Chickpeas and Paneer in a Spicy Creamy Cashew Gravy

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Chickpeas and Paneer in a Spicy Creamy Cashew Gravy

If the winter blues are getting you down, this creamy chickpea and paneer dishis certain to cheer you up. The only positive thing I can say about the snow is that it gives me a chance to get some exercise with all of the shoveling that needs to be done lately. I am especially eager for spring this year. Let the global warming begin!

Chickpeas and Paneer in a Spicy Creamy Cashew GravyChickpeas and Paneer in a Spicy Creamy Cashew Gravy
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on March 6, 2010

Plump, buttery soft chickpeas and tender pieces of fried paneer cheese simmered in a mouthwatering spicy cashew and tomato gravy

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

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  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas (4 1/2 cups cooked or 3 14 oz cans))
  • 4 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil
  • 14 oz (400 g) paneer cheese, cut into cubes
Green paste:
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 3 to 4 fresh green chilies, seeded and chopped
Cashew paste:
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2/3 cup cream or milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
Other ingredients:
  • small handful of dried curry leaves or 1 bay leaf
  • 2 dried whole red chilies
  • 3 black cardamon pods, split in the middle
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley or coriander, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 2/3 to 2 cups water
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in enough water to cover. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the chickpeas are buttery soft. Drain and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee, butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the paneer and fry for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring and turning frequently, until the cubes are browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  • Using a blender or a large mortar and pestle, make a green paste of the onions, garlic, ginger and fresh chilies. Add a bit of water if necessary to blend.

  • Soak the cashews in the cream or milk with the saffron for 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender or mortar and pestle, add the tomato, and process until the mixture is turned into a paste.

Cooking instructions:
  • Heat the remaining ghee, butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the curry leaves of bay leaf, dried whole red chilies, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and sugar. Stir for 1 minute or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Add the turmeric, ground cumin, chili flakes and cayenne to the pan, stir briefly, and then add the green onion and chili paste. Stir for several minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.

  • Add the chickpeas and stir for another 5 minutes. Now add the cashew paste, fried paneer cheese, garam masala, parsley or coriander, and salt. Add 1 2/3 cups of water and simmer until the gravy is thickened, adding more water as necessary to achieve your desired consistency.

  • Serve hot with fresh cooked white rice or an Indian flatbread such as roti or naan.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Chickpeas and Paneer in a Spicy Creamy Cashew Gravy

More paneer recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Paneer Mushroom Masala
Macaroni and Paneer Cheese
Kidney Beans in a Slowly Simmered Tomato Sauce
Shredded Paneer with Tomatoes, Chilies, Mushrooms and Chickpeas

On the top of the reading stack: Tales of Love & Loss by Knut Hamsun

Audio accompaniment: Drawing Of Sound by Windy and Carl


Johanna GGG said...

That looks wonderful and I have enough of this to try it - of course I need to amend the recipe for my needs too but if I can get some paneer that recipe is happening in my kitchen!

Joanne said...

This looks like just the kind of dish I would love. I have been dreaming about paneer lately...

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Paneer's a favourite here too, though I've never tried it with chickpeas.
Looks and sounds tempting.

Vaishali Sharma said...

This looks delicious!

Jennyjen said...

Wow. This looks so gourmet and scrumptious. The creamy cashew gravy sounds amazing!

Suparna said...

it's an interesting preparation Lisa :)

Gattina Cheung said...

I heart paneer and creamy gravy... love your dish!!!

Soma said...

never really thought of combining paneer and chana in a curry until now! I make a pulav with brown chickpeas and paneer..

Made a salad yesterday and thought about the ncr theme.. have been missing entering the event lately. will post it:-)

Lisa Turner said...

Always happy to get a contribution from you Soma! Looking forward to that salad.

MapMaster said...

I've had chickpeas and paneer before, but the cashew gravy makes this combination outstanding.

Niki Turner said...

Hi Lisa, I am still around, love this recipe. Always great popping in here to see what lovely meals you have created :-)

eatme_delicious said...

I love the sound of cashew gravy. Lucky friend! This looks amazing.

Hannah said...

I've been reading your blog for a little while but, this is the first thing I made. It was the most delicious dish my husband and I have eaten recently! I was wondering, do you have any paneer tutorials in your backlog? I've made it a few times and am not that happy with my results

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Hannah;

You know, I have never made fresh paneer, though I have always meant to! Lazy me gets it in blocks from the local Indian grocery store. You might find these links helpful:


Hannah said...

Thank you, Lisa :) I used to buy paneer but, big alas, couldn't find any in my new town.

oak dining room table said...

This has been a personal favorite ever since I tried making this one! Lovely dish this is!

Jake said...

I had to leave a note and a big thank you for an amazing recipe! My girlfriend and I can not think of a better curry that we have eaten before - This will be made again for sure - I can see this working very well with pumpkin also -

Regards -

moutushi said...

This was a beautiful & delicious recipe.