This is a fragrant and lightly spiced paneer pulao made with freshly ground pulao masala which really brings in a lot of flavor and aroma in the recipe.
For the pulao masala
(shahi jeera) - optional
- seeds removed and husks discarded - optional
2 to 3
- kept whole or seeds removed
2 to 3
single strand of mace
a small piece of stone flower
(rock flower or pathar phool or dagad phool or kalpasi) - optional
For paneer pulao
or pulao rice
250 to 300
(Indian cottage cheese)
medium to large onion,
or oil for the pulao
2 to 3
or oil for pan frying the paneer
3 to 3.25
ginger + 2 to 3 garlic cloves + 1 green chilli
- crushed in a mortar-pestle to a paste
(indian bay leaf)
1 to 1.25
1.5 to 2
chopped mint leaves
salt as required
Making the pulao masala
In a small dry grinder or coffee grinder, add all the spices mentioned: "
For the pulao masala
Grind to a semi fine to fine powder. Keep aside.
Rinse the basmati rice till the water becomes clear of the starch.
Soaked the basmati rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes. After 20 to 30 minutes drain and keep the rice aside.
Slice the onions thinly. Chop the mint leaves and keep aside.
Crush the ginger, garlic and green chilli to a paste in a mortar-pestle.
Heat ghee or oil in a pot or a pan. Add the bay leaf and saute for 2 to 3 seconds.
Then add the thinly sliced onions and saute till the onions start to turn golden brown or caramelize.
Then add the ginger, garlic and green chilli paste. Saute till the raw aroma of ginger garlic goes away. (on a low heat, it will take approx 10 to 15 seconds).
Add the chopped mint leaves and the ground pulao masala. Stir for 5 to 8 seconds.
Optional step - if you are adding peas (or other veggies like potatoes, carrots, cauliflower etc) then add now and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the drained rice. Stir gently and saute for a minute. Add water, lemon juice and salt as required.
Stir well. Cover the pan tightly with a lid. Make sure no steam escapes from the sides.
On a low to medium heat, simmer till the rice grains are cooked. If the water dries in the pan then add some more water.
Making paneer pulao
When the rice is cooking, chop the paneer into cubes.
Heat ghee on a tawa or a frying pan or skillet. Use a non-stick pan or a well seasoned tawa/griddle to pan fry the paneer. Otherwise the paneer cubes will stick to the pan.
Add the paneer cubes and pan fry till light golden. Don't over fry as then they will become dense and rubbery. Keep the pan fried paneer cubes aside.
Once the rice is cooked
, tender and all the water has been absorbed then switch off the heat. Allow the rice to sit for 5 minutes.
Then add the pan fried paneer cubes and gently mix it with the rice.
Cover the pan again with a lid and allow the paneer to be in the rice for another 5 minutes.
This makes the paneer soft and it also absorbs the aroma of the pulao.
Serve paneer pulao hot or warm
garnished with some mint leaves and pan fried paneer cubes.
You can serve raita or dal fry or dal tadka with the paneer pulao.
Use fresh and soft homemade paneer or a good brand of packaged paneer.
Try to make this dish with aged basmati rice if possible for a fluffy tender non-sticky texture in the rice. Alternatively, you can also make it with non-sticky long-grained rice.
This is not a spicy recipe. But if you want to make a spicy paneer pulao then increase the amount of green chilies.
Instead of ghee you can use oil.
To make a vegan version swap paneer with tofu and ghee with a neutral flavored oil.
You can opt to add veggies like carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, french beans, green peas (fresh or frozen) and sweet corn.
For pressure cooking paneer pulao:
Add 2.5 cups water for separate grains and for a more soft texture of rice, add 3 cups water.
Pressure cook pulao for 2 to 3 whistles.
full recipe -