Tawa Paneer

// Discover the delectable world of Tawa Paneer, a rich and flavorful Indian dish featuring paneer (cottage cheese) infused with aromatic spices.



Tawa Paneer is a rich, delightful and flavorful Indian dish that combines the exquisite taste of paneer (Indian cottage cheese) with a mix of aromatic spices and herbs. 

Known for its rich and bold flavors, this flavorful delight is a treat for your taste buds and senses.

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overhead of a cast iron pan of tawa paneer with a spoon next to a bowl of vegetables

It goes perfectly well with some khoba roti, naan, paratha, or pulao

Made with some basic ingredients, this protein-rich side dish gets ready in just 30 minutes. 

About Tawa Paneer

Tawa Paneer or Paneer Tawa Masala is a delectable dry Indian curry that is bursting with tantalizing flavors and various textures that fascinates the palate. The texture of this dish is velvety, creamy, and rich, and the taste of this paneer dish is immensely satisfying. 

In this recipe, a medley of aromatic spices creates a burst of flavors when mixed with the richness of paneer aka Indian cottage cheese. The simply irresistible taste and smoky flavor would leave your taste glands craving for more. 

It has the potency to steal the show when you pair it with your meal of various Indian breads like naan, avocado roti, or paratha. 

This paneer curry is a gratifying blend of soft and creamy paneer, sautéed with a mix of onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and a harmonious mix of spices.

The use of tawa gives a distinct flavor and texture to the dish, making it an ideal choice amongst both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. 

Whether you are a well-trained chef or a novice in the kitchen, this Tawa Paneer or paneer tawa fry recipe is suitable for both. 

photo of a woman holding a bowl of tawa paneer with a spoon

Traditionally, this side dish is cooked on a tawa which is a flat, shallow griddle or frying pan that is generally used in Indian cooking.

Tawa is typically used for making flatbreads like roti, paratha, and dosa, but sometimes it is also used for making other tawa recipes such as this tawa paneer, tawa bhindi, or tawa mix veg. 

This paneer tawa recipe offers a beautiful twist to the traditional paneer dishes, as it is cooked on a tawa (griddle), giving it a slightly charred and smoky taste, which is absolutely enticing. 

I have used regular pans for this recipe, but you can surely use cast iron, or steel tawa, or any other shallow pan for making tawa paneer masala at home. 

Like all the paneer recipes, it is also a versatile dish that can easily be customized to suit your preferences.

This Tawa Paneer

✔︎ is simple, quick and easy to make 

✔︎ pairs gorgeously well with different Indian bread 

✔  is a wonderful source of protein and fiber 

✔︎ can be customize it to your preferred level of spiciness 

✔︎ is great for both weekday dinners and special occasions 

✔︎ is vegetarian and gluten-free 

✔︎ can be made vegan with a slight modification 

✔︎ makes restaurant-quality tawa paneer 

✔︎ has a satisfying taste 

Ingredients

  • Paneer: The rich, creamy and soft paneer is the heart of the dish. It is recommended to use the best quality paneer to achieve the best taste. It adds a creamy and rich texture to the recipe. You can either use a homemade paneer or paneer or go for a store-bought paneer recipe. 

  • Vegetables: You will need onions for making gravy, and base for tawa paneer recipe. Also, capsicum or bell peppers are added for crunch, color, texture and flavor. 

  • Spices: For this recipe, you will need to make two gravies. One a base gravy, and other main gravy. For both the gravies, you will need a blend of aromatic spices.

The powdered spices I have used in this recipe are cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala powder, and salt to create the tempting flavorful taste. 

  • Whole spices: You will also need some fragrant whole spices to make this dish. The whole spices I have added to this paneer dish are cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, green cardamom, cloves, and black peppercorns. 

  • Ginger and Garlic: These two aromatic ingredients are used for making the gravy base. They both infuse tawa paneer with a distinct, delicious and flavorful taste. 

  • Cashews: I have added a handful of cashews to the gravy base to make the sauce rich and luscious. They impart a rich and nutty flavor to the gravy and thicken the sauce. You can also add some fresh cream to this dish to make it creamier. 

  • Coriander leaves: Some fresh coriander leaves are added for refreshing and flavor depth. 

  • Oil & Butter: Oil/butter/ghee is essential for obtaining the perfect texture and consistency. To make this recipe fragrant, I have used a combination of oil and butter for frying and sautéing. But you can also use only oil or only butter. You can also swap butter with ghee

  • Green chilies: They are added in the base gravy and the main gravy for hot taste. 

  • Kasuri Methi: Dried fenugreek leaves or kasuri methi are used to make this curry more aromatic. 

  • Tomatoes: They give the gravy base the desired tang and velvety texture. 

  • Other ingredients: I have also added some tomato ketchup for tangy flavors. Spring onion greens are also used as a garnish.

overhead close up photo of a pan filled with tawa paneer next to a bowl of cucumbers

Variations

Matar Tawa Paneer

If you like matar paneer, then you can try preparing this tawa version of matar paneer. To make this version, swap bell peppers and onion petals with green peas. The rest of the recipe will be the same. 

Vegetable Tawa Paneer

You can add a handful of mixed vegetables to make this variation of vegetable tawa paneer. Other than onion and capsicum, you can try adding more vegetables like cauliflower, peas, corn kernels, beans, carrots, potatoes.

Tikka Tawa Paneer

To make a tikka paneer, swap paneer with hariyali paneer tikka or paneer tikka and cook it in a similar gravy.

Tandoori Tawa Paneer

Love tandoori flavors? Then you can make this tandoori version by marinating the paneer cubes in a tandoori marinade mix before cooking it on the tawa for a smoky and charred flavor.

Mughlai Tawa Paneer

To make the Mughlai version of tawa paneer, you need to swap the base gravy with Mughlai gravy. This gravy elevates the overall taste and gives this curry a rich and royal taste.

Tawa Corn Paneer

In this variant, you can sauté baby corns in the oil until they are tender and charred and then add them to the gravy along with paneer. 

photo of a person holding a spoon full of tawa paneer over a plate

Storage Suggestions

Tawa paneer tastes great when served fresh straight from the pan. To preserve the freshness of Tawa Paneer, you can also store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

To reheat this paneer dish, simply place it in a pan on the stove and heat over medium until it is warmed through. If the sauce has become thick, then you can also add a little bit of water or cream to this dish to retain its texture and consistency.

Alternatively, you can also microwave it for 1 minute or until warm. 

Like all paneer dishes, this Tawa Paneer is also a versatile dish that is served in many ways. You can serve it as a side along with some tandoori roti, or naan, or paratha for a gratifying meal. 

For longer storage, you can also freeze it for up to 2-3 months in an airtight container. To freeze, place the cooled tawa paneer in a freezer safe air-tight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

When you want to serve, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours at room temperature and then reheat it in a pan on the stove until it is warmed through. 

Serving Suggestions

To serve it as an elaborate, balanced, and inviting meal, serve it with Lasooni Palak, dal makhani, matar pulao, besan halwa, cucumber raita, and papad. 

In wraps or sandwiches: You can also use it as a filling for wraps or sandwiches for an indulgent meal. 

It can also be paired with some steamed rice, flavored pulao for a comforting meal. You can serve it as a weekend meal or serve it at your gatherings or parties along with other paneer dishes like paneer pasanda, and paneer khurchan

photo of a white bowl of tawa paneer and a bowl of raita in the background

Professional Tips & Tricks to make the Best Tawa Paneer

  1. Paneer: When making tawa paneer recipes, it is highly recommended that you use high-quality paneer which is fresh and soft.  

  2. Blending: For making a smooth gravy, make sure that you are using a high-power blender to make a smooth paste. For this recipe, you will need a silky smooth and creamy gravy. If for some reason, your gravy has some chunks, then you can also strain it to achieve a silky-smooth gravy. 

  3. Spices: This recipe makes a slightly hot recipe, but feel free to adjust the amount of red chili powder and other spices according to your taste. 

  4. Pan: To avoid burning and sticking, and to promote even cooking, you need to use a heavy-bottomed pan or kadhai. 

  5. Vegan Tawa Paneer: If you follow a vegan diet, then you can try making a vegan variation of this dish. To make it vegan, swap paneer with the same amount of tofu. 

  6. Cream: To make it creamier, you can add some fresh cream at the end of the cooking process. 

  7. Other vegetables: To make it fiber rich, you can also add some of your favorite vegetables for a delightful twist. 

  8. Bell Peppers: For this Tawa Paneer recipe, I have used a mix of 2 colored bell peppers. Feel free to use only green or any colored bell pepper (capsicum) of your choice or whichever is handy. 

  9. Tomato ketchup: I have added a little bit of tomato ketchup to the gravy. The mild sweetness and tang balance the spicy and savory flavors. However, adding tomato ketchup is entirely optional in this recipe. 

  10. No Onion Garlic: If you are into no-onion-garlic recipes, then feel free to remove onion and garlic from this recipe.  

photo of a bowl of paneer tawa masala with a side of raw vegetables

FAQ

Is Tawa Paneer spicy?

This tawa paneer recipe has a mildly spicy flavor. But you can adjust the spice level according to your taste preference. So, feel free to use more or less chili powder or green chilies. 

Can I make Tawa Paneer in advance? 

Yes, making this Tawa Paneer ahead of time is possible. Simply make the tawa paneer, let it cool and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If you are planning to store it for an extended period, freezing is an option.

How long does it take to make Tawa Paneer?

Taw paneer on average takes approximately 30-35 minutes when prepared from start to finish. This includes the time for cooking both the gravies, sautéing vegetables, and assembling the dish. 

Can I make Tawa Paneer gluten-free?

The good news is that this Tawa Paneer recipe is gluten-free as it doesn’t contain any wheat-based ingredients.  

Is Tawa Paneer sweet?

It is not inherently sweet curry, but it does have a subtle natural sweetness due to the addition of cashews and tomato ketchup in the gravy. This little sweetness is balanced with the savory and spicy flavors in this recipe. 

Can I make vegan Tawa Paneer?

Yes, you can create a vegan version of Tawa Paneer by replacing paneer with the same amount of tofu, vegan halloumi, or any other vegan cheese that is suitable for cooking. You can also use marinated tofu for more exotic flavors. 

Are there any non-vegetarian variations of Tawa Paneer?

It is a vegetarian recipe, but if you are some who enjoy meat, then you can explore non-vegetarian variations by substituting paneer with lamb  or chicken or pieces.

Can I fry paneer for this recipe?

This recipe uses un-fried paneer, but if you like crispy chewy texture then you can slightly roast or fry paneer cubes. It turns a light golden color before adding them to the curry. 

What else can I add to Tawa Paneer?

To make it more colorful and richer, you can add a mix of your favorite vegetables. You can also add fried cashews, fried almonds and raisins to add a delightful crunch and taste contrast.


Tawa Paneer (Step-by-step photo instructions)

Preparing the Base Gravy:

  1. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns, and green cardamom. Sauté until they release their aroma. Add cashew nuts and sauté for a few seconds. Next, add sliced onions and sauté for 1 minute. Then add ginger, garlic, and green chilies, and sauté until the onions turn translucent and golden.
  2. Image of the recipe cooking step-1-1 for Tawa Paneer
  3. Now, add the red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, and salt. Mix well. Add 1/4 cup of water, mix well, and cook for a couple of minutes. Add roughly sliced tomatoes and cook for a minute. Add 1/2 cup of water, mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium-low flame for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes become soft.
  4. Image of the recipe cooking step-1-2 for Tawa Paneer
  5. Once the tomatoes are soft, remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick, and let the mixture cool down. Then add it to a blender or food processor and blend it into a smooth paste. You can add some water if needed. We need this kind of smooth consistency. Keep it aside.
  6. Image of the recipe cooking step-1-3 for Tawa Paneer

Sautéing Vegetables:

  1. In a separate pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil. Add onion petals, green bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper (if using). Sauté until they become slightly tender. Keep them aside for later use.
  2. Image of the recipe cooking step-2-1 for Tawa Paneer

Preparing the Main Gravy:

  1. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add cumin seeds and sauté for a few seconds. Next, add chopped green chilies and ginger juliennes and sauté for a minute. Add the chopped onions and sauté until the spices are cooked.
  2. Image of the recipe cooking step-3-1 for Tawa Paneer
  3. Then add 1 tablespoon of butter to the center. Also, add turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes. Pour in 1 cup of the prepared base gravy. Stir well and simmer for a few minutes until the flavors meld together.
  4. Image of the recipe cooking step-3-2 for Tawa Paneer
  5. Optionally, add tomato ketchup for a slightly tangy flavor and mix. Then add kasuri methi, garam masala, and a pinch of sugar (if desired). Mix well and cook for a few more minutes. Add the sautéed vegetables and mix well. Then, add the diced paneer and mix gently. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Lastly, add 1 tablespoon of butter, a handful of fresh coriander, and toss.
  6. Image of the recipe cooking step-3-3 for Tawa Paneer
  7. Garnish the Tawa Paneer with chopped coriander, spring onion greens, and grated paneer. Enjoy your delicious hot tawa paneer with naan, roti, or rice!
  8. Image of the recipe cooking step-3-4 for Tawa Paneer

Recipe Card


Tawa Paneer [Recipe]

Recipe Image
Discover the delectable world of Tawa Paneer, a rich and flavorful Indian dish featuring paneer (cottage cheese) infused with aromatic spices.
★★★★★
(Rating: 5 from 7 reviews)

Prep time 🕐 Cook time 🕐 Total time 🕐
45 mins
Category ☶ Cuisine ♨ Serves ☺
Sides Indian 4
Nutrition Info ⊛ Serving size ⊚
480 calories 1

INGREDIENTS

For Base Gravy:
  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 4-5 black peppercorns
  • 6-7 cashew nuts
  • 3 medium-sized onions, sliced
  • 1-inch ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 green chilies, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Water, as needed
  • 3 medium-sized tomatoes, roughly sliced
For Sautéing Vegetables:
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, petals separated
  • 1 green bell pepper/capsicum, cut into squares
  • 1/4 yellow bell pepper, cut into squares (optional)
For Main Gravy:
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3-4 small-sized green chilies, chopped
  • 8-10 ginger juliennes
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 large-sized onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 300 grams paneer, diced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato ketchup (optional)
  • 1 cup prepared gravy (from base gravy)
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri methi, roasted and crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated paneer, for garnish
  • Spring onion greens, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preparing the Base Gravy:
  1. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns, and green cardamom. Sauté until they release their aroma. Add cashew nuts and sauté for a few seconds. Next, add sliced onions and sauté for 1 minute. Then add ginger, garlic, and green chilies, and sauté until the onions turn translucent and golden.
  2. Now, add the red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, and salt. Mix well. Add 1/4 cup of water, mix well, and cook for a couple of minutes. Add roughly sliced tomatoes and cook for a minute. Add 1/2 cup of water, mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium-low flame for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes become soft.
  3. Once the tomatoes are soft, remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick, and let the mixture cool down. Then add it to a blender or food processor and blend it into a smooth paste. You can add some water if needed. We need this kind of smooth consistency. Keep it aside.
Sautéing Vegetables:
  1. In a separate pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil. Add onion petals, green bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper (if using). Sauté until they become slightly tender. Keep them aside for later use.
Preparing the Main Gravy:
  1. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add cumin seeds and sauté for a few seconds. Next, add chopped green chilies and ginger juliennes and sauté for a minute. Add the chopped onions and sauté until the spices are cooked.
  2. Then add 1 tablespoon of butter to the center. Also, add turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes. Pour in 1 cup of the prepared base gravy. Stir well and simmer for a few minutes until the flavors meld together.
  3. Optionally, add tomato ketchup for a slightly tangy flavor and mix. Then add kasuri methi, garam masala, and a pinch of sugar (if desired). Mix well and cook for a few more minutes. Add the sautéed vegetables and mix well. Then, add the diced paneer and mix gently. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Lastly, add 1 tablespoon of butter, a handful of fresh coriander, and toss.
  4. Garnish the Tawa Paneer with chopped coriander, spring onion greens, and grated paneer. Enjoy your delicious hot tawa paneer with naan, roti, or rice!

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NOTES:

  1. This recipe makes a slightly hot recipe, but feel free to adjust the amount of red chili powder and other spices according to your taste.
  2. To avoid burning and sticking, and to promote even cooking, you need to use a heavy-bottomed pan or kadhai.
  3. If you follow a vegan diet, then you can try making a vegan variation of this dish. To make it vegan, swap paneer with the same amount of tofu.
  4. To make it creamier, you can add some fresh cream at the end of the cooking process.


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