Paneer Lababdar

3.93 from 14 votes

Paneer Lababdar is a luscious North Indian curry in which paneer cubes and grated paneer are simmered in a rich and creamy onion-tomato gravy. Use my easy recipe to make this restaurant-style dish at home.

Paneer lababdar served in a bowl.
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About Paneer Lababdar

Paneer Lababdar is a North Indian curry where grated paneer and paneer cubes are simmered in a rich and creamy gravy made using onions, tomatoes, and cashews. You will find it on the menu of most North Indian restaurants.

Lababdar means a strong desire for something and a complete surrender when you get it! Using it with the word paneer means surrendering one’s taste buds to this dish.

This restaurant-style curry is easy to make at home and comes together using simple ingredients.

The texture of this delicious Paneer Lababdar Gravy is creamy and luscious, and it tastes slightly sweet and spicy.

This paneer curry is vegetarian and gluten-free, too.

Here are some more paneer recipes that you must try: Paneer Tikka Masala, Punjabi Saag Paneer, Mughlai Paneer Korma, Paneer In White Gravy, and Restaurant Style Palak Paneer.

You must also try my Paneer Masala, Kadai Paneer, Palak Paneer Bhurji, Kadai Paneer, and Paneer Kathi Roll.

Ingredients

For The Masala Paste

Oil and Butter – I like to make the curry using oil and butter. You can also use ghee in place of butter.

Whole Spices – Cumin seeds, cinnamon (dalchini), and green cardamoms (hari elaichi) are a few whole spices that enhance the flavor and aroma of this curry.

Cashews And Melon Seeds (Magaj) give the curry a creamy and rich texture. You can swap them for almonds or white poppy seeds. 

Others – You will also need onions, ginger, garlic, green chilies and tomatoes.

Some people use tomato puree in place of fresh tomatoes. You, too, can replace the fresh tomatoes with ½ cup of canned tomato puree.

For The Curry

Paneer – Paneer or Indian cottage cheese is easily available in the refrigerator section of Indian grocery stores or other specialty stores like Whole Foods, Costco, etc.

You can also use fresh homemade paneer to make this dish.

You can also add bay leaf for added flavor.

Spice Powders – Spice up the curry with basic spice powders such as coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, and salt.

Milk adds to the creaminess and richness of the curry. Use whole milk for the best result.

Others – You will also need oil, cumin seeds, onions, green chilies, green bell pepper (capsicum), honey, lime juice, unsweetened heavy cream, and Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves).

You can replace heavy cream with fresh cream (malai).

To make this curry even more indulgent, give a garlic tempering at the end. Chop a few garlic cloves and saute them in ghee along with 1-2 dry red chilies until nicely browned. Then, pour the tempering over the ready curry.

How To Make Paneer Lababdar

Preparation

Rinse a 14 oz (400 g) paneer slab with water and grate 3.5 oz (100 g) using the medium hole of a box grater.

Cut 10.5 oz (300 g) paneer into ½-inch cubes. Soak the paneer cubes in hot water for 10 minutes.

Soak the cashew nuts in hot water for 10 minutes

Gather the remaining ingredients.

Make The Masala Paste

Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoon butter (salted or unsalted) in a pan over medium-high heat.

Add the following ingredients once the oil is hot, and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.

  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamoms
Cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks and cardamoms added to hot butter and oil in a pan.

Add 1 cup chopped onions and cook until they turn translucent (5-6 minutes), stirring frequently.

Onions added to the pan.

Now add 2 teaspoon chopped ginger and 2 teaspoon chopped garlic and cook till onions turn golden brown (5-6 minutes). Stir frequently.

Ginger and garlic added to the pan.

Now add the following ingredients and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  • 2 teaspoon chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 8-10 cashew nuts (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes)
  • 2 tablespoon melon seeds
Chilies, tomatoes, cashews and melon seeds added to the pan.

Reduce the heat to low.

Add 1 cup after. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.

Water added to the pan and pan covered with a lid.

Remove the pan from heat and let the tomato mixture cool completely.

Add the cooled mixture to a blender jar along with ½ cup of water and blend to make a smooth puree. Scrap the sides of the blender a few times while blending.

Cooked tomato mixture and some water added to a blender.
Smooth paste made.

Pass the paste through a fine mesh strainer. Keep aside.

Masala paste passed through a fine mesh strainer.

Make The Curry

Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a pan over medium heat.

Once the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies and saute for 5-6 seconds.

Cumin seeds and green chilies added to hot oil in a pan.

Add ½ cup chopped onions and fry until golden brown, stirring frequently.

Onions added to the pan.

Now add the following ingredients and cook the masala for 3-4 minutes.

  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Spice powders added to the pan.

Add 2-3 tablespoon water if the masala is getting dry.

Adding some water to the masala.

Add ¼ cup finely chopped green bell pepper and cook for 1 minute.

Bell pepper added to the pan.

Add the smooth masala paste to the pan and mix well.

Masala paste added to the pan.

Stir in the following ingredients and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  • 10.5 oz (300 g) paneer cubes
  • 3.5 oz ( 100 g) grated paneer
  • 10 fl oz (300 ml) milk
Paneer cubes, grated paneer and milk added to the pan.

Add the following ingredients and mix well. Cook for a minute.

  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup unsweetened heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoon Kasuri methi
Honey, lime juice, cream and kasuri methi added to the pan.

If the curry is too thick for your liking, then thin it down with some warm water.

Check for salt and add more if required.

Garnish with grated paneer and chopped cilantro. Serve hot.

Ready paneer lababdar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my paneer chewy and rubbery?

The store-bought paneer sometimes turns chewy and rubbery after cooking. Soak the paneer cubes in hot water for 10 minutes to ensure they turn soft and succulent post-cooking.

How to make paneer lababdar without onion and garlic?

You have to skip onions and garlic from the recipe. The other ingredients and the method of preparation will remain the same.

How to make smoky paneer lababdar?

To give it a restaurant-style smoky taste, smoke the curry using the Dungar method. Heat a piece of coal directly on the flame until it becomes hot and red. Place the heated piece of charcoal in a small bowl and place the bowl in the pan over the curry. Drizzle a little ghee on top of the heated coal. Cover the pan immediately with a lid and let the smoke infuse in the curry for 3-5 minutes. Open the lid, remove the bowl with coal, heat the curry again, and serve. 

How to make vegan paneer lababdar?

You can substitute paneer with tofu, butter with more oil, and milk and cream with coconut or cashew cream for a vegan version.

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Paneer Lababdar is a luscious North Indian curry in which paneer cubes and grated paneer are simmered in a rich and creamy onion-tomato gravy. Use my easy recipe to make this restaurant-style dish at home.
3.93 from 14 votes

Paneer Lababdar Recipe (Restaurant Style)

Paneer Lababdar is a luscious North Indian curry in which paneer cubes and grated paneer are simmered in a rich and creamy onion-tomato gravy. Use my easy recipe to make this restaurant-style dish at home.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

For The Masala Paste

  • 1 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 2 green cardamoms (hari elaichi)
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 teaspoons chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 8-10 cashew nuts (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes)
  • 2 tablespoons melon seeds (magaj)

For The Curry

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies
  • ½ cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green bell pepper (capsicum)
  • 12 ounces paneer (300 g, cut into small cubes, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes)
  • 3.5 ounces grated paneer (100 g)
  • 12 fluid ounces milk (300 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup unsweetened heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Kasuri methi
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Instructions 

Make The Masala Paste

  • Heat oil and butter (salted or unsalted) in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, cinnamon, and green cardamoms, and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.
  • Add onions and cook until they turn translucent (5-6 minutes), stirring frequently.
  • Now add ginger and garlic and cook till onions turn golden brown (5-6 minutes). Stir frequently.
  • Now add green chilies, tomatoes, cashew nuts, and melon seeds and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Add 1 cup after. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from heat and let the tomato mixture cool completely.
  • Add the cooled mixture to a blender jar along with ½ cup of water and blend to make a smooth puree. Scrap the sides of the blender a few times while blending.
  • Pass the paste through a fine mesh strainer. Keep aside.

Make The Curry

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and green chilies and saute for 5-6 seconds.
  • Add onions and fry until golden brown, stirring frequently.
  • Now add coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, red chili powder, and salt, and cook the masala for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add 2-3 tablespoon of water if the masala is getting dry.
  • Add bell pepper and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the smooth paste to the pan and mix well.
  • Stir in paneer cubes, grated paneer, and milk, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add honey, heavy cream, lime juice, and Kasuri methi, and mix well. Cook for a minute.
  • If the curry is too thick for your liking, then thin it down with some warm water.
  • Check for salt and add more if required.
  • Garnish with grated paneer and chopped cilantro. Serve hot.

Notes

To give the curry a restaurant-style smoky taste, smoke it using the Dungar method. Heat a piece of coal directly on the flame until it becomes hot and red in color. Place the heated piece of charcoal in a small bowl and place the bowl in the pan over the curry. Drizzle a little ghee on top of the heated coal. Cover the pan immediately with a lid and let the smoke infuse the curry for 3-5 minutes. 
Open the lid, remove the bowl with coal, heat the curry once again, and serve. 
The store-bought paneer sometimes turns chewy and rubbery after cooking. Soak the paneer cubes in hot water for 10 minutes to make sure they turn soft and succulent post-cooking.

Nutrition

Calories: 442kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 22g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 207mg, Potassium: 336mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 1045IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 486mg, Iron: 1.3mg
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9 Comments

  1. tried it yesterday. it was great. the whole family loved. actually I’ve been referring to your recipes for everything. especially Tandoori chicken.

  2. Hi..neha i am a big fan of ur delicacies dey r jst awsme…plz keep dng d gud wrk by uploading more delicacies…i truly enjoi making dem..nd deyturn out as u say…thnx a lot…😘

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Neha! I have been following your blog for some time now. I finally got to trying my first recipe though- Paneer Lababdar! It came out delicious. I love how thorough you are with the instructions. Excited to try other recipes now. Keep up the great work!