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What Is Shahi Paneer: The Essential Guide

If you do not know what is Shahi Paneer, you might as well be living under a rock. There is not a single restaurant menu in India that does not serve Shahi paneer. Shahi paneer is more than just a dish. It is a legacy left behind by the Mughal empire as an exotic dish for the world. The popularity of this dish has grown beyond its native Indian subcontinent as food for both your body and your soul.

What Is Shahi Paneer? 

Shahi Paneer! The name itself boasts of royalty and class, and rightfully so. A dish curated by the Mughals befitting the taste palates of Kings and their subjects, its recipe has now been craftfully handed down through the generations. This vegetarian dish with paneer, aka cottage cheese, as its vital ingredient, embraces the rich flavors of onions, yogurt, nuts, cream, seeds, and nuts that culminate in a delicious cuisine you will never have enough of. Here’s how to make shahi paneer.

While you’re here, you should also check out our paneer pakora recipes. “What is paneer pakora?” you may ask. It is an Indian snack, perfect for your guests to munch on.

Delicious as it is, not every Shahi paneer you come across will taste the same. Just as there were a plethora of rulers in the Indian subcontinent, as were chefs and their cooking styles. While most of these recipes embody the process of slow-cooking the paneer and the flavors to get them to release slowly and skillfully and the same ingredients, the result may differ from one another. And that’s actually good news for us: more varieties of Shahi paneer to savor.

Types Of Shahi Paneer

We hope that we answered your question, “What is Shahi Paneer?”. Moving on, there are a variety of Shahi Paneer Recipes you should try making at home. Some of them are listed below:

Punjabi Shahi Paneer

This dish is an orangey-red gravy made with onion, tomatoes, kashmiri red chili powder, and almonds.

There are numerous variations on the Punjabi Shahi Paneer recipe. As sour components, some people use tomatoes, while others use curd. The dish’s silky texture sets it apart.

Shahi paneer

The Punjabi Shahi Paneer dish has three steps:

  • Make the masala for Shahi Paneer.
  • Blend the masala until it’s a smooth puree, then strain it.
  • Cook/warm the purée with a few Indian spices.

It takes some time to prepare this dish, but it’s well worth it.

Restaurant Style Shahi Paneer

Paneer gravy with a restaurant-style flavor, aroma, richness, and creaminess. It’ll quickly become your go-to paneer meal at home!

Restaurant style shahi paneer is usually made with tomato, onion puree, cream and is very easy to make. Fresh paneer cubes are cooked in a thick, creamy makhani gravy made with a combination of Indian spices, tomato, onion, ginger garlic, green chili, almond, cashew, and cream.

Mughlai Style Shahi Paneer

Mughlai Style Shahi Paneer literally translates to “royal cheese dish” and is a Mughlai dish famous in Northern India. It is a rich and aromatic gravy paneer that is super delicious to taste. Cashews, onions, ginger, and garlic are blended into a creamy mixture for this royal paneer meal. After that, the paneer is cooked in a yogurt cream sauce with a dash of saffron, cardamom, and garam masala.

Shahi Paneer comes in a variety of flavors, some with tomatoes and some without. You can also replace the cream with milk for a lighter and healthier Shahi Paneer. If you want to add a little more richness, use a tablespoon of ghee instead of oil.

Shahi Paneer Without Onion and Garlic

As the name “Shahi” implies, this recipe is rich in cashew nuts and cream. This recipe, however, is unique in that it is a Jain-style Shahi Paneer, which means it has no onions or garlic. Nonetheless, the flavor is amazing. The soft, supple paneer cubes served with a traditional tomato gravy, and kasoori methi are simply delicious.

Read on as we explore more about this truly majestic Mughlai cuisine.

What To Serve With Shahi Paneer?

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Une publication partagée par Gaurav (@punjab_blest)

Unsurprisingly, people enjoy a sumptuous meal by pairing its rich and creamy flavor with rice, naan, or chapati. It is a must-have in joyous occasions and celebrations. As a king of all Indian vegetarian dishes, nothing can go wrong with Shahi paneer. You can serve it with other rice-based dishes such as pulao, biryani, jeera rice, or ghee rice. If you are new to Shahi paneer, you will fall in love with it. That’s for sure. Since it is not as spicy as other typical Indian dishes, even the foreigners seem to enjoy it.

What is the difference between Paneer Makhani and Shahi Paneer?

The difference between paneer makhani and shahi paneer is more than the way they look. They taste significantly different because of the ingredients used in each of them.

Shahi paneer can be cooked in any oil or ghee. It has a mild sweet taste because of cashew nut paste or onion puree to make its gravy. On the contrary, paneer makhani or paneer butter masala is a calorie-packed dish cooked in butter, cashew, and almonds. You can instantly identify this dish with its strong smell of butter. Paneer makhani is somewhat spicy as you have to use more whole spices in its preparation. Its flavor is primarily dominated by kasoori methi.

The use of butter in paneer makhani makes it rather yellow, whereas shahi paneer is more inclined towards an orange shade like a sunset.

What is the difference between Kadai Paneer and Shahi Paneer?

Kadai paneer is all about spices. It is made with whole spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, coriander seeds, red chilies, black pepper, etc. These spices are roasted to unleash their aroma to the maximum. Therefore, it is much stronger than shahi paneer. 

Although both kadai paneer and shahi paneer might seem to have a similar texture, there is nothing in common between them except for the main ingredient, paneer. You can go with either raw paneer or fry them before using them in shahi paneer. But for kadai paneer, you have to shallow fry them for a while. Unlike shahi paneer, which is limited to just paneer pieces, the kadai version includes other vegetables like capsicum, onions, and tomatoes.

If your taste buds are used to the sweet and creamy flavor of shahi paneer, you will definitely feel that heat with the hot and spicy taste of kadai paneer. Don’t worry, you can bring down the intensity by cutting down red chilies and adding cream (dairy or cashew) to soothe your tongue. 

How much carb in shahi paneer?

According to nutrition experts, paneer is rich in good fats and proteins that can help you with weight loss and diabetes problems. However, the use of ingredients and preparation methods determine the calorie content of the dish. 

According to Carb Manager, a one-cup serving (approx. 200 grams) of Shahi paneer comes with 493 calories. The total carbs content is 18.7 grams, where the net carb is 17.3 grams, and fiber accounts for just 1.3 grams. Protein amounts to 12 grams, whereas fats are 41.3 grams. Just because shahi paneer is high in fat does not mean it is not healthy. Compared to other varieties, shahi paneer is relatively low on carbs.

Which is better: Shahi Paneer or Paneer Butter Masala?

Shahi paneer is made on ghee or oil. Although it has a sweet and creamy taste, you won’t feel heavy after having it. However, paneer butter masala is exclusively made with butter that has more fat content. The choice depends on how conscious you are about your health. Neither of them is good for your health if you eat them daily. As long as you have the paneer curries in moderation, you need not worry about anything.

What is Shahi Paneer Korma?

Shahi paneer korma is not just any ordinary paneer recipe. If you want to experiment with new varieties of paneer, you should definitely give shahi paneer korma a try. This Mughlai cuisine can be your next favorite native Indian dish that you can easily make in your kitchen and feel like a master chef. Gone are the days of traditional shahi paneer, kadai paneer, or butter paneer dishes. It’s time to upgrade the recipe to something simple yet deliciously mouth-watering shahi paneer korma.

There is no need for second thought with shahi paneer korma. It can be enjoyed with any Indian flatbread, including naan, rotis, chapatis. Even better, it can be a perfect companion to your rice dish. Its succulent and creamy texture will instantly melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more.

Paneer Korma Ingredients

The origin of korma can be traced back to the Mughals. Whether it is with vegetables, meat, or paneer, korma is all about the use of spices, aromatic ingredients, and its texture.

The distinct flavor of shahi paneer korma is derived from the unique combination of ingredients like fried onions, dry fruits (including almonds, cashew nuts, melon seeds, poppy seeds), and whole spices (cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns). If you want it to make vegan, you can use tofu instead of paneer. 

Most ingredients that you need to make shahi paneer korma are easily available in any Indian kitchen. Let’s take a look.

  • Paneer is the main ingredient in this recipe. Homemade paneer is the best. You can make paneer in instant pot. But you can also get one from the local store. Make sure that you soak the store-bought paneer in warm water for at least 5 minutes to soften it. Check out the best paneer brand in USA.
  • Onions are used for making thick and consistent gravy. Try frying or roasting them before you use them in the curry.
  • Go for whole spices like black and green cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns, and mace spice that are richer in flavor. 
  • Dry fruits, nuts, and seeds are used for making gravy.
  • You can use either ghee or oil to make shahi paneer korma.
  • Yogurt is required to make the curry tangy in flavor and creamy in texture. Use thick and fresh yogurt. Shahi paneer korma is all about its sweet taste. Therefore, the yogurt should not be sour.
  • Spice powders like red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, kasuri methi, and garam masala powder feel good on your taste buds.
  • You can use tomato puree if you want to. However, you can skip it.
  • Saffron is known for its unique color and flavor. Try soaking a few saffron strands in warm water or milk.
  • Kewra water is used to flavor the dishes to make shahi paneer korma feel more royal.
  • Ginger-garlic paste has multiple uses in the shahi paneer recipe. You can use it to marinate the paneer. Here’s how to marinate paneer. Or you can also use it with other pastes to enhance the flavor of the dish.

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