Paneer Lababdar is an authentic Punjabi accompaniment that has a luscious combination of cottage cheese and exotic gravy made from tomato puree, chopped onions, cashew nuts and spices.
Isn’t Paneer a very quintessential part of the Indian cuisine especially North Indian, folks?
Whenever I plan on organising a party or a festive dinner, at least one paneer based delicacy is always on my menu.
And why not, it is always easy to include a paneer dish on the safer side, as everyone from kids to adults loves this dish.
Right from starters like Sesame Grilled Paneer till desserts like Paneer Kheer and even extraordinary sabzis like Paneer Pasanda turn out to be crowd-pleasers by the sheer addition of cubed paneer to an otherwise simple array of ingredients.
My today’s recipe Paneer Lababdar in Restaurant Style is an aromatic, sweet and slightly spicy sabzi that swoons its eaters with enchanting flavours and its smooth paste-like gravy.
If you like Paneer gravies as much as I do, you can even give these a try – Paneer Tikka Masala, Punjabi Saag Paneer, Mughlai Paneer Korma, Paneer In White Gravy, Restaurant Style Palak Paneer, Paneer Masala and Restaurant Style Kadhai Paneer.
So, make this delicious dish for your next house party and I am sure everyone will lick their hands after eating this yummy Paneer gravy.
What is Paneer Lababdar?
It is a popular Indian gravy dish where soft paneer cubes are dipped in a delectable and rich tomato-based gravy.
This tomato-based gravy also has cashews which lend a royal taste to this gravy.
Other than tomato and cashews, ingredients like onions, ginger, garlic, milk, whole spices and everyday spices are used to make it even more flavourful.
To add a little hint of sweetness to this dish, I like to add honey, but you can even add a little sugar to replace it.
Also, don’t forget to add a pinch of Kasuri methi in the end, it always grants such a nice flavour and aroma to this sabzi that I simply cannot describe it.
Why it is called Lababdar?
Lababdar, this word means a strong desire for something and a complete surrender when you get it!
And when we use it along with the word Paneer, it simply means a complete surrender to one’s tastebuds to this dish ‘Paneer Lababdar’.
How to make Paneer at home?
To make paneer at home, boil 1-litre full-fat milk until it comes to a rolling boil.
Switch off the heat and add 2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar in the milk. Let the milk rest for 5 minutes.
Strain the milk in a cheesecloth and press the cloth with a heavyweight to drain the water.
Keep aside for 1-2 hours until most of the water is drained and the paneer is set.
Now cut this paneer into pieces and use as required.
Pro Tips by Neha
Use the best quality panner to make Paneer Lababdar.
For the restaurant like the smoky flavour, you can smoke the curry.
For that heat a piece of charcoal over direct flame until it is red hot. Keep a container in the pan with the curry.
Keep the heated piece of charcoal in that container and drizzle with 1 tsp ghee. Put the lid on the pan immediately and let the smoke get infused in the curry.
Remove the pan with the charcoal and cook the curry once again before serving.
Instead of cashew nuts, you can also add almonds or seeds like melon seeds, poppy seeds etc.
Kasuri Methi gives a very delicious flavour to this dish, so I highly recommend not skipping it.
Paneer Lababdar Vs Shahi Paneer
Paneer Lababdar has grated paneer added in the gravy along with the paneer cubes which gives it a very nice rich and chunky texture.
The gravy of Shahi Paneer, on the other hand, is very smooth and creamy.
Paneer Lababdar vs Kadai Paneer
These two are very different curries. While Paneer Lababdar is creamy and rich, Kadai Paneer gravy is on the spicier side.
It also has cubes of capsicum added to it.
Step by Step Recipe
Heat oil and ghee in a pan.
Once the oil is hot, add zeera, cinnamon stick and green cardamom and let them crackle for a few seconds.
Add onion and fry till translucent.
Now add ginger and garlic paste and fry till onions are golden brown.
Now add green chillies and tomatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat.
Add the mixture in the jar of a blender along with soaked cashew nuts and blend to make a smooth paste. Use little water if required.
Add the smooth paste in the same pan and put coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, red chilli powder and salt and fry the masala for 3-4 minutes.
Now add panner cubes and grated panner along with milk and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add honey, lemon juice and kasuri methi and cook for a minute.
Paneer Lababdar Recipe
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 tbsp Butter
- ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 inch Cinnamon
- 2 Green Cardamom
- 1 cup Onion (Chopped)
- 1 tsp Ginger Paste
- 1 tsp Garlic Paste
- 2 Green Chilli (Chopped)
- 1 cup Tomato (Chopped)
- 8-10 Cashew Nuts (Soaked in hot water for 10 minutes)
- 2 tsp Coriander Powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- ½ tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- Salt to taste
- 300 g Paneer (cut into small pieces)
- 100 g Grated Paneer
- 300 ml Milk
- 1 tsp Honey
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 2 tbsp Kasuri Methi
- Heat oil and butter in a pan.
- Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and green cardamom and let them crackle for a few seconds.
- Add onion and fry till translucent.
- Now add ginger and garlic paste and fry till onions are golden brown.
- Now add green chillies and tomatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from heat.
- Add the mixture in the jar of a blender along with soaked cashew nuts and blend to make a smooth paste.
- Use little water if required.
- Add the smooth paste in the same pan.
- Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, red chilli powder and salt and fry the masala for 3-4 minutes.
- Now add panner cubes and grated panner along with milk and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add honey, lemon juice and kasuri methi and cook for a minute.
- Serve hot with Paratha or Naan.