An aromatic and mildly spiced one-pot rice dish, this paneer dahi pulao (yogurt marinated paneer pilaf) is an easy option for both busy days and special nights.
Paneer! Those soft cubes of soft, creamy, cheesy delight! You either love it or hate it. Since paneer is made without fermentation, it rarely stands on its own and is mostly used as a vehicle for delivering flavor. From tikka to makhani to even kheer, paneer can be used in savory and sweet dishes. When it comes to savory paneer dishes, the sky is literally the limit. You can simply shallow fry some paneer cubes to garnish your pilaf and biryani. Or use paneer as a vegetarian substitute to chicken and meat in curries.
Fried paneer pieces that I intend to use in my pulao rarely makes it into the actual pulao. A certain little paneer monster here literally gobbles them all up. So it was time to up my game.
Instead of simply using paneer as a garnish for pulao, I decided to treat it just as I would chicken and vegetables, and cooked yogurt marinated paneer along with the rice and spices.
Paneer cubes are marinated briefly in yogurt and spices. Meanwhile, onions and aromatics get sautéed in ghee. Gently toast long-grained rice in this and then add the paneer along with the marinade. Give it a stir and cook with enough water till rice is fluffy and has absorbed all the flavors. Top with cashew nuts, raisins and onion slices fried in ghee (birista) and you are all set!
It is a simple recipe that comes together very fast and is sure to please everyone at the dinner table. The recipe is easily scaled up to feed a larger crowd for parties and potlucks as well.
I can simply eat a plateful of this paneer dahi pulao, but feel free to serve it with other curries and grilled meat. Here are some dishes that go well with this delicious paneer pulao.
- Tandoori chicken/tangdi kebabs.
- Dum ka murgh (slow cooked spicy chicken curry).
- Choley or chana masala.
- Tamarind and spice rubbed roast chicken.
Here’s how to make this easy paneer pulav recipe.
- Paneer - 250gm, cut into small cubes
- Yogurt - ¼ cup
- Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
- Red chili powder - 1 tsp
- Garam masala powder - ½ tsp
- Salt - ½ tsp
- Basmati rice - 1 cup
- Ghee - 2 tbsp
- Cinnamon - 2" stick
- Cloves - 2
- Cardamom - 3 pods
- Bay leaves - 2, dried
- Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
- Red onion - 1 large, finely chopped
- Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tsp
- Tomato paste - 1 tsp
- Water - 1½ cups
- Salt - to taste
- Cilantro leaves - 1 tbsp, chopped
- Ghee or oil - 2 tbsp
- Cashew nuts - 5-6
- Golden raisins - 8-10
- Onion - ¼ cup, thinly sliced
- Marinating paneer: In a small bowl, mix together paneer and other marinade ingredients. Set aside while you prep the pulao.
- Making pulao: Wash and soak rice in water for 15-20 minutes.
- In a large pan or pressure cooker, heat ghee. Add whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves and cumin seeds) and allow them to sputter.
- Now add onions and saute till lightly golden. Then add ginger-garlic paste and saute till raw smell goes away.
- Add tomato paste, if using, and saute for a few more seconds.
- Now add the paneer cubes, shaking off excess marinade and mix well.
- Add drained rice and mix well to coat with the spices.
- Add water to the bowl with leftover marinade and mix well. Add 1½ cups of liquid to the pan along with salt and cilantro. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook covered till rice is done. This takes around 20 minutes for a covered pan. If using a pressure cooker, cook on medium-high heat for 2 whistles and allow steam to be released naturally before opening the lid.
- Open the lid and gently fluff the pulao.
- Garnish: In a small pan, heat ghee. Add cashews and raisins and fry till golden. Drain and set aside. Then add onions to the ghee and fry them a dark brown color.
- Garnish prepared pulao with fried cashews, raisins and onions just before serving. Serve with raita or curry of choice.
Enjoy fluffy, mildly spiced paneer dahi pulao!
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Do you like paneer? What recipes do you use it in? Do share. Do give this recipe a try and let me know how it goes.
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I am sharing this over at Fiesta Friday.