Paneer Korma Or Paneer Kurma is a Mughlai style rich, vegetarian curry made with paneer, nuts, fried onions, ginger, garlic, aromatic whole, and powdered spices.
This quick and easy Indian cottage cheese curry (Shahi Paneer Korma) has a mélange of so many distinct and exquisite flavors, textures, and tastes so delicious. This spicy Indian curry of Mughlai cuisine is cooked from scratch in just 30 minutes and makes a classic dinner recipe for any day.
About Paneer Korma
Paneer Korma is one of the best tasting North Indian curry dishes because it bursts with flavors and has all the delectable Indian curry goodness. And also, it can be enjoyed with almost every Indian flatbread and rice dish.
So if you are bored of making regular paneer dishes, then make this creamy and scrumptious paneer kurma curry when you have guests at home, and get ready for a lot of praising expressions. They will just love this restaurant-style aromatic Shahi Paneer Korma curry which has amazing Mughali Curry flavors.
Making Korma Paste from scratch might sound intimidating but it’s not. Making korma paste requires an extra few minutes. But trust me, all your precious time is worth it, because the curry made with homemade korma paste tastes a thousand times better than the korma curry made with store-bought korma paste.
What is Korma?
Korma or Kurma is an exotic Indian curry dish that has its origin from Mughal cuisine. In korma dishes, vegetables, meat, or paneer is dunked in a spicy and aromatic onion, dry fruits, yogurt-based thick sauce, or gravy.
What is Paneer Korma?
Paneer Korma Recipe or Shahi Paneer Korma is a rich, luxurious and royal Mughlai curry dish, where shallow fried paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cubes are cooked in a korma gravy which is made with fried onions, dry fruits, ginger-garlic, yogurt, spices (whole and powdered). Since it is a royal dish, it has a touch of saffron and kewra water.
Royal means Shahi in the Hindi language. Thus, this Royal Paneer Korma is called Shahi Paneer Korma.
This simple but flavorsome curry gets its delicious flavors from the combination of fried onions, nuts, seeds, and dry fruits (cashew nuts, almonds, poppy seeds, melon seeds), whole spices like peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, star anise.
Many times when I have guests at home for dinner, or on special occasions and festivals I make at least a paneer dish, and Paneer Kurma often hits the menu.
This Shahi Paneer Korma:
✓ is delightful and mouth-watering good
✓ is easy-to-make
✓ is suitable for lovely festive or party meals
✓ is rich, creamy, and flavorful
✓ is made from scratch
✓ is gluten-free and vegetarian
✓ can also be made vegan
Paneer Korma Ingredients
Paneer Korma curry uses ingredients that are easily available at any Asian Grocery store. Below are the ingredients you will need.
It is the star ingredient of this curry recipe. I used homemade paneer for this recipe, but you can also use the store-bought paneer. Store-bought paneer is generally hard, so if you are planning to use store-bought paneer, then soak it in hot water for about 5 minutes to make it soft.
Since I have made this recipe from scratch, I have made my own fried onions. In this recipe, you can also use store-bought fried or roasted onions.
Paneer Korma curry recipe needs whole spices like black cardamom, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, star anise, mace spice, and bay leaf.
Nuts & Seeds
You will need cashew nuts, almonds, poppy seeds (khus khus), and watermelon seeds.
Ghee or Oil
I only used ghee in this recipe. You can also use oil in this recipe.
Yogurt adds a nice tang and creamy texture to this curry. Any thick yogurt can be added to this recipe. Just make sure the yogurt you are using is not sour.
We have used coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, Kasuri methi, and salt.
Adding tomato puree to paneer kurma is optional. You can skip adding the tomato puree.
I have soaked saffron strands in warm milk. But you can also soak saffron in warm water.
To add some more royal flavor to the curry, we will also add in kewra water. You can easily find kewra water in your nearby Indian grocery store.
Ginger and Garlic
Ginger Juliennes and Green Chilies
Ginger juliennes add a nice texture and extra zing to this curry. And green chilies add some heat.
Cilantro leaves are added at the end to give this curry a herby punch.
How to make Paneer Korma?
Making Paneer Korma from scratch is really simple. To make paneer korma, you need to first make the korma paste and then curry.
Here is how to make the Paneer Shahi Korma recipe. It can easily be done in 8 simple steps:
Step 1: Dry roast nuts and whole spices.
Step 2: Fry onions.
Step 3: Make fine korma paste using roasted spices, fried onions, and tomato puree.
Step 4: Shallow fry paneer cubes in ghee/oil.
Step 5: Mix yogurt with spices and gram flour.
Step 6: Sauté korma paste with ghee and whole spices.
Step 7: Cook korma paste with yogurt mixture, powdered spices, and saffron.
Step 8: Cook paneer in korma gravy and kewra water. Paneer Korma is ready.
For a full list of Paneer Korma recipe ingredients and step-by-step photo and video instructions, please see the recipe box on this page.
You can also try some of our other favorite Paneer Recipes – Matar Paneer, , , , Palak Paneer, , and Paneer Tikka Masala. You may also check out paneer recipe I have shared on this blog.
How to make Paneer Korma Vegan?
Paneer Korma is a vegetarian dish that can also be made vegan. To make it vegan you need to swap some ingredients with vegan alternatives.
Replace paneer with firm tofu, ghee with oil or margarine, and use vegan yogurt instead of normal yogurt.
Paneer Kurma curry stays fresh for up to 2 days when stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. When you want to serve, just reheat the curry in a stovetop pan or in a microwave.
This curry gets thicker after freezing, so you can use about 2-3 tablespoons of warm water while reheating.
Paneer Korma Serving Suggestions
It can also be served as a side for your favorite rice preparations. I like to serve it with jeera rice, matar pulao, or steamed rice. Paneer Kurma can also be served as a festive meal along with puri, pineapple raita, moong dal halwa, pickle, and salad.
You can also check out more paneer recipes I have shared on this site.
Spices: This curry recipe is a spicy curry due to the addition of a lot of whole spices. Feel free to reduce the amount of whole spices.
Chili: The green chili I added to this korma recipe was not hot. If you like really hot chilies then feel free to use them.
Cream: Korma recipes generally don’t have any added cream. The creamy texture in this curry you get from the combination of dry fruits. However, if you still want to add some cream to make it creamier, then you can surely add some fresh cream at the end.
Sweetener: I have added some sugar to this korma curry sauce because a little sweetness balances the spicy and tangy flavors of this curry. However, adding sugar is entirely optional.
Tomato Puree: I like the combination of yogurt and tomato, so I added store-bought tomato puree to this korma recipe. You can also use homemade tomato puree. However, adding tomato puree is completely optional in this paneer korma recipe.
Vegetables: Paneer Korma recipe only has paneer cubes. But you can also add sautéed vegetables of your choice to make it fiber-rich. This vegetable and paneer curry is cooked in korma paste and is called Mixed Vegetable Korma. With paneer curries, I like to add cauliflower, potato, beans, carrot, baby corn, and green peas.
Fragrance: I have added kewra water in this paneer kurma recipe. You can also use a few drops of kewra essence. If you don’t have kewra water then you can also add some rose water or omit to add any fragrance.
Important Tips and Tricks to make your best Paneer Korma
Make sure to use the yogurt at room temperature or the curry would curdle.
Fresh yogurt adds a nice tang and creamy texture to this curry. It is recommended that the yogurt should not be sour or else curry will become sour.
After adding yogurt, make sure to keep stirring constantly to prevent the gravy from being curdled.
Poppy seeds (khus khus) and watermelon seeds add a nice nutty flavor and rich texture to this paneer kurma curry. If you don’t have watermelon seeds and poppy seeds then you can omit them.
I have used 2 cups (500 ml) of water in this curry. You can add more or less water to adjust the consistency of this curry.
For a nice aromatic flavor, use ghee for frying paneer and onions, and making paneer curry. If you don’t have ghee, then you can also use butter. Using oil in this recipe is not advised because then it won’t taste that authentic.
However, if you are making vegan curry then you can either use margarine or vegetable cooking oil.
Removing moisture from paneer before shallow frying makes it suitable for frying. This way, the paneer doesn’t stick to the pan while frying.
Using fresh paneer is highly recommended. However, if you are using frozen paneer then soak it in hot water for about 10 minutes prior to use.
I have soaked saffron strands in warm milk, but you can also soak them in warm water.
Paneer Korma Recipe | Shahi Paneer Korma Curry (Step-by-step photo instructions)
How to make Korma Paste:
- Add cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, almonds, poppy seeds, melon seeds, black cardamom, green cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, mace spice, cloves, and black peppercorns to a large pan. Roast for 1 minute or until all the spices and nuts are toasted and turn fragrant. Remove them from the pan and set them aside to cool.
- Thinly slice 2 large onions and keep them aside. Heat 1/4 ghee in a wide non-stick pan. Once hot, add sliced onions and fry onions over medium heat until they are browned and crisp. Also, add 1/4 cup of hot water to 1/4 cup cashews and let them soak for 10 minutes.
- Once onions are browned, remove them from the pan and set them aside to cool completely at room temperature. Also, keep the pan aside, we will use the same ghee and pan for making paneer korma curry.
- To a blender jar, add fried onions, soaked cashews (without water), ginger, garlic, roasted whole spices and seeds, tomato puree, and 3/4 cup of water. Blend until smooth. Korma Paste is ready, set it aside.
How to make Paneer Korma Curry:
- Add Kasuri methi to a pan over medium heat. Dry roast for 1 minute or until they are crisp. Remove it from the pan and crush it using the fingers. Keep this aside, we will later use this in curry.
- To a mixing bowl, add yogurt, gram flour, coriander powder, red chili powder, and turmeric powder. Mix everything until well incorporated. Keep this aside.
- Remove moisture from the paneer by pressing it between tissue papers. This will remove the excess moisture from the paneer and the cubes will not stick to the pan while frying. Now, cut the paneer into 1-inch cubes.
- Add 2 tablespoons ghee to the same pan (where you fried onions), and once hot turn the heat to medium-low. Add paneer cubes to the pan and fry from all the sides until they are golden. Once fried, remove the fried paneer cubes from the pan and set them aside.
- To the same pan, add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, star anise, green cardamom pods, cloves, and black peppercorns. Sauté for a few seconds. Add korma masala, and mix well.
- Also, add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and mix well to combine. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat. Then, add ginger juliennes and sliced green chilies. Mix well.
- Add yogurt spice mixture and mix well until combined. Then add 3/4 cup of water to the pan and mix well. Keep stirring and let it come to a boil.
- Once boiling, cover the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes over medium-low heat. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the pan. At this point, if your gravy seems thick, then you can add more water to adjust the consistency. Add salt to taste, crushed Kasuri methi, and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes or until it starts leaving oil. After that, add sugar and mix well. Cook for 1 more minute.
- Now, add garam masala powder, saffron soaked milk, and mix everything well. After that, add fried paneer cubes and mix well. Cover the pan and let it cook for 5-7 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Uncover the pan and add kewra water and mix again. Then add cilantro and mix well. Cover the pan, turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 5-7 minutes. Transfer the paneer korma curry to a serving dish. Garnish with chopped cilantro and ginger juliennes. Paneer Korma is ready, serve with naan, pulao, or any other flatbread of your choice.