Paneer Afghani

// Paneer Afghani Curry is a rich, classic, and flavorful side dish made with paneer, yogurt, cashews, and a green gravy. Perfect side dish.



Paneer Afghani or Afghani Paneer Curry is a rich, classic, and flavorful side dish made with paneer, yogurt, cashews, and a green gravy. This mildly spicy curry is quick and easy-to-make. 

The melt-in-mouth and velvety texture of this curry goes amazingly well with garlic naan, khoba roti, lachha paratha or even steamed rice! 

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a close up of a female holding paneer afghani in a white bowl

Made with some simple ingredients, this inviting and enticing curry is a perfect side dish for any festive celebration or party or get-together.

Plus, it makes a filler side dish for any vegetarian or gluten-free weekend meal. So, it is a wonderful choice for those who are looking for vegetarian and gluten-free meal ideas! 

On this page, you will get a step-by-step picture and video recipe of how to make Paneer Afghani. 

About Paneer Afghani  

Paneer Afghani is an outstanding curry that is known for its rich texture and succulent taste. ‘Paneer Afghani’ is inspired from ‘Chicken Afghani’, a dish originated in Afghanistan.

Chicken Afghani has become quite popular in India, and since most of the Indian population is vegetarian, the restaurants created this vegetarian version of chicken afghani where chicken is replaced by Paneer slices. 

You will find them in restaurant menus with the name of Afghani Paneer or Paneer Afghani. This curry is a delight for paneer curry lovers, and Indian curry lovers.   

It is a creamy, rich, and mouthwatering curry that makes an inviting addition to any meal. This curry is surely comforting, delicious, and filling. The pale green colored gravy is very succulent and full of fresh cilantro flavors.

It not only adds a beautiful color to the dish, but also makes it look as enticing as it tastes. 

paneer afghani served in a white bowl with some salad on the side

This restaurant style Paneer Afghani Curry is prepared using ‘Paneer’ aka ‘Indian cottage cheese’ as a base. Paneer is a soft and creamy cheese that has a bland taste, which makes it an ideal base for absorbing flavors from the delectable and spicy gravy. 

If you love paneer, then you can indulge in the irresistible flavors of Paneer Khurchan. Or you can spice up your taste buds with the delectable Paneer Jalfrezi or discover the mouth-watering blend of aromatic spices and juicy paneer with our Kadai Paneer dish.  

Or you can take your taste glands on a heavenly journey with the classic and creamy Paneer Lababdar. Or experience the burst of flavors with our aromatic Paneer Tikka Masala. Or unleash the authentic taste and creamy flavors of our Paneer Korma

How to Make Paneer Afghani 

In this dish, paneer is marinated and then cooked on a tawa/griddle pan until cooked and charred. It adds a creamy and comforting texture to the dish. Then a green gravy made with onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro, cashew, yogurt, and some essential spices. 

The cooked paneer is then served on the bed of hot green gravy. The appearance and taste of this curry is very inviting, making it an ultimate side dish for a party or finest dinner. You can also prepare this curry for a get-together to enjoy with friends and family. 

It is an excellent dinner option when you want to satisfy your curry cravings. So, next time when you crave for a paneer dish or have a get-together, then make this easy and delicious Afghani Paneer Curry recipe. It would add beautiful color and flavor to your meal. 

Whether you are looking for a flavorsome and outstanding dish that is perfect for any occasion, or just want to try a new paneer recipe, make this Paneer Afghani recipe. It is a perfect side dish for any party or get-together and is sure to be a hit with your guests. 

a close up of paneer afghani in a white bowl with salad on the side

This Paneer Afghani 

✓ is a classic and flavorsome curry 

✓ is loved by all age groups 

✓ that is loved by many 

✓ has lovely green color 

✓ looks inviting and delicious 

✓ has a melt-in-mouth texture 

✓ is perfect for any occasion 

✓ is easy to follow 

✓ is vegetarian and gluten-free 

✓ can also be made vegan 

✓ is easy to customize 

✓ makes a filler meal when served with rice or naan 

✓ is rich in protein 

is suitable for parties and get-togethers 

overhead close up view of paneer afghani in a white bowl

Paneer Afghani Ingredients 

This curry is prepared using a few key ingredients that are behind its distinct flavor and texture. They all are easily available in any Indian Kitchen. Let’s take a closure look at the list of ingredients you’ll need to make this delightful Paneer Afghani Curry: 

  • Paneer: Indian cottage cheese or Paneer is the key ingredient of this curry. Paneer cheese is made by curdling milk with acidic agents such as lemon juice, vinegar, yogurt or buttermilk. This is a soft and creamy cheese that has a mild taste. You can use both homemade paneer, and store-bought paneer for making this curry. Just make sure to use the fresh paneer as it gives the best texture and taste. It is an outstanding source of protein and is also low in calories which makes it a wholesome addition to any diet. 

  • Coriander Leaves: This is another important ingredient of this recipe. The addition of fresh coriander leaves adds a fresh herby punch and fragrant taste to the curry. It also gives the gravy a mild green color to make it more tempting and mouth-watering. 

  • Yogurt: It creates a rich and flavorful base for the curry. It also helps to tenderize the paneer while making it creamy and tangy at the same time. The addition of yogurt makes this curry really good for gut health as it is a rich source of probiotics. Yogurt is used to make gravy for the paneer. You can use any natural yogurt of your choice. 

  • Garlic and ginger: You will need fresh ginger and garlic for making green paste to add a sharp flavor to this curry. Ginger-garlic paste is used as a marinade. 

  • Cashews: I have used soaked cashews for making green paste. Cashews give them a mildly sweet taste and richness to the gravy. 

  • Cream: The addition of fresh cream gives this curry a smooth and silky texture, and also balances out the spicy flavors. 

  • Powdered spices: This is a mildly spicy curry that does not use many spices. To add the depth of flavor and aroma to this curry, you will need powdered spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. Also, add salt to season and to meld all those flavors together. 

  • Whole spices: I have added bay leaves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom and cloves to the gravy. They add an aromatic flavor and sweet-scent to the curry. 

  • Oil & Butter: Oil is used for sautéing onion, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Also, a mix of oil and butter is used for cooking green paste. You can use any neutral flavored vegetable oil for this recipe. Butter can be replaced with the same amount of ghee or oil. 

  • Onion: It is added to the gravy to give a spicy taste and body. I would suggest using yellow onions because it has a strong and complex flavor, and adds a creamy and silky texture to the gravy. 

  • Green Chilies: A little bit of green chili is added for some heat and spiciness. It is blended with onion and coriander to make the green paste which is the base of the sauce. 

Variations 

There are many ways you can customize this curry to suit your taste preferences. These are some variations of Paneer Afghani curry you might try: 

  • Spicy Paneer Afghani: You can increase the amount of green chili to make it spicy. Chili powder is generally not added to this curry, but if you love spicy curries. Then you can add red chili powder or ground black pepper to make it spicy. 

  • Chickpea Paneer Afghani: In this variation, you can add canned or cooked chickpeas to green gravy and cook for 10 minutes. Chickpeas add a nice texture and protein to this curry.  

  • Mushroom Paneer Afghani: To make this version, add some sautéed mushroom to the gravy base while cooking it. You need to cook the mushrooms with the green sauce to get the most flavor.  

  • Palak Paneer Afghani: For making a healthy and nutritious version of Paneer Afghani you can try adding spinach. In this variation, add some chopped spinach to the green paste and cook for about 10 minutes or until it thickens. 

  • Vegan Paneer Afghani Curry: If you are on a vegan diet, then you can make a vegan version of this curry. You can make it vegan by substituting the paneer with tofu. Also, use dairy-free yogurt and cream. 

a female holding a grilled paneer piece over paneer afghani bowl

Serving Suggestions 

This delicious Afghani Paneer curry tastes great when served with Afghan Naan and steamed rice. You can also serve it with garlic naan, roti, paratha, or any other flatbread of your choice. 

This curry can also be paired with jeera rice, paneer pulao, matar pulao or vegetable biryani. To make it an elaborate festive meal, pair it with palak puri, with dal makhani, salad, cucumber raita, chutney, papad and besan halwa and shahi tukda

Storage Suggestions 

Paneer Afghani curry stays fresh for up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To store, refrigerate the gravy and marinated paneer separately.

When you want to eat, roast or grill the paneer pieces, reheat the gravy in a stovetop pan or in a microwave.  

Serve the freshly roasted paneer on the bed of green gravy. You can also store the roasted paneer pieces, just reheat them slightly in a pan or in a microwave before serving.  

Freezing Suggestions: Paneer Afghani curry can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. To freeze this curry, let the green gravy cool down completely. Once cooled, transfer it to a freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag. Also, freeze the marinated paneer pieces.

To freeze paneer, arrange them in a single layer in a freezer-safe tray and freeze for up to 4 hours.  

When you want to serve the curry, thaw the green gravy and paneer pieces overnight in the refrigerator. Then roast the paneer pieces and reheat the gravy in a pan or a microwave and then serve. 

Pro tips and tricks to make Paneer Afghani Curry 

  1. Serving: To get the best texture and flavor of this curry, it is advised to add the roasted paneer only at the time of serving. Also, make sure to serve this curry hot and fresh as it tastes best when served fresh. 

  2. Marination: It is important to marinate the paneer before roasting and adding it to the gravy. The marination gives it such a nice flavor of ginger-garlic paste and spices.  

  3. Garnishing: You can garnish Paneer Afghani with fresh cream, chopped coriander and grated paneer to add freshness and color. Garnishing is optional though. 

  4. Fresh ingredients: Try to use fresh ingredients to get the best flavor. Because using fresh ingredients like onion, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves, cream, yogurt, and spices will create a significant difference in the flavor profile of Paneer Afghani curry.  

  5. Use cream for richness: Adding cream to the curry will make it rich and creamy. You can use regular fresh cream or heavy cream for the best results. 

  6. Adjust spices: The spice level of this curry can be spicy or mild depending on your taste preferences. You can adjust the spice level of this Paneer Afghani curry, by adding spices to suit your taste glands. 

  7. Sweet flavors: If you like mildly sweet flavors in curry then you can add a pinch of sugar or honey to the sauce. It will add a touch of sweetness while balancing the spicy flavors. 

overhead close up view of paneer afghani in a white bowl with some salad paratha and tea on the side

FAQ 

What is paneer? 

It is an Indian style cottage cheese prepared by curdling milk with yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar. Paneer has a creamy taste, crumbly and firm texture. It is typically used in making a variety of curries, flat breads, and desserts. 

What is Paneer Afghani Curry? 

Afghani Paneer or Paneer Afghani curry is mildly spicy, rich and creamy curry made with marinated paneer and green sauce made with coriander leaves, onion, ginger, garlic, cashews, and spices.  

Can I use tofu instead of paneer in Paneer Afghani curry? 

Yes, you can certainly make this curry using tofu. In fact, substituting paneer with firm tofu is a smart choice when you are planning to make a vegan version of this recipe. 

How long does it take to make Paneer Afghani curry? 

It takes about 40 minutes to prepare from scratch, including marination time. 

Can I make Paneer Afghani in advance? 

Yes, you can make Paneer Afghani ahead of time. It is a wonderful option when you are making it for a crowd. Just marinate paneer, make the gravy, and refrigerate for 5 days. When you want to eat, roast the paneer, reheat the gravy and serve. 

Can I adjust the spice level in this curry? 

Yes, you can adjust the spice level in Paneer Afghani curry according to your taste preferences. You can add more or less red chili powder and black pepper to the marinade and gravy to make it suitable for your taste buds. 

Can I use canned tomato puree in Paneer Afghani curry? 

The authentic recipe does not have any tomato puree. If you want to experiment with the taste, flavor, and texture, then you can surely add tomato puree. But if you are looking for a traditional recipe, then I would not recommend adding tomato puree.  


Paneer Afghani (Step-by-step photo instructions)

Marinate Paneer

  1. Cut the paneer into small stripes or cubes and set aside. To marinate the paneer cheese, add oil, salt, black pepper, ginger garlic paste, chopped coriander leaves, and asafetida. Shake or mix to coat the paneer with marinade. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Image of the recipe cooking step-1-1 for Paneer Afghani

Make Green Paste

  1. To make green paste, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add ginger, garlic, green chili, and sauté for a few seconds. Then add sliced onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add coriander leaves and sauté for a few seconds. Then turn off the heat and cook for 1 minute. Keep it aside to cool.
  2. Image of the recipe cooking step-2-1 for Paneer Afghani
  3. Once cooled, add soaked cashews, fried onion, ginger, garlic and coriander mixture and water to a blender. Blend to make smooth paste.
  4. Image of the recipe cooking step-2-2 for Paneer Afghani
  5. Transfer the paste to a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup of water, 1/3 cup fresh cream, 1 cup yogurt, coriander powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, Kasuri methi, and salt to taste. Whisk well until combined. Keep it aside.
  6. Image of the recipe cooking step-2-3 for Paneer Afghani

Second Marination

  1. Add 2 teaspoons of green paste to paneer and mix well. Keep it aside for 5 minutes to marinate.
  2. Image of the recipe cooking step-3-1 for Paneer Afghani

Roast Paneer

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wide non-stick pan. Add marinated paneer to the pan in a single layer and roast on medium-high heat until charred and cooked. Flip the paneer pieces and cook from other side until cooked. Transfer cooked paneer to a plate and set it aside.
  2. Image of the recipe cooking step-4-1 for Paneer Afghani

How to make Paneer Afghani

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in the same pan. Then add bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, green cardamom, and cloves. Sauté for a few seconds or until fragrant.
  2. Image of the recipe cooking step-5-1 for Paneer Afghani
  3. Add in the chopped ginger and sauté for 30 seconds. Then add green paste and mix well. Add garam masala powder and mix again. At this point you can add consistency. Let it come to a boil and cover the pan with the lid.
  4. Image of the recipe cooking step-5-2 for Paneer Afghani
  5. Cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency, while stirring occasionally. Add coriander leaves and mix well.
  6. Image of the recipe cooking step-5-3 for Paneer Afghani
  7. Transfer the green gravy to a bowl. Top with grated paneer, fresh cream, chopped coriander leaves and paneer pieces. Serve hot with naan or rice.
  8. Image of the recipe cooking step-5-4 for Paneer Afghani

Recipe Card


Paneer Afghani [Recipe]

Recipe Image
Paneer Afghani Curry is a rich, classic, and flavorful side dish made with paneer, yogurt, cashews, and a green gravy. Perfect side dish.
★★★★★
(Rating: 5 from 6 reviews)

Prep time 🕐 Cook time 🕐 Total time 🕐
40 mins
Category ☶ Cuisine ♨ Serves ☺
Sides Indian 6
Nutrition Info ⊛ Serving size ⊚
209 calories 1

INGREDIENTS

For the first marination
  • 400 grams paneer, cut into long stripes
  • 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Pinch of asafetida (hing)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
For second marination and gravy
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large green chili
  • 1-inch ginger piece, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • A bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup cashew nuts, soaked in 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup fresh cream
  • 1 cup yogurt, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt, as needed
  • 1 cup water, or as needed
For Sauteing Paneer
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 teaspoon green paste
  • Marinated Paneer
For Paneer Afghani Gravy
  • 1 tablespoon oil/ghee
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon, ginger chopped
  • Prepared green curd mixture
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
For serving
  • Prepared green gravy
  • Roasted paneer
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated paneer

INSTRUCTIONS:

Marinate Paneer
  1. Cut the paneer into small stripes or cubes and set aside. To marinate the paneer cheese, add oil, salt, black pepper, ginger garlic paste, chopped coriander leaves, and asafetida. Shake or mix to coat the paneer with marinade. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Make Green Paste
  1. To make green paste, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add ginger, garlic, green chili, and sauté for a few seconds. Then add sliced onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add coriander leaves and sauté for a few seconds. Then turn off the heat and cook for 1 minute. Keep it aside to cool.
  2. Once cooled, add soaked cashews, fried onion, ginger, garlic and coriander mixture and water to a blender. Blend to make smooth paste.
  3. Transfer the paste to a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup of water, 1/3 cup fresh cream, 1 cup yogurt, coriander powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, Kasuri methi, and salt to taste. Whisk well until combined. Keep it aside.
Second Marination
  1. Add 2 teaspoons of green paste to paneer and mix well. Keep it aside for 5 minutes to marinate.
Roast Paneer
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wide non-stick pan. Add marinated paneer to the pan in a single layer and roast on medium-high heat until charred and cooked. Flip the paneer pieces and cook from other side until cooked. Transfer cooked paneer to a plate and set it aside.
How to make Paneer Afghani
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in the same pan. Then add bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, green cardamom, and cloves. Sauté for a few seconds or until fragrant.
  2. Add in the chopped ginger and sauté for 30 seconds. Then add green paste and mix well. Add garam masala powder and mix again. At this point you can add consistency. Let it come to a boil and cover the pan with the lid.
  3. Cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency, while stirring occasionally. Add coriander leaves and mix well.
  4. Transfer the green gravy to a bowl. Top with grated paneer, fresh cream, chopped coriander leaves and paneer pieces. Serve hot with naan or rice.

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NOTES:

  1. To get the best texture and flavor of this curry, it is advised to add the roasted paneer only at the time of serving. Also, make sure to serve this curry hot and fresh as it tastes best when served fresh.
  2. It is important to marinate the paneer before roasting and adding it to the gravy. The marination gives it such a nice flavor of ginger-garlic paste and spices.


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