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Dhaba Style Paneer Masala Recipe

  • Author: Suguna Vinodh
  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 30m
  • Total Time: 50m
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Marinating and roasting the Paneer for Dhaba Style Paneer Masala

  • 200 grams Paneer, diced into half inch cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon besan (Indian Chickpea Flour)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for frying the paneer

Gravy for the Dhaba Style Paneer Masala

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1.5 cups onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek powder)
  • 1.5 tablespoon besan (Indian Chickpea Flour)
  • 500 grams tomatoes, pureed in a mixie
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup cow milk (optional) – check notes
  • 1/4 cup dairy cream (optional) – check notes
  • 3 sprigs coriander leaves, finely chopped



Marinating and roasting the Paneer for Dhaba Style Paneer Masala

  • Dice the paneer into half inch cubes. Add it to a bowl. To the paneer cubes, add in the salt, turmeric powder, garam masala, red chilli powder and half a teaspoon of besan (Indian chickpea flour). Mix well to combine. Marinate the paneer for 15-20 minutes. Heat oil in a pan (preferably non stick) and add in the paneer pieces. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the paneer is nice and golden. Remove and set aside on a plate.

Gravy for the Dhaba Style Paneer Masala

  • In the same pan in which we fried the paneer, add in a little more oil and ghee. Add in the cumin seeds and finely chopped onions. Make sure to finely chop the onions. Alternatively, you can grate the onions in a food processor and add. Also add in the salt along with the onions. The salt will help the onions cook faster. After about five minutes of sauteing on a medium flame, the onions would be soft. Add in the ginger garlic paste and continue to saute for a good five minutes more.
  • Once the onions are nice and brown, reduce the flame to low. On a low flame, add in the red chilli powder and black pepper powder. If you want a spicy paneer masala, adjust the chilli powder according to your taste. Add in the coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder and kasuri methi. Kasuri methi is dried fenugreek powder. Saute for a few seconds.
    Note: If you add the spice powders when the pan is really hot and the flame is high, the spices tend to burn. So always add spices having the flame low so the spices stay fragrant and does not burn.
  • Add in the Besan – Indian chickpea flour. Do not add a lot of besan. I have added about 1.5 tablespoon of besan. Roast the besan along with the other ingredients for half a minute.
  • Grind the tomatoes to a puree in a mixie. Add in the pureed tomatoes to the pan. Add half a teaspoon of sugar to the pan. Saute for around 10-12 minutes stirring constantly so the tomato mixture does not scorch at the bottom.
  • Once the mixture is thick, add in quarter cup of milk and cream. Cook for a minute.
  • Add in the roasted paneer and mix well to combine. At this stage, if the mixture is very thick, add little hot water to adjust the consistency of the gravy. Add in the coriander leaves and let the gravy simmer for just a minute. Remove from heat and serve. A fantastic Dhaba style paneer masala is ready.


The milk and cream is optional. If you are making this for an everyday curry and do not want it to be rich, then omit the milk and the cream and it still comes out really great.

Keywords: dhaba style paneer masala