Achar means pickle in Hindi and any recipe with the term achari means they are made with the spices used for making Indian pickles. Vegetarian and gluten free recipe.
Paneer or cottage cheese is a very common affair at our home. I make them at least twice a week and try to make various gravies for paneer to avoid repetition of taste and flavor.
While we love the mild and rich gravies like shahi paneer, palak paneer types, sometimes we need gravies that are spicy, robust and full of complex flavors.
One recipe I always resort to when I want to make a spicy paneer gravy is achari paneer recipe. Made with complex whole spices used for Indian pickles, this paneer achari gravy is so good with varied flavors.
This paneer achari recipe is again a vegetarian alternate for popular ahcari recipes like achari gohst, and achari chicken.
I tasted this paneer gravy in a friend’s place many years back and also got the recipe from her. Ever since I have been this recipe and it is one of our favorites.
This is a really a very good recipe of achari paneer . The gravy is so tasty, flavors are well balanced and it is not overly hot or very pungent unlike the restaurant style ones.
Yes, in most of the restaurant style recipe achari paneer is overly spicy and very pungent from the over use of leftover achari masala.
So it is a real good to try at home where you can control the amount of spices and make it as you prefer, right?
Next time when you crave a robust and flavorful curry or a comforting weeknight dinner, do try this out!
About This Recipe
What Is Achari Paneer?
This is a delicious, flavorful and very easy dhaba style curry made with paneer, pickling spices , yogurt or curd and few other simple ingredients.
Unlike popular restaurant paneer curries, this recipe does not use cream, cashew paste etc. The base of this paneer recipe is onion, tomatoes along with a touch of yogurt.
It makes good sense to use yogurt in this recipe as it tames down the heat and also balances the spiciness and pungency from achari masala or pickling spices.
Why This Recipe Works
It is super easy to make achari paneer at home. My recipe of achari paneer is quick to make, straight forward and yields one of the best tasting curry in the town 🙂
I have also listed some variations, step by step photos, tips and serving ideas.
If you have leftover masala from achar you can easily use it else you can make the spice powder as mentioned in the recipe. Either way it will taste good.
If you like the flavor and taste of pickling spices, you can make this achari masala powder in bulk and store for a month. This way making achari recipes will be a breeze for you. You can use this spice powder to make any north Indian style pickle too.
This spice powder can also be used to make achari paneer tikka recipe.
This achari paneer masala is one of my go to paneer curries to make during winters. The warmth and heat from whole spices is so good when there is a nip in the air.
Do try this easy recipe and enjoy. This Achari paneer masala is
Flavorful, delicious and packed with punch
Easy to make one of a kind
Vegetarian & gluten free
Quick & easy to make
Has mild flavor & not very pungent.
What Is Achari Masala Powder & How To Make It
Achari masala powder or pickling spice powder is blend of select whole spices used for making Indian achars
This spice powder can be used for many recipes like achari paneer tikka, achari gobi, achari aloo.
Traditionally the whole spices are roasted and pounded in a mortar and pestle but you can use a high power mixer grinder or spice grinder or coffee grinder. To make achari masala powder take the following spices.
6 dried Kashmiri red chillies
1/2 teaspoon each mustard seeds or rai
nigella seeds or kalonji
fenugreek seeds or methi seeds
fennel seeds or saunf.
Other than this turmeric is also added for picking but we will add turmeric powder while making the curry.
Heat a small pan and dry roast all the ingredients in low flame until they turn fragrant. Let cool and blend to a smooth or coarse powder.
How To Make Achari Paneer Recipe
First we will make the spice powder with pickling spices.
Heat a small pan and add the whole spices- 6 dried red chilies, 1/2 teaspoon each- kolonji, fennel seeds, methi, mustard seeds.
Dry roast in low heat forv5-6 minutes or until they turn fragrant.
Let cook for few minutes and pound to a coarse powder.
In the meantime finely chop 1 large onion (3/4 cup chopped onions), puree 4 large tomatoes (2 cups tomato puree), mince 1/2 inch peeled ginger and 2-3 cloves garlic well. You can also use ginger garlic paste.
How To Make Achari Paneer Masala
Heat 1 tablespoon mustard oil in a pan.
Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds and chili flakes.
Add chopped onions and saute till they turn soft. Now add ginger garlic paste or minced ginger and garlic.
Add the tomato puree and mix well.
Now add spice powder namely turmeric powder, red chilli powder. roasted cumin powder and the prepared achari or pickle spices.
Mix well and cook in medium flame for 12- 15 minutes keeping the pan closed or until oil leaves the sides of the pan.
Lower the flame and add well whisked curd. Mix very well. Season with salt to taste.
How To Make Achari Paneer Gravy
Let the gravy simmer and thicken for 4-5 minutes or until some traces of oil is seen in the top
Add paneer cubes and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Do not simmer for more time than mentioned as the paneer will turn hard as well as the gravy may turn bitter.
Finally add crushed kasuri methi and remove from flame. Add finely chopped coriander leaves and mix. You can also add 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice and some ginger juliennes
Serve achari paneer warm with butter naan, roti, or steamed basmati rice and salad.
Tips + Variations
If you are using store bought paneer keep the paneer cubes in warm water for 20 minutes.
To make this achari paneer masala recipe more pungent you can add pickle oil along with masala from any pickle you might have like mango pickle, lemon pickle etc.
Mustard oil lends a very authentic and traditional taste to this recipe. If you do not want to use mustard oil you can add any vegetable oil.
After adding paneer cubes do not cook the gravy for long as it will turn the paneer hard.
You can add more red chili powder for a spicier curry.
This achari paneer masala tastes best with all Indian breads, rice varieties.
Serve hot with some fresh coriander leaves and lemon wedges.
More Gravy Recipes
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Achari Paneer Gravy
For achari masala or pickle spices
- 4 dried red chilies or 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon methi seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
For making achari paneer curry
- 2 tablespoons oil or butter
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
- 3/4 cup chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste or minced ginger and garlic
- 2 cups tomato puree from 4 large tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/2 cup fresh yogurt/ curd well whisked
- 200 grams cubed paneer
- salt to taste
- 2 teaspoons crushed kasuri methi
Making Achari spice blend
- Heat a pan and add the picked dry spices. Roast in low flame for 4-5 minutes.
- Pound using a mortar and pestle. You can also let cool and grind in a coffee or dry grinder.
Making the Paneer Curry
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil or butter in a pan. Temper with cumin seeds, nigella seeds and chili flakes.
- Add chopped onions and saute till they turn soft.
- Add the tomato puree and mix well.
- Now add spice powder namely turmeric powder, red chili powder and the prepared achari or pickle spices.
- Mix well and cook in medium flame for 12- 15 minutes keeping the pan closed or until oil leaves the sides of the pan. Lower the flame and add well whisked curd. Mix very well. Season with salt to taste.
- Add cubed paneer and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Finally add crushed kasuri methi and remove from flame.
- Serve achari paneer warm with butter naan, roti, or steamed basmati rice and salad.
- Make sure roast the spices only in low flame. Saute continuously as these spices are very delicate and will burn easily.
- You can double or halve the recipe.
- Vegans can use tofu instead of paneer.