Paneer Pulao

While there are few standard paneer recipes like paneer butter masala, kadai paneer, paneer burji, paneer tikka masala, paneer paratha, chilli paneer, the one I made today is quite different from the ordinary. On Thursdays, I make vegetable pulao or coconut milk rice with brinjal fry as the side dish.
But however, over the period of two months time, i somehow got bored with this routine and wanted to try something new. I just shallow fried paneer with my favourite spices and added it to the vegetable pulao, thereby making the dish very interesting and colourful. Here is the recipe for the drool-worthy panner pulao :)


1 cup cubed paneer/cottage cheese
2 green chillies, vertically slit
1 big onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup mix vegetables, finely chopped.
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
1-inch cinnamon stick
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves/cilantro
2 tbsp butter/ghee/oil
salt to taste
1.5 cups of basmati rice/regular rice
1 cup milk
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp ghee (optional)

For shallow frying paneer cubes:

1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp corn flour
1 tsp rice flour
a pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
2 tbsp oil/butter
1/2 tsp salt

How to make paneer pulao:

1. I have used fresh homemade paneer for making the paneer pulao. If you are using store-bought paneer, then place the paneer cubes in warm water for 15 minutes before use.

2. In a bowl, add paneer cubes and all the ingredients under "for shallow frying paneer cubes" excep oil and mix well. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

3. In a pan, add oil and heat it. Add the marinated paneer cubes to the pan carefully as not to touch each of the paneer cubes. Let it cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or until it turns golden colour on the sides.

4. Carefully flip the paneer cubes and apply some oil. Cook for few more minutes and flip the paneer cubes to cook on the sides as well. This might take a total time of 7-8 minutes.

Tip:  Do not overdo the frying, it as it might harden the paneer. I just made paneer cubes minutes before preparing the masala and hence these are all not perfect cubes today. I usually keep it in the refrigerator for at-least 4 hours after preparing paneer to set in.

5. Once the paneer seems cooked on all sides, switch off the flame and transfer it to a plate.

6. Rinse and soak the basmati rice for 20 minutes and drain the water, keep it aside.

7. In a non-stick pan/ kadai add 2 tbsp of butter. Once it starts melting add bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves.Saute for a minute.

8. Then add green chillies and onions. Saute till the onions become transparent.

9. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook till the raw smell goes off.

10. Add mixed vegetables, corn, carrots and peas. Cook on medium flame for a minute.

Tip: You can add other vegetables like potato, french beans, capsicum/bell peppers, broccoli etc. I prefer corn and peas to give a colorful texture to the pulao and my family loves these veggies too!

11. Add chopped coriander leaves and then a cup of milk. Let it boil for a minute on high flame.

Tip: If you do not prefer milk to add, then you can use cashew paste or coconut milk instead of regular milk. It would taste even more amazing :)

12. Then add soaked basmati rice and mix well so that the veggies blend well with rice.

13. Add 2.5 cups of water to the pan and salt to taste.

14. Finally, add a tbsp of ghee or butter and cook on high flame with lid closed, for about 12 minutes.

Pressure cooker instructions: If you are using a pressure cooker instead of pan/kadai, then you can cook on high for one whistle and let the pressure release by itself. Then add fried paneer and mix gently.

Tip: Adding ghee to the rice, makes the cooked rice grains to be separate and non-sticky. This step is completely optional.

15. After 12 minutes, keep the flame on the lowest mode and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until the rice is done.

16. After 17 minutes the rice is cooked well, as you can see it.

17. Now add the fried paneer cubes to the pan and mix gently. Do not break the rice. Cover the pan and simmer for 2 minutes.

18. Voila! Yummy paneer pulao is ready :)

19. Serve the pulao to your beloved ones with any vegetable like baby potato fry, onion pakoda, cauliflower pakoda, masala vada, mushroom manchurian or simply with curd.

20. I had paneer pulao with baked mix veggies.

For the baked veggies, I used broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes with some Indian spices, salt and a sprinkle of olive oil; baked on high for about 25 minutes and then the veggies are baked - totally loved it!


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