Paneer Tikka Masala is the king of vegetarian dishes in the north-Indian cuisine. It’s hard to find an Indian restaurant around the world, which doesn’t feature this or a variation of this classic. As the name suggests, it is the vegetarian alternative to ‘Chicken Tikka Masala‘, only more delicious!!
There are many variations of this recipe. Dishes like Butter Paneer, Paneer Makhani, Paneer Pasanda, Paneer Lababdar and so on are all variations of this recipe.
This popular Punjabi delicacy is made by simmering paneer cubes (Indian cottage cheese), in a tomato puree and onion gravy with aromatic garam masala, and is finished by adding heavy cream to give it that velvety smooth texture. Some restaurants go an extra step and marinate and grill the paneer cubes. Having eaten and made this dish all my life, I personally prefer when the paneer cubes are added as-is, they absorb the tikka masala flavors and the dish comes together like a match made in food heaven!
This is such an easy dish to make, perfect for treating yourself on a weeknight too! I have made this recipe in my electric pressure cooker- the Instant Pot, but Paneer Tikka masala can be made on the stove-top too. Simply follow all steps and simmer the gravy on medium heat for 20 minutes covered. Blend the gravy in to a smooth texture, add paneer and simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Ready to serve! Paneer Tikka masala goes best with Naan or Jeera Rice.
For a dairy free version, substitute butter with olive oil, heavy cream with full-fat coconut cream and paneer cubes with extra-firm tofu!
If you like this recipe, please share it with your family & friends, and don’t forget to subscribe to GMK to get all latest recipes and tips! Your support keeps this blog going!
Prep: Chop onions, crush ginger-garlic, puree tomatoes, cube paneer.
Turn on Instant Pot on sauté. Wait 30seconds and add butter. Add onions and sauté one minute. Add ginger-garlic paste, sauté 30 seconds.
Add tomato puree, 1/4 cup water and all spices. Stir well. Add kasoori methi and half of the heavy cream, 1/4 cup. Save the remaining 1/4 cup for later. Stir. Close lid. Set valve to "sealing'. Cook on Manual (high) for 3 minutes, Natural Pressure Release (NPR) for 5 minutes.
Open lid. Using a hand blender or a blender jar, blend the curry into a smooth texture. Turn on sauté. Add paneer cubes, the remaining heavy cream and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with Naan or Jeera rice.
Bringing best of both worlds together in a pot- Quinoa Vegetable Biryani!
Quinoa is the perhaps the most popular super food of this decade. It’s a seed (not a grain), which is gluten-free, high in protein, fiber, amino acids and a lot more. Biryani, on the other hand, is an Indian Rice dish, where aromatic basmati rice is cooked with marinated meat or vegetables.
As a family, we have been trying to make better food choices and make our meals more balanced and healthier. With the focus on increasing protein and lowering carbs, I have been experimenting with my family’s favorite biryani recipes. Over the last year or so, we have been substituting Quinoa for rice in many dishes. Even though the total carbs in Quinoa per cup, may look almost the same as that in a cup of rice, it is still a better and healthier choice. Quinoa is high in fiber, which brings the net carb (total carbs minus fiber) count down. The high fiber content means we feel satisfied or full in a lesser quantity of quinoa vs rice. Also, since it is high in protein, it slows down the process of carb absorption in the body vs. rice, which gets processed as a simple carbohydrate.
Even though our love for the classic biryani stands intact, this dish is my effort to introduce a healthier Biryani recipe in my family, so that we can enjoy is more often, and the result is simply delicious. It’s quick to make, cooks at lightning speed in my Instant Pot, so a big one-pot weeknight hit in my family! It’s easily customizable, you can add your choice of vegetables, add paneer to it to bump up the protein (I always do that). You can add shrimp to it and make a Shrimp Quinoa Biryani, or add diced chicken pieces, increase the cooking time to 4 minutes and make a fantastic Chicken Quinoa Biryani. Try it for yourself!
Prep: Cut assorted vegetables of your choice in bite size pieces. Cube paneer in 1/2 inch pieces. Crush 1/2 inch ginger+ 3 garlic cloves and keep aside (if using fresh).
Turn IP on Sauté. Wait 30 seconds and add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Add almonds and cashews and sauté another 30 seconds.
Add vegetables and paneer, Biryani masala (see 'notes' for substitute for masala blend) and quinoa. Add water and stir well. Top with fried onions, saffron strands and chopped cilantro-mint. Close lid. Valve set to Sealing. Press Manual (hi) for 2 minutes.
After natural pressure release, NPR, open lid. Using a fork, gently fluff the biryani. Serve with raita or your favorite condiment.
If you want your quinoa extra soft, add 1.25 cups of water instead.
Substitute for Biryani Masala: 1 tbsp Garam Masala, 1 tbsp Coriander Powder, 2 tsp Cumin Powder, 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp salt Stove-Top Pressure CookerThis Biryani can also be made in any stove-top pressure cooker- Follow all instructions and continue to cook for 2 minutes 'after' your pressure cooker reaches high-pressure. When done, let the pressure release naturally.
This dish brings together the best of both worlds- Achaari Paneer and Biryani. Achaari paneer is a popular Indian vegetarian dish where paneer cubes (Indian cottage cheese), are cooked with pickling spices, giving the dish a subtle pickle-like zing. Biryani, on the other hand is flavorful rice cooked with spiced meat or vegetables. In this dish, I merged these two favorites and created Achaari Paneer Biryani!
This dish is milder than your average vegetable biryani, so if you want to bump up the spice level, increase the garam masala and by another teaspoon. This quick and easy, super delicious meal has become one of our weeknight staples! Add more vegetables to it, like carrots, beans, potato, and you have yourself a delicious Vegetable & Paneer Biryani! This biryani can be enjoyed with raita (yoghurt dip), or with a quick onion relish made by mixing together sliced onions, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and cayenne!
In this video, I’ve made this Biryani in my 3 Qt Instant Pot, but it can be made in any pressure cooker, or on the stove-top too. Check out Notes section, for stove-top details.
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or juice of 1/2 a lime
1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
INSTANT ONION PICKLE: (Optional)
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Prep: Slice onion and bell pepper, cube paneer and keep aside. Rinse rice and soak in warm water for 20 minutes.
Turn on Instant pot on SAUTE. When hot, add oil. Add panch phoran seeds and sauté for 30 seconds. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add chopped tomatoes followed by all dry spices and stir. Add onion, bell pepper and vinegar. Stir and sauté for 1 minute. Add drained rice, paneer, water and stir well. Close lid. Vent set to SEALING. Cook on MANUAL for 6 minutes.
Open lid after natural pressure release (NPR), fluff rice gently with a fork. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.
Instant Onion Pickle: Mix together all ingredients under "Instant Onion Pickle". Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Ready to serve!
STOVE TOP: In a deep sauce pan or a wide skillet, follow all instructions. Add 1.5 cups water and cook covered for 8 minutes on medium heat.
Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian Punjabi curry made by cooking soft paneer (Indian cottage cheese), in a healthy and tasty spinach gravy. It is rich in flavor and is a staple in all Indian restaurants. This is my mom’s world famous recipe (which means it’s wicked good!).
If paneer is not your thing, it can easily be swapped out with Tofu or even chicken. If using chicken, use boneless, and cut into bite-size pieces and add it to the pot in step 1, before closing the lid. When done, wait for 5 minutes and release the pressure. Remove after pressure cooking and then add the spinach. Continue with the rest of the instructions. Enjoy it with Zeera rice (Cumin rice) or Naan. Another quick ‘n’ easy 30-minute wonder from my family to yours!
I made this recipe in my Instant Pot 6 Qt, but it can be made on a stove-top too. Check out “Stove-top” instructions in the Notes section.
1/4 teaspoon amchur (dry mango powder) or 1 teaspoon lemon juice at the end
1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon butter (optional)
Turn on the Instant Pot on SAUTE. Wait 30 seconds for it to heat up. Add oil and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Add sliced onion and green chili, and sauté for a minute. Add tomatoes, sauté for 30 seconds. Add salt and dry spices and stir well. Add 1/2 cup water and stir. Close the lid. Set pressure valve to SEALING. Cook on MANUAL for 3 minutes.
Release the pressure immediately (QR). Turn on SAUTE. Add 1/2 bag of baby spinach and stir to wilt. add the remaining bag and cook till spinach leaves soften, around 2 minutes. Turn off IP. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the spinach mix. I prefer to use the food processor to avoid splatters of spinach.
Pour the spinach puree back in IP. Turn on SAUTE. Add paneer cubes and stir for 30 seconds- 1 minute, till paneer cubes become soft. Turn IP off. Stir in sugar and butter, this brings the dish to life and gives it a shine. Serve hot with zeera rice or naan. Enjoy!
STOVE-TOP: Cook this in a deep sauce pan since spinach tends to splash. Following the same instructions, cook the onions and tomato mix for 10 minutes on medium heat, covered. Follow the recipe instructions.