Paneer Mughlai / Indian Cottage Cheese in a Rich Curry made with Nuts (with Vegan Options)
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Mughlai is a cuisine which developed in India but was majorly influenced by Persian and Afghani style of cooking. Mughals traveled to India in 16th century for trade and commerce initially but later they conquered and ruled Northern parts of India for almost 2 centuries. Not to say, the food, language and culture was so intricately imbibed in the North Indian life style that it is very evident till now, rather should I say, it’s one.
Let’s learn a word from Urdu today, TEHZEEB, pronounced as ‘teh-zeeb’, which is mainly the value system. For example, a kid who behaves kindly and politely, would be appreciated as “This is his Tehzeeb (values), that he is so kind and polite”. Okay! So much for the word learning today :).
Mughlai cuisine is quintessentially a very rich cuisine. Lots of nuts and dry fruits are used along worth milk, cream, butter and saffron. Freshly ground spices are used to give it an unmatchable aroma. If you know me, I always like to simplify the recipes for everybody’s use. I read quite a lot of recipes and then concluded mine but carefully. This is the simplest you can enjoy and believe me not difficult at all! Will soon post another type of bread that can be used with it called Lachcha Parantha.
It is creamy. It is rich. And the good news is that it can totally be made Vegan for my dear vegan friends :). I am going to mention the vegan options along side under the ingredients.
Let’s get started now. All set?
Oil : 1 tbsp
Poppy seeds : 1 tbsp, soaked overnight in 1tbsp of water
Cashews : 2 tbsp, soaked overnight in 2 tbsp of water
Almonds : 2 tbsp soaked overnight in 2 tbsp of water and then peeled
Paneer : 400 gms, cut in small triangles or thin cubes/layers. Use Extra firm Tofu. Home made paneer which is Indian cottage cheese, the recipe is here
Onion : 1 small or 1/2 cup
Ginger : 1 small head
Garlic : 3 pods
Sugar : 1/2 tsp
Saffron : 4-5 strands soaked in 1 tbsp milk, use plant based like soy or almond, don’t worry if you don’t have any. You can skip it if you want.
Milk low fat : 1 cup. Use soy or Almond milk, unsweetened if going for vegan choice.
Cinnamon stick : 1 small
Star Anise : 1, optional. Adds nice aroma and flavor or use 2-3 green cardamom pods
Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder :1/2 tsp
Garam Masala : 1&1/2 tsp. For home made spice mix, click here
Salt : to taste
Kasoori Methi : 1/2 tsp, crushed (optional)
Water : 1 cup
Kitchen Equipment Required : Blender and Grinder, cooking pan
Step 1 :
Take your grinder. Add soaked poppy seeds, cashews and peeled almonds. Make a paste with 1/4 cup water.
Step 2 :
Take your blender. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Make a paste out of it with 1/4 cup water.
Step 3 :
Prepping the Paneer/Tofu : Pan grill the paneer slices, lightly with almost no oil OR bake them in preheated oven at 375*f for about 8-10 minutes, turning them mid way for even cooking. Make sure, they are not hard but just slightly done.
Step 4 :
Cooking the Curry
Heat oil in pan. Add cinnamon stick and star anise or cardamom if you are using it. Stir for few seconds. Now add onion paste to the hot oil. Bring the heat to lower medium, and cook the onion paste till slightly brown.
Add the nuts paste to the browned onion paste. Top with sugar, garam masala, turmeric, red chili powder now.
Add milk or plant based milk now along with salt. Add the soaked saffron too. Stir well. Get a quick lick form the side and adjust the seasonings and spices as in garam masala or salt or red chili powder at this point, to your personal taste. Some like it mild and some like it hot. Add water. Cover and cook the curry for 10 minutes till the flavors come together. It might look runny at this moment but the cooking will thicken it since nuts soak up a lot of water.
Now add prepared Paneer pieces or Tofu pieces. Gently mix the curry and paneer/tofu pieces together. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes more.
You will see the curry is coming together and that’s it :).
Few other Options besides Paneer : you may use grilled baby potatoes, pan grilled or oven baked Cauliflower, mixed vegetables, any kind of koftas or kebabs and even boiled eggs.
Some accompaniment suggestions : this can be eaten with Jeera rice , Naan or any kind of bread.
This is my treat to all the party people this weekend at Angie’s Fiesta Friday. Hope to see some old buddies and some new warm souls tonight at Angie’s.
Because of this post, I was inspired to make some paneer. It turned out better than ever. It has been sitting in my fridge waiting for me to make this recipe, which I have done this evening. It is really quite a straightforward recipe – the spices give it a complexity with little effort. I made a couple of minor changes, but it turned out really well. I just added a few scapes on top of the sauce in the last few minutes for a green side dish. Thanks so much for this recipe. I will make it again.
I am so glad Hilda that it worked for you :)… I am so happy that you not only tried the Paneer Mughlai but made paneer also at home. Hats off to you sister :).
I just love paneer, and this sauce looks so wonderfully silky.
Hi honey, I’m planning to give this a go with some roasted cauliflower I’ve got to use up. I don’t have Poppy seeds, will it make a difference?
Not really Elaine ! Cashews and almonds make good thick paste by themselves!
Okay, cool 🙂 thank you xx
I’ve yet to cook curry with milk or paneer. The latter I won’t be able to find here. So I might have to make it!
The expert you are, Johnny it would be easy peasy for you. It’s so similar to making ricotta!
Sonal, thank you for sharing this incredible looking dish! I can just imagine the wonderful aromas and flavors that come out as it is being made.
I baked a bread yesterday which came out good! Will post tomorrow! And would need your comments or criticism…anything!!
Seems delicious. Lets see if my cooking-maniac wife can make this one.
This is really easy Shabab! And sine she is proficient in the kitchen, she can surely make it better than me :).
Wow this looks so tasty! I love how you made a vegan option 🙂
I am glad that you liked it :).
rich and delicious.
That it was 🙂
This looks delicious. Thank you so much for the vegan options!
Pleasure is all mine 🙂
Looks delicious. Thinking about it I don’t think I’ve ever had paneer, which even just saying it sounds ludicrous! I will have to go remedy that as soon as possible 🙂
Let me know if the remedy was of any cure ;). Thanks for stopping by :).
I thought we agreed that you were to open an Indian bistro with an attached art gallery? And this dish should be on the daily special, every day! I’m not familiar with Mughlai cuisine, but if this is representative of it, then I’m sold! Thanks for teaching us about tehzeeb! 🙂
Angie :)). Just for you : chicken and lamb(marinated and grilled) goes very well in this curry too!
Sonal, this paneer mughlai looks delicious. So many spices and delicious ingredients. I also liked learning the Urdu word Tehzeeb today. Thanks!
The pleasure is all mine Ngan :). Your presence makes me happy everytime :).
This looks fabulously rich and delicious! 🙂
Josette, it was quite heavy…..has left overs since a little bit goes far :).
leftovers are the best 🙂
I love the history and the recipe, I will be trying this with vegetables. The nut paste sounds great xx
Elaine try your favorite roasted cauliflower and potatoes in this curry! You will like it :).
Ooh, great idea, thank you x
Sonal, there is something magical about your posts, because I can actually smell the gorgeous fragrances of your recipes coming through my computer!! This perfume of this beautiful recipe is making my head spin! 🙂
Awwww chef! Hugs, you totally made my day :))).
You never cease to amaze me, Sonal 🙂 I’m a fan of Indian cuisine and these look so tempting!
Thanks dear girl :).
This dish may be delicious and good for younger people but is a no no for diabetics and people with heart problems. But we can at least taste it
Arvind ji, my posts are mostly very healthy but once in a while I cook for indulgence. As you said,if you can’t have the whole bowl, you can have a small bite at least :). You may cook it by skipping poppy seeds and cashews also but won’t taste same.
I was waiting for the recipe since you first posted the pics, Sonal; and here it is finally. 🙂 it looks so creamy and delicious. As for your “get a quick lick from the side”, my problem is that I keep slurping and soon the gravy will be over….. 🙁 🙂 🙂
The good news is Aruna, the gravy is so thick, after licking to your heart’s content, add water and adjust the seasoning and it will bounce back after some more cooking.
I had left overs that we are for 2 days. A little bit goes at since of the richness.
Everytime I heated it, I had to add water and adjust salt n garam masala and it was good quantity again ;).
Gotta love paneer in any form. This looks so tempting, Sonal. The pictures tell how rich & flavorful it is.
It was veryyyyy rich Aditi :). No more heavy stuff for a while now 🙂
What a delicious looking dish! I’ve heard of mughal cuisine, but did not know where the term comes from, thank you for the explanation!
You are most welcome 🙂
After my trip to India I had 1 class from a Indian lady who has been living in Italy for many years… It has been amazing. She taught me how to do paneer with a spinach sauce… it was so good that I’ve organized several dinners making that dish. Now, thanks to you, I have a new recipe in order to prepare and use paneer! I’m sure is amazing! thank you very much and have a great we!
There are lot more Paneer recipes on my blog BTW ;).
Looks delicious…and I greatly appreciate the education you’re providing in the posts 🙂 I am learning so much about Indian cuisine and it’s variations…thank you!
I am glad that you liked it Nancy :).
Your posts are both delicious and informational, Sonal! I always learn so much from you!
And I always learn something from you :). You are a good person Patty and that’s why see good in others :).
That’s so nice of you to say, Sonal! Happy Friday to you!
yummy! I like your idea of introducing a new word that goes with the cuisine.
now, that makes it 2! 🙂
Thanks Anju! You are awesome :).