Achari Paneer Recipe - Here achar (or achaar) is the Hindi term meaning pickle. As the name says, the gravy is made from pickling spices which are usually used in making typical Indian pickle.
Here pickling spices are dry roasted and ground into powder form. Among all the pickling spices, carefully measure and add fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds. If you increase the quantity by mistake, the gravy will taste bitter.
As you may aware that Indian pickle (achaar) has sour taste. So to imitate this taste, we are using fresh yogurt (curd or dahi) here. This gives mild sour taste to the gravy.
Addition of yogurt and heavy cream both makes the gravy creamy.
The overall taste and flavor of this achari paneer masala gravy is very different and unique compared to typical North Indian paneer gravies like paneer butter masala, kadai paneer, matar paneer, paneer makhani where onion tomato is used for making gravy.
How to make Achari Paneer Recipe (Step by Step Photos):
1) First take all the achari masala powder spices (fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, kalonji, fennel seeds, cumin seeds) in a pan and turn the heat on medium low.
2) Dry roast them with stirring constantly for few minutes or till you get the nice aroma of cumin and fennel seeds. Also mustard seeds might starts to get splutter.
3) Then remove it to a bowl and let it cool down slightly.
4) Make powder using spice grinder or in mixi. Keep it aside.
5) Heat the mustard oil in a pan on medium heat. Heat it till it gets smokey then turn off the stove and let it cool down. By doing this, pungent taste of mustard oil is mellowed down. After that again turn the heat back on medium heat. Once hot add onions and mix.
6) Cook till onions get soft and light pink or translucent in color.
7) Now add ginger paste and garlic paste.
8) Saute for 1 minute or till the raw smell of ginger garlic goes away.
9) Now add salt, prepared pickle masala powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and amchur powder.
10) Mix and saute for 30 seconds. This time lower the heat, so spices do not get burnt.
11) Now add besan.
12) Mix and saute for 1 minute with stirring constantly.
13) Now add whisked, smooth yogurt and immediately mix with spatula so it does not get curdled.
14) Add water and add let it come to a simmer and then crank the heat back to medium and continue simmering for 4-5 minutes.
15) Add paneer.
16) Gently mix and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
17) Add kasoori methi, mix.
18) Also add heavy whipping cream.
19) Mix and cook for a minute.
20) Lastly add chopped coriander leaves and serve.
As it sits the gravy will thicken more because we have added besan in the gravy. So if serving after some time or after few hours then keep the gravy slightly thinner by adding little more water. So at the time of serving gravy has right consistency.
Serving suggestion: this achari paneer masala gravy goes well with tandoori roti, lachha paratha or plain paratha, naan or garlic naan. It can be served with simple basmati rice or jeera rice.
Achari Paneer Recipe (Achari Paneer Masala Gravy with Pickling Spices)
For Achari Masala Powder:
- ⅛ teaspoon Fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- ½ teaspoon Mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon Kalonji (Onion seeds or Nigella seeds)
- 1 teaspoon Fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
For Achari Paneer Recipe:
- 7 oz or 200 grams Paneer cut into long strips or cubes
- 2 tablespoons Mustard oil
- ½ cup Red onion finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons Ginger paste or freshly grated or crushed
- 2 teaspoons Garlic paste or freshly grated
- Salt to taste
- 1 ½ teaspoons Red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon Coriander powder
- ¼ teaspoon Garam masala
- ½ teaspoon Amchur powder (dried mango powder)
- 1 ½ teaspoons Besan (gram flour)
- ¾ cup Plain yogurt (curd or dahi) whisked till smooth
- ¾ cup Water
- ½ teaspoon Kasoori methi (Dried fenugreek leaves)
- 2 tablespoons Heavy whipping cream or fresh cream or malai
- 2 tablespoons Cilantro or coriander leaves
Making Achari Masala Powder:
- Take all the spices listed under masala powder in a pan.
- Dry roast them with stirring constantly on medium heat till you get nice aroma of the spices.
- Then remove it to a plate or bowl and let it cool down.
- Once cooled, grind into powder using spice grinder.
Making Achari Paneer Recipe:
- Heat the mustard oil till it is smoking and then cool it down. Once cooled again heat the oil on medium heat.
- Once hot add onions and saute till soft and light pink in color.
- Mix in ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute or till the raw smell goes away.
- Then mix in salt, prepared spice powder and remaining mentioned spice powders (red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, amchur powder). Saute for 30 seconds.
- Lower the heat so spices do not burn and then add besan. Roast with stirring continuously for a minute.
- Add whisked yogurt and mix right away to avoid curdling.
- Also add water and let the mixture come to a boil.
- Then crank the heat to medium and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.
- Now add paneer, kasoori methi and heavy cream. Mix gently and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Switch of the gas heat and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.