Paneer khurchan is a very delicious and easy-to-make North Indian curry recipe prepared with paneer (Indian cottage cheese), tomato, onion, and capsicum. This semi-dry curry goes well with piping hot roti, , naan, any Indian bread.
This healthy and wholesome and mouth-watering dish can be prepared in a jiffy. It gets done in about 30 minutes when prepared from scratch.
The excellent thing about this North Indian Punjabi dish paneer khurchan recipe is that it is one of the best North Indian curries you would discover. It has all those scrumptious flavors that would turn any simple lunch or dinner into a satisfying meal. A bite taken into this rich dish would make you lick your fingers. Yes, it’s that good.
Paneer dishes are very special and everyone’s close to heart, I guess it is because Paneer can be cooked and used in so many different ways such as you can add it to a curry, make / paneer paratha with it, add it in your pulao/biryani, or make a dessert (such as; , , , etc.) with it.
Hence, people love to enjoy them on special occasions and at all kinds of parties. And this one surely makes its way to the parties, and why not? It has that delectable combination of regular Indian spices that goes well with seasoned paneer cubes. And a garnish of ginger juliennes and cilantro leaves add a fresh and pungent flavor to this extraordinary dish.
So make this delicious paneer khurchan for your family and make them feel special!
On this page I have shared this quick and easy Paneer Khurchan Recipe with a video tutorial and step-by-step photos for simple understanding. There are also tips, tricks, and variations to make the easiest paneer khurchan recipe.
About This Paneer Khurchan
In the recipe, Paneer is referred to as Indian cottage cheese and the word ‘khurchan’ is derived from a Hindi word ‘khurchna’ that means ‘to scrape’. Since it is an almost dry curry and has a dry spice coating that needs some scraping using a spatula, it is named ‘Paneer Khurchan’.
Due to its rustic flavors, quick preparation, and appetizing taste, this North Indian Curry is very popular and widely sold in dhabas (roadside eateries) and restaurants. To make paneer khurchan you will need paneer chunks, onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, green chiles, cilantro, and some regular Indian spices.
This dish can be prepared in mildly spiced, hot spiced, or spiced and sweet versions. Some like to add fresh cream, cashews, or cashew cream to this recipe. My version makes the dhaba or restaurant-style paneer khurchan curry which is basically super quick, fuss-free, and brimming with exotic flavors.
It doesn’t use any cream while cooking, but it is drizzled with some fresh cream while serving. Also, a drizzle for freshly squeezed lemon juice just before serving is a must in this recipe. The lemon juice adds a nice tang which complements the spiced paneer.
In dhabas and restaurants, they serve a thick or heavy-bottomed iron Griddle/Tawa. I don’t personally like to cook tomato-based dishes in iron pans, so I’ve made it in a regular pan, but if you want you can surely use an iron pan or Kadai for making this paneer khurchan. Just make sure to use a thick-bottomed Pan/Kadai to prevent the spices from getting burnt.
Paneer Khurchan is not as popular as paneer tikka masala, Kadai paneer, or paneer butter masala in restaurants worldwide, but it surely tastes very delicious and gets done really fast.
What is Paneer Khurchan?
Paneer khurchan is a dry curry recipe made with paneer, onion, tomato, capsicum (bell peppers), and some basic spices. A curry base is made with onion, tomato, bell peppers, ginger, garlic, and spices. Then paneer can either be added plain or you can pan fry it before adding to the tomato-based gravy.
After adding and mixing the paneer, you leave the curry untouched for about 1 minute, and then it is scraped with a sharp spatula. This way you get the crispy-edged paneer bites blanketed in spicy sauce.
This Paneer Khurchan
✔ is quick and easy to make
✔ is made from scratch
✔ is ready in 30 minutes
✔ is loved by kids and adults alike
✔ can be served at get-togethers or parties
✔ is delicious and filling
✔ is a perfect side dish for any flatbread
✔ is vegetarian and gluten-free
✔ is suitable for lunchbox
✔ is perfect for weekend lunch or dinner
✔ can also be served as a snack
Paneer Khurchan is a quick and easy recipe made with some basic spices used in Indian kitchens. The ingredient you will need to make paneer khurchan are:
Paneer - It is the star ingredient of this curry, so make sure to use soft and fresh paneer. I marinated paneer in spices and then pan-fry them in ghee before adding to the sauce. That’s why I prefer to use which is at least one day old. But you can also use store-bought paneer.
Capsicum (Bell pepper) - I added 3 colored bell peppers to this paneer khurchan recipe. If you don’t have colorful bell peppers, then you can only use green capsicum.
Onion - You can use both red and yellow onions in this recipe.
Green chili - Sliced green chilies are added for some heat, but using green chilies is optional here.
Tomatoes - Use fresh and firm tomatoes for this recipe. I have used sliced tomatoes here, but you can also use finely chopped tomatoes.
Ginger-garlic paste - I have used fresh homemade ginger-garlic paste in this recipe for the most enhancing flavors. You can also use store-bought ginger-garlic paste.
Powdered spices - I have used red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, cumin powder, amchur (dry mango) powder, Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), and salt.
Whole spices & seeds - In this recipe, you will need whole spices and seeds such as cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, cloves, star anise, and black cardamom.
Cilantro, ginger juliennes, & lemon - They both are used in making curry and also in serving. Lemon juice is only used while serving.
Cream - It is only added while serving, but adding cream is completely optional in this recipe.
How To Make Paneer Khurchan Recipe
Making Paneer Khurchan at home is very simple. T_his is how it is made in 8 easy-to-follow steps:_
Step 1: Preparation - Cut all the paneer into bite-sized cubes or strips. Slice onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, ginger, and slit green chilies.
Step 2: Marinate Paneer - Add ginger-garlic paste, a pinch of salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and some oil to the paneer. Coat the paneer in the marinade using your hands. Set them aside for 20 minutes.
Step 3: Fry Paneer (optional) - Pan fry paneer pieces in ghee until they are lightly crispy on the edges. Remove the paneer from the pan.
Step 4: To the same pan, add cumin seeds, and whole spices and sauté them for a few seconds. Then add sliced onion and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste, dried red chili, and sauté for 2 minutes.
Step 5 - Now add sliced tomatoes, sliced bell peppers, and toss well. Also add green chilies, ginger juliennes, and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
Step 6 - Add spices — red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, coriander powder, and garam masala powder. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the raw smell is gone.
Step 7 - Add Kasuri methi and mix. Cook for a few seconds and then add butter, and mix. After that add chopped cilantro and mix again. Lastly, add fried paneer and toss well and cook for 1 minute.
Step 8 - Now leave it untouched and sauté for 1-2 more minutes to get some smoky flavors. Scrape off the masala from the bottom of the pan. Paneer khurchan is ready to serve. Garnish and serve it hot with tandoori roti or paratha.
On this page, you’ll find step-by-step photos, instructions, and video recipes to make the best tasting Paneer Khurchan.
Paneer khurchan is a semi-dry curry that goes well with all types of flatbreads. Some of my favorite flatbreads that taste good with paneer khurchan are laccha paratha, garlic tandoori roti, paneer kulcha, and whole wheat naan. You can also pair it with rice.
If you are planning to go for an elaborated Indian party meal, then serve Paneer khurchan with garlic naan, chana masala, matar pulao, boondi raita, papad, salad, and Indian sweets like this gulab jamun on the side.
Tips, Tricks, and Variations to make the Best Paneer Khurchan
If you are using store-bought paneer, keep the cubes soaked in warm water for 20-30 minutes to make them softer.
Pan: Some people make this curry using a cast iron pan or aluminum pan. I personally don’t use an aluminum pan, and I don’t cook tomato-based dishes in a cast-iron pan, so I used a non-stick pan. But you can surely use an iron pan or aluminum pan.
If you are planning to make this curry without frying the paneer, then make sure to use the fresh and soft paneer.
Do not over-cook the paneer after adding it to tomato onion sauce. Just 2-3 minutes are enough to coat the paneer with spices.
After adding paneer do not toss often, paneer should be untouched for some time to get that crispy layer.
Do not overcook: Tomatoes and bell pepper should not be overcooked. Vegetables should retain their crunch, this curry tastes good when vegetables are slightly crunchy.
For this Paneer Khurchan recipe, I have used a mix of 3 colored bell peppers. Feel free to use only green or any colored bell pepper (capsicum) of your choice or whichever is handy.
If you want to make no onion garlic version of paneer khurchan, then you can remove onion and garlic from the recipe.
For a spicier-tasting paneer khurchan, you can increase the amount of red chili powder and also add more green chilies.
If you are planning to make this recipe in oil, swap butter and ghee with any vegetable oil.
How to make vegan paneer Khurchan?
To make a vegan version of paneer khurchan, swap paneer with tofu and replace ghee & butter with vegetable oil.
Can I make this curry without frying paneer?
Yes, you can definitely do that. If you are making this recipe without frying paneer then make sure the paneer you are using is soft. If you are using a store-bought paneer then soak it in warm water for 10-15 minutes before adding it to the sauce.
How to store Paneer Khurchan?
Paneer Khurchan tastes best when served fresh. But it can surely be stored. It stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2 days when kept in an air-tight container. When you want to serve, simply reheat this curry in the microwave or a pan and enjoy.
Can I freeze Paneer Khurchan?
Paneer Khurchan is a semi-dried curry and tastes good when eaten fresh. It doesn’t taste the same after freezing, because stir-fried dishes lose their textures and flavors after freezing. However, you can also freeze it for up to 2 months. To freeze, place the cooled curry into a Ziploc bag and freeze. When you want to eat this, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Then reheat it and it is ready to be served.
How to use leftover Paneer Khurchan?
Leftover paneer khurchan tastes good, so you can have it with the flatbread of your choice. But if you want to relish it differently, then simply place it in a tortilla or roti, and make a wrap or roll. You can also stuff it in between bread slices on toast in a sandwich maker or in a grilled pan. Your paneer khurchan sandwich is ready.
Paneer Khurchan (Step-by-step photo instructions)
- Add paneer cubes and ginger garlic paste to a plate. Then sprinkle with salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and oil. Gently massage and mix gently using hands until well coated. Keep the paneer aside for 20 minutes.
- Add 4 tablespoons ghee to a pan. Once hot, add the paneer to the pan in a single layer. Fry from all the sides until the paneer has slightly golden edges and a crisp layer. Once fried, remove the paneer from the pan and transfer them to a plate. Set it aside.
Making Paneer Khurchan:
- To the same pan, add cumin seeds, bay leaf, black cardamom, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and black peppercorns. Sauté them for a few seconds or until they turn crisp and aromatic.
- Now, add sliced onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes. After that add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste or freshly minced ginger-garlic. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes.
- Now add sliced tomatoes, bell peppers and mix well. Now add green chilies and ginger juliennes. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. TIP: You can cook 1-2 minutes on high heat if using an iron pan.
- Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, and salt. Mix well and cook everything for 5-6 minutes.
- Now add Kasuri methi and mix well. Also add 1 tablespoon of butter, coriander leaves and mix again until everything is well combined.
- Next, add fried paneer strips and toss everything gently. Cook for 2 minutes. Now, leave the pan untouched for about 2 minutes. After 2 minutes scrap the paneer, if it has stuck to the pan, and mix.
- Turn off the heat and transfer the paneer khurhcan to a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves, ginger juliennes, and fresh cream. Drizzle with some lemon juice and serve hot with roti, paratha, or puri.