Paneer musallam is the ultimate vegetarian main dish. A special occasion dish, worthy of your holiday table. The best part is – this stunning dish is surprisingly simple to make!
What is Paneer Musallam?
Paneer musallam is a vegetarian take on Murgh Musallam, a masala-coated whole chicken. Murgh Musallam is a royal dish that was created in imperial kitchens during India’s Mughal era. For this veg version, we’re replacing chicken with paneer – and simplifying the recipe without getting rid of all the bells and whistles that make this dish worthy of royalty. Because you, my friend, are a [insert the word: King, Queen, Noble Person, Jester – heh].
Paneer musallam looks a bit like a three-layer sandwich. The two outer layers consist of pan-fried paneer and the middle is a creamy filling made up of dry milk powder, nuts, and golden raisins. Then, we top it off in a rich, creamy masala sauce.
Paneer Musallam Ingredients
The ingredients list may look long – mostly due to spices – but the process of making this is quite simple. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Paneer: I use a 12 ounce block of paneer, but a slightly larger block will work too. Paneer comes in all different shapes – I suggest using a thicker block of paneer if possible so you’ll have thicker layers. However any thickness will work – so don’t let that stop you. I would weigh it out and try to use 12 to 14 ounces though.
- Onion Masala: this saves so much time – highly recommend keeping a stash in the freezer.
- Yogurt: I suggest plain whole milk yogurt. No need to marinate the paneer – we’re adding this right into the sauce.
- Heavy Cream
- Spices: saffron, kasoori methi, salt, pepper, coriander powder, garam masala, paprika, roasted cumin powder, turmeric, cardamom powder, cayenne
- Cashew Flour: I suggest grinding your own raw cashews to make this.
- Dry Milk Powder
- Pistachios: I suggest using raw pistachios because they are a brighter shade of green and make the dish look nice.
- Almond Flour
- Golden Raisins
How to Make Paneer Musallam
Slice the block of paneer in half lengthwise and then pan-fry it until mostly golden brown.
Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl and then spread the filling in between the two slices of fried paneer.
Add the sauce ingredients to the pan and simmer until slightly thickened. Then pour it all over the paneer and garnish with a heavy cream drizzle, cilantro and chopped pistachio.
Slice it up and admire those beautiful layers!
What to Serve with Paneer Musallam:
You can serve this dish with Basmati Rice or eat it with naan. It’d also be great with a side of roasted vegetables. Here are some ideas:
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 12 ounce block Paneer sliced in half lengthwise
- ½ cup thawed onion masala 2 cubes
- ¼ cup plain whole milk yogurt
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon cashew flour*
- 1 big pinch saffron
- 1 tablespoon crushed Kasoori methi
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons dry milk powder
- 2 tablespoons raw green pistachios chopped
- 1 tablespoon almond flour
- 1 tablespoon cashew flour*
- 1 tablespoon golden raisins chopped
- chopped pistachios, saffron, heavy cream, cilantro garnish
- Cut paneer in half lengthwise.
- Heat a nonstick pan (I like the Always Pan) over medium to medium-high heat (all stoves are different), wait for a minute for the pan to get hot, then add ghee and once it melts, add the paneer and fry for 1-2 minutes, then flip over and fry for another 1-2 minutes, or or until mostly golden brown. Take the paneer out and set it aside on a plate for now.
- Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Put the filling in between the two slices of fried paneer.
- Add the sauce ingredients to the pan and mix well, bring to a simmer and then cook for 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Pour the sauce overtop and garnish with a heavy cream drizzle, cilantro, and chopped pistachio. Slice and serve!
- *To make cashew flour, I suggest grinding raw cashews.