Paneer Lababdar (Paneer in a Creamy Cashew Curry)

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Whenever I plan a menu for a get-together (gosh, I miss those), the first thing I think about is what vegetarian main dish to serve. I always have a couple of options, but there has to be one recipe on the table that stands out, a dish worthy of a special occasion.

In the past, vegetable korma or veg biryani have served as my go-to vegetarian entertaining recipes, but today, I’m sharing a dish that, while not quite as popular, is just as grand, if not more so.

Paneer Lababdar is the fancy vegetarian main dish you’ve been seeking. Impressive enough for any celebratory gathering and simple enough to make on a weeknight.

paneer lababdar

Paneer lababdar traditionally takes a long time to make, but my recipe is made in minutes and requires you to dirty just one pan. How’s this possible? My onion masala, of course. Make it once, and it’ll feed you for weeks, maybe months.

paneer lababdar

At first glance, this north Indian dish might seem similar to other popular creamy tomato-based paneer recipes, like paneer makhani or matar paneer, but make no mistake, paneer lababdar is its own distinct dish.

It calls for ghee, cream, cashews, and – the main thing that differentiates this dish from the rest – the paneer, prepared two ways. This recipe calls for both shredded paneer and larger paneer pieces, preferably triangles.

how to cut paneer into triangles
paneer lababdar

It’s not every day that you see shredded paneer in gravy, but that’s what makes this paneer lababdar recipe inimitable (silly story: while writing this blog post, I asked my husband, who was sitting next to me, scrolling through his phone, if he knew another word for “stand out.” Without pause, he replied with “inimitable.” I asked him how in the world that word came to mind so quickly, and without answering me, he started playing the Hamilton song, “Wait for It,” and when I tried to interrupt the song to ask him what was happening, he told me to “wait for it.” 😂 I eventually heard the line, “I am inimitable, I am an original.” I just thought you should know this happened, lol).

If you’re familiar with paneer, then you know it’s a cheese that doesn’t melt. That means the shredded paneer mixes into the curry, adding texture so that you get a spoonful of cheese in every bite.

After you shred the paneer, you’ll want to slice the remaining paneer into either cubes or, to really make this a showstopper of a dish, take a few extra minutes and cut the paneer into triangles!

Here’s how to make paneer lababdar:

Melt ghee, add spices, then water, and onion masala. Simmer.

Add cashew powder and shredded paneer.

Stir in some heavy cream, dried fenugreek leaves, and the paneer triangles. Top with more shredded cheese, more cream, and cilantro leaves.

This creamy, mildly spiced, aromatic curry is sure to be a hit with kids and adults. It’ll be the star of your meal.

paneer lababdar

 

Paneer Lababdar (Paneer in a Creamy Cashew Curry)

paneer lababdar

Paneer Lababdar (Paneer in a Creamy Cashew Curry)

5 from 2 reviews
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Cuisine Indian

Ingredients
 

  • 1 14 ounce block of paneer
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

Spices

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup frozen onion masala 2 frozen cubes
  • 2 tablespoons cashew powder
  • 2 teaspoons crushed kasoori methi dried fenugreek leaves
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream divided
  • Cilantro garnish

Instructions
 

  • Cut approximately 1 inch (which is about 3 ounces) from a 14 ounce block of paneer and shred it using a hand grater. Set aside for now.
  • Cut the rest of the paneer into triangles that are ¼ inch thick OR whatever shape you'd like.
  • Melt ghee in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat and once hot, add cumin seeds and when they turn brown, add the spices all at once, quickly stir, then add the water and the onion masala and bring it to a simmer and let it cook together for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion masala melts.
  • Add the cashew powder and all but ¼ cup of the shredded paneer (reserve ¼ cup shredded paneer for garnish) and mix well.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, dried fenugreek leaves, and the paneer and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the paneer is warmed through.
  • Garnish with the ¼ cup shredded paneer, the remaining 1 tablespoon of cream, and cilantro.

Video

Notes

  • To make cashew powder, add cashews to a blender or food processor and blend until finely ground (you do not want to turn the cashews into a paste). You can also find cashew powder on amazon.
  • To crush dried fenugreek leaves, you just crush it between your fingers.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.

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Comments

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Sarah, I haven’t tested this without the onion masala but my guess would be 1 onion, 2 tomatoes and about 1 tsp of ginger paste and 1 tsp garlic paste. Let me know how it goes if you try it that way 🙂

  1. Julie says

    Ashley, this looks quite similar to your Patiala, which is my absolute favorite of yours. Would you say there’s much difference between them?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Julie, the flavor is different – the roasted cumin powder adds a unique flavor here. If you like the decadence of the Patiala, I’m sure you’ll really enjoy this recipe too 🙂 Let me know what you think if you give it a try!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Ren, I’m sure almond flour will taste great in this dish too. While I haven’t used it in this recipe, I have used it in other curries. Let me know what you think of the dish 🙂

  2. Cathy says

    5 stars
    Well Ashley you’ve done it again! Such an easy recipe (with premade Onion Masala) and it is oh so delicious…. this is comfort food at its best 🙂 and will be perfect for Fridays during Lent too! I used coconut cream in place of cream as I didn’t have any, I think it made it all the more richer…. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

  3. Cheryl P says

    Hi Ashley. The onion masala recipe looks great but it makes way too much for someone like me who lives alone. How can I make just enough for this recipe?

    • Julie says

      Cheryl the first time I tried it, I made a half batch because I also thought it would be too much, and that worked out fine. Now I actually make a double batch because I love the convenience of having it ready in the freezer.

  4. Jennifer says

    So cashew powder is not something I can find in the spice isle of the Indian grocery store? How do you usually convert the nuts into powder? Food processor? I have a pretty good blender, but it’s not a VitaMix & I don’t think it would work so well with making a fine powder out of nuts. Also, this recipe looks very tasty, & it also makes me think of labrador retriever dogs. I guess Labrador is a region in Eastern Canada . . . .

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Jennifer, do you have a spice blender – if so, you could try a small amount in there. Or you could make a large batch of powder in a food processor and store extra powder for future recipes. Let me know what you think if you try this!

    • Cathy says

      Jennifer, I ground cashews in a coffee grinder I only use for spices. You only want to do a few at a time and let the machine cool down thoroughly before doing the next bunch. If you overgrind it will become ‘paste-y’ so its best to just pulse til its just fine enough. I just took my time, ground up enough to put in a glass jar which I keep in the freezer to use in recipes, so that it doesn’t go bad.