. Swap it with a frying pan or a medium-sized skillet. If you do use a tawa, then make sure to use a medium-sized or a large tawa, so that the ingredients do not spill from the sides while cooking.
When really short of time, serve tawa paneer with wheat bread or brown bread or pav or any bread of your choice. You don’t need to make roti or paratha. Of course, you can make these flatbreads, if you have time.
How to make Tawa Paneer Recipe
1. Add the chopped tomatoes (3 medium tomatoes or 180 to 200 grams) in a blender and make a smooth puree. Set aside.
Finely chop 1 large onion (about 100 to 120 grams). Chop 1 medium sized capsicum (about 80 to 100 grams).
Chop 1 green chili and you should get about ½ teaspoon of chopped green chillies.
Crush 1 inch ginger and 4 to 5 small to medium garlic cloves in a mortar-pestle to a paste. Also chop 200 to 250 grams paneer in small cubes.
2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter on a tawa or skillet or frying pan. You can use salted or unsalted butter.
3. Add ½ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain) and fry them for a few seconds or till aromatic on a low to medium-low heat.
4. Then add the finely chopped onions and sauté stirring often till they soften and turn translucent.
5. Then add the following listed ingredients and sauté for about 3 minutes on a low to medium-low heat.
- 2 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste (1 inch ginger + 4 to 5 medium garlic crushed in a mortar pestle)
- 1 chopped green chili (about ½ teaspoon)
- 1 medium-sized finely chopped capsicum/green bell pepper – about 80 to 100 grams. You can use any colored bell pepper.
6. Then add the ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder and 1 teaspoon pav bhaji masala. Stir and saute for about a minute.
If you don’t have pav bhaji masala, then add ½ teaspoon garam masala + ½ teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder).
Sauté Tawa Masala
7. Add the prepared tomato puree and mix well. You can swap the tomato puree with finely chopped tomatoes or add about 1 cup of canned tomato puree.
8. Season with salt as required and saute with stirring at intervals.
9. Saute till you see butter releasing from the sides and the masala has thickened a bit. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes on low heat.
If the tomato masala looks dry, then add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water and continue to sauté.
Make Tawa Paneer
10. Add the paneer cubes (200 to 250 grams) and stir well, so that the masala coats the paneer cubes evenly.
11. Switch off the heat. Add ½ teaspoon crushed dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi). Mix gently.
12. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve paneer tawa masala with roti, naan or bread or dinner rolls (pav).
Accompany a few wedges of lemon slices which can be drizzled on the tawa paneer and a side onion salad. You can also pair this dish as a side with any Indian mains.
- Use homemade paneer for the best results. If using packaged paneer follow the instructions mentioned on the pack.
- Since tomatoes form a major chunk of the gravy, include ripe and sweet tasting tomatoes. Avoid tomatoes that are too sour or tangy.
- For a richer version of paneer tawa masala add 1 to 2 tablespoons of light cream or cooking cream when you add the dried fenugreek leaves. Combine gently to mix.
- Skip the dry fenugreek leaves if you don’t have them.
- Easily swap carom seeds with cumin seeds.
- For a vegan option, use unripe cooked jackfruit, seitan, tofu or tempeh.
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Tawa Paneer Recipe
- 200 to 250 grams Paneer (cottage cheese)
- 1 onion large, finely chopped – 100 to 120 grams
- 1 capsicum medium-sized – 80 to 100 grams green bell pepper
- 3 tomatoes medium-sized, chopped – 180 to 200 grams
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves small to medium-sized
- 1 inch ginger
- ½ teaspoon chopped green chilies or 1 green chili
- ½ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder (ground coriander)
- ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder or paprika or cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- 1 teaspoon Pav Bhaji Masala or swap with ½ teaspoon garam masala + ½ teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder)
- 2 tablespoons Butter – salted or unsalted
- ½ teaspoon crushed dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
- salt as required
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves – for garnish
- 2 to 3 lemon wedges – to serve with
- Finely chop the onions and capsicum or green bell pepper.
- Roughly chop the tomatoes, green chili, ginger and garlic.
- Crush the ginger and garlic in a mortar-pestle to a paste.
- Add the chopped tomatoes in a blender and make a smooth puree. Set aside.
- Chop the paneer in small cubes.
Making tawa paneer
- Melt butter on a tawa or frying pan or skillet.
- Add the carom seeds and fry them for a few seconds or till aromatic.
- Add the onions and saute stirring often till they soften and turn translucent.
- Add the ginger-garlic paste, green chilies, finely chopped capsicum/green bell pepper and saute for about 3 minutes on a low to medium-low heat.
- Then add the red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and pav bhaji masala. If you don't have pav bhaji masala, then swap it with garam masala powder + dry mango powder.
- Stir and saute for about a minute.
- Then add the tomato puree and salt as needed.
- Stir well and saute till you see butter releasing from the sides and the masala has thickened a bit. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes on a low heat.
- If the tomato masala looks dry, then add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water and continue to saute.
- Add the paneer cubes and mix gently so that the masala coats the paneer cubes evenly. Switch off the heat.
- Then add the crushed dry fenugreek leaves and mix gently.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and serve paneer tawa masala with roti, naan, paratha or bread. Accompany with a few wedges of lemon slices which can be drizzled on the tawa paneer and a side onion salad.
- If you plan to scale the recipe, then add the ground spices in approximation. This recipe will need an experienced cook to scale it.
- Use soft homemade paneer for best taste.
- Avoid using overly sour or unripe tomatoes.
- Skip dry fenugreek leaves if you don’t have it.
- Swap carom seeds with cumin seeds.
Nutrition Info Approximate values
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This Tawa Paneer recipe post from the archives (April 2014) has been republished and updated on 10 June 2021.