Paneer Cheese in an Aromatic Cashew Coconut Gravy (Paneer Korma)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
paneer korma

Paneer cheese has a mild flavor and a soft texture with a high melting point, making it the perfect vehicle to capture and carry spices and seasonings. Chunks of paneer cheese adds character and substance to curries, and this one was no exception. Following along with my obsession with all things coconut lately, I couldn't resist raiding a block of paneer cheese from my stock in the freezer and giving it the coconut treatment.

Here the multitude of vibrant spices is nicely tempered and somewhat muted by nutty cashews, soothing coconut and luscious cheese. The paneer is gently simmered in an aromatic cashew and tomato gravy with coconut milk with some extra creaminess from rich Greek yogurt added near the end of the cooking time. The play of taste sensations is one you won't soon forget, and your kitchen will smell heavenly hours after dinner has been enjoyed.

Don't let the rather long list of ingredients intimidate you. Really, it is a straightforward dish to prepare with minimal preparation.

Paneer Cheese in an Aromatic Cashew Coconut Gravy (Paneer Korma)Paneer Cheese in an Aromatic Cashew Coconut Gravy (Paneer Korma)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on June 2, 2014

Plump green peas and tender pieces of paneer cheese simmered in a fragrant and delicious spiced cashew, tomato and coconut sauce

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Cashew paste:
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 inch fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 to 3 fresh red or green chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 12 raw cashews, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened grated coconut
Other ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil or other oil
  • 2 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 black cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • small handful of dried curry leaves, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek (methi) leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri or other chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
  • a few pinches of saffron threads
  • pinch of asafetida (optional)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped and puréed
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 14 oz (400 g) paneer cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen and defrosted
  • 1/4 cup plain whole fat yogurt, whisked
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • In a blender or food processor, process the onion, garlic, ginger, chilies, poppy seeds, cashews and grated coconut into a paste. Add a few teaspoons of water if needed to get the process going. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, cloves, curry leaves and fenugreek leaves. Stir for a few minutes until fragrant. Stir in ground corianer, chili powder, garam masala, mace or nutmeg, saffron and asafetida if using, and stir for another minute. Now add the cashew paste to the pan and stir for 8 to 10 minutes to brown the mixture.

  • Add the puréed tomatoes and simmer, stirring often, until thickened — about 5 minutes. Now stir in the coconut milk and salt, and simmer for another few minutes. Stir in the paneer cheese cubes and green peas, cover the pan, and gently simmer until the peas are cooked and the flavors are blended — about another 10 to 12 minutes. Stir often, adding a little water if the sauce is too thick.

  • Stir in the yogurt and fresh parsley and let simmer for another few minutes. Test for seasoning and sprinkle in a bit more garam masala if desired. Garnish generously with fresh cracked black pepper.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

paneer cheese in cashew tomato gravy

More satisfying paneer creations to stimulate the appetite:
Paneer Mushroom Masala
Paneer Tomato Curry with Indian and Thai Flavors
Asparagus with Shredded Paneer and Tomato
Butter Paneer Masala

On the top of the reading stack: Dead Souls by Gogol

Audio Accompaniment: Nicolas Bacher


Unknown said...

LOoks nice.. will try..

Eileen said...

Ooh, yes please! Indian cuisine is one of my absolute favorites. Must go get some paneer very soon!

Joanne said...

Paneer always sounds good to me! Love this creamy sauce.

Unknown said...

I'm quite the fan of paneer in a cashew but gravy, not only is it tasty but has a regal feel to it. I often add tamarind but never coconut, so will try your variation x