Paneer Pulao is an Indian rice dish to which shallow fried cubes of Indian cheese – Paneer, is added. It makes a very good main course dish for a vegetarian dinner.
Pulao is usually my go-to dish when I am running short of time or I cannot think of what to make for dinner. Rice is always comforting and a smattering of vegetables added to it, makes it reasonably healthy. Paired with plain yogurt or a raita, it makes a fairly balanced vegetarian meal.
When my client Pure and Sure sent me their special Organic Pulav Masala, I wanted to try something special with it. So when we were to have friends over for dinner, I jumped on the idea of making a paneer pulao, where paneer is not only added to the pulao when it’s cooking but also pieces of marinated shallow fried paneer as a topping over the pulao.
The special Pulav Masala contains cumin, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, bay leaf, chilli powder, cardamom, turmeric, clove and mace. It is quite possible for such a spice mix to get overwhelming, but this masala has a fine balance of spices, taking care of the proportion of the more intense ones.
Do ensure that the quality of paneer used in this Paneer Pulao is fresh and soft, otherwise, the pieces can stand out as rubbery knobs in a bed of rice, and that doesn’t make for a pleasant dining experience. I speak out of personal experience. Okay, don’t judge me! 🙂
I have used the Jeera rice variety, also called Ambemohar rice, as it has a lovely fragrance and this rice is much suited to making pulaos. Use basmati rice if you like though. Try making this paneer pulao / pulav for your next dinner party, paired with a simple cucumber and mint raita for the main course.
This recipe serves 6-8 people for a dinner party, typically 8, if you have more dishes on the menu.
More Paneer Recipes for you:
Paneer Pulao Using a Special Pulav Masala
- 2 cups Jeera rice
- 2 tbsps Ghee
- 2 Bay leaf
- 4 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks pieces
- 1 cardamom black
- 3 cardamom green
- 2 tsps Jeera cumin seeds /
- 1 onion large
- 2 carrots medium
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 potato
- 1/2 cup green peas
- 400 grams paneer
- 2.5 tsps salt
- 3 tsps Pulao Masala Or use curry powder
- 1 tsp + 2 tsp ghee or oil
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsps yogurt
- 2 tsps gram flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsps coriander leaves
- Wash and soak the jeera / ambemohar rice in plenty of water for 20 minutes.
- Finely slice onions. Peel and dice carrots. Deseed and chop the bell pepper into squares. Peel and dice potato into cubes. Dice 200 grams paneer into cubes.
- Chop the remaining 200 grams paneer into cubes and marinate in a large bowl with oil, red chilli powder, turmeric, yogurt, 1/2 tsp salt, gram flour. Keep aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed pan, heat the ghee. Add all the whole spices.
- Once the spices puff up / crackle, add the sliced onions, diced carrots, potatoes and bell peppers. Saute for 30 seconds. Add the diced (plain) paneer. Stir well. Add the green peas, pulav masala, salt (2.5 tsp) and stir to mix.
- Add 4 cups of water. Cover and bring to a simmer. Add the rice, stir well, cover and cook on a low flame for 10-12 minutes, until water is absorbed and rice is cooked.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp oil in pan. Remove the marinated paneer pieces with a slotted spoon. Drain off excess marinade and shallow fry the pieces on medium flame until golden brown on all sides. Do not fry for too long, or they will turn rubbery.
- Remove the cooked pulao in a large platter. Arrange golden paneer pieces over the top. Garnish with fresh coriander.