Dhaba Style Paneer Masala Curry



For marination:

  • 300 g paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp grated garlic
  • salt, to taste
  • ghee, just enough to fry the paneer cubes

For ground masala:

  • 2 tsps coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 pods cardamom
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fennel


  • 2 tbsps ghee
  • tbsp oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pods cardamom
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp grated garlic
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup curd, whisked
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala


For marinating and frying the paneer:

  1. Place the cubed paneer in a large bowl and add all the remaining ingredients except for the ghee.
  2. Mix thoroughly making sure that the paneer is coated well in all the spices, and marinate for about 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the ghee on medium-low in a saucepan.
  4. Fry the paneer for about two minutes making sure that all the sides are cooked.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.


  1. Dry roast the spices on low heat until the aroma arises from it.
  2. Remove from heat and let it cool completely before grinding it into a fine powder.


  1. Heat the ghee and oil in a large pot on low heat.
  2. Add the bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and cumin, and sauté until the aroma arises from the spices.
  3. Next, add the chopped onion, ginger, and garlic, and sauté until the onion turns golden brown.
  4. Then add the prepared ground masala powder along with turmeric powder, chilli powder, and salt.
  5. Sauté on low flame until the spices turn aromatic.
  6. Next, add the chopped tomatoes and sauté until they turn mushy.
  7. While still on low heat add the whisked yogurt.
  8. Stir continuously until the yogurt is combined in well and the oil starts separating out from the mixture.
  9. Adjust the consistency of the curry by adding 1/2 cup water or as needed.
  10. Add in the fried paneer and mix well.
  11. Cover the pot and let the combination simmer for about 5 minutes until all the flavors are well absorbed.
  12. Finally, add the garam masala and mix until well combined.
  13. Remove from heat after a few minutes, and serve with your favorite main (dish rice, roti, naan, or chapati).

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