Spicy Cashew-Crusted Paneer with Tomato-Cashew Gravy

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Among the many extraordinary ingredients found in Indian cuisine, paneer cheese is high on the list of my personal favourites — if 26 previous recipes hadn't convinced you of that already. Made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice and pressing the curds into a firm cake, this unripened cheese is one of the great cooking cheeses of the world, remaining firm when cooked and with a mild milky taste that takes on the flavourings of spices or other ingredients that you're cooking it with. A significant source of protein for India's large vegetarian population, paneer cheese is easily found in any Indian, Middle Eastern or Asian grocer, and you can freeze it to keep a plentiful supply on hand.

paneer marinated

Paneer cheese recipe #27 is a simple protein and flavour packed dish that makes a wonderful light dinner served with fresh hot cooked rice. Cubes of paneer cheese are marinated overnight in a spicy tamari and yogurt sauce, then rolled in crushed cashews and fried to give them a beautiful golden-brown nutty crunch, and served with a fragrant tangy tomato and cashew gravy. Substitute peanuts for an even nuttier taste.

A reminder that submissions to this month's No Croutons Required will be accepted until the 20th. Soups and salads featuring black-eyed peas is the theme. Please submit your recipe. I might even extend the date a bit, as I hardly have any entries so far - a shame as this is a fine legume and easy to cook up. It can something in your archives, but please do link back to my announcement.

Spicy Cashew-Crusted Paneer with Tomato-Cashew GravySpicy Cashew-Crusted Paneer with Tomato-Cashew Gravy
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on January 18, 2012

Paneer cheese cubes marinated in a spicy tamari and yogurt sauce and fried in a golden-brown cashew coating, served with a tangy and spicy tomato and cashew gravy

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  • 14 oz paneer cheese,
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tamari sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup raw cashews, crushed to a powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
Tomato-Cashew Gravy:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 green chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Cut the paneer cheese into 1-inch or bite-sized cubes and add to a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, tamari sauce, salt, cayenne and turmeric. Pour the yogurt mixture over the paneer and gently toss to coat the cheese cubes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, spread the crushed cashews over a plate. Roll the coated paneer cubes through the crushed cashews and add the pieces to the heated frying pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes, turning frequently, until the paneer has turned a golden colour. Remove from heat and use tongs to remove the paneer from the pan. Set aside.

  • Wipe the pan and return to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Toss in the onion and cumin seeds, and stir for 2 minutes until the onion just starts to turn translucent. Stir in the ground coriander to coat the onion, then add the chilies, ginger and chopped cashews, and continue to cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, turmeric and cayenne, and stir for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes have reduced.

  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the salt. If you wish to have a smooth gravy, remove the sauce from the pan and process in a blender or food processor, and return to the pan. Now add the cooked paneer cubes and simmer for 5 minutes to let the cheese warm up again. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Makes 4 servings
Spicy Cashew-Crusted Paneer with Tomato-Cashew Gravy

Other paneer recipes from my kitchen:
Paneer Tikka Masala
Paneer Mushroom Masala
Paneer Butter Masala

On the top of the reading stack: The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje

Audio Accompaniment: Sasha - Involver


Simona Carini said...

I didn't know you could freeze paneer. I have never tried to make paneer at home, but I have made chenna, which is fairly similar to paneer. I like the idea of marinating the cheese.

Lisa Turner said...

I always have lots of paneer cheese on hand in the freezer -- never know when I'm going to want some! I think the only difference between chenna and paneer cheeses is that the paneer is pressed to make it firmer.

Anh said...

fantastic! I too have some paneer in the freezer, ready to use!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This recipe for paneer really appeals to me Lisa so it is bookmarked. As I've mentioned before I have even found a source for paneer without taking the extra step of making it myself:D I am a happy camper.

Vani said...

Oooh, that does sound heavenly!

Priya Suresh said...

Mouthwatering here, wat a terrific and super tempting dish..

Chitra said...

This is very new to me. looks gr8 :)

Aarthi said...

awesome dish..i love it

Johanna GGG said...

love the sound of this recipe - maybe I need a block in the freezer - can it be cooked straight from the freezer? I have found that a favourite dish from a local indian restaurant is paneer deep fried in a chickpea flour batter (am going to post about it tomorrow)

re NCR - would love to be in it but I have been very strict this month in trying to return to dishes from my blog rather than making lots of new ones while I try to tame a blog backlog so I can't see myself managing it this month - but will look forward to seeing what is sent in

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Johanna;

I usually take it out of the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge. It is much easier to work with that way. Sorry you don't have time to send in an entry this month. I totally understand blog backlog - going through that myself right now, though I suppose really it is a constant battle.

Yogi Kitchen said...

All of my favourite ingredients, we leave India in just over a week, I might be able to get Adam to make this as our last paneer dish here, the local paneer is so good, no additives and cheap we have been treating ourselves more than usual. I also like Johanna's idea of the chickpea flour batter paneer...we're off to have another chickpea flour battered fried chilli breakfast now...

Will also rejoin NCR when our feet are more on the ground in London.

Caffettiera said...

I peruse your paneer recipe list regularly - it is a recent discovery as an ingredient, and I can't stop myself. Thank you for this one!

test it comm said...

I really like the sound of crusting paneer like this!

NG said...

i made this yesterday..
loved the soy/tamari sauce flavour,
thanks for sharing :)