Paneer Lababdar is an easy-to-prepare, restaurant-style paneer (cubes of cottage cheese) dish in a creamy, slightly tangy and slightly sweet sauce. Cashews, onions, spices and tomatoes make this a delicious, rich and tasty recipe. This vegetarian Paneer Lababdar recipe is also clearly gluten-free.
About this recipe
Paneer lababdar is a famous paneer sauce dish and can be found on many Indian restaurants menu.
My paneer lababdar recipe is more Punjabi style than mughlai style with the addition of cashews, onions, spices and tomatoes. It doesn’t rely heavily on using a lot of nuts, dried fruits, or seeds. Cashews are the only nuts that are added in the recipe.
Paneer lababdar is truly a dish that you will always love to prepare for festival days or special days. Its delicacy, richness and smoothness will amaze you every time. Perfectly suitable to make for festive or special occasions.
What is the lababdar paneer made of?
Paneer lababdar sauce is made with a paste of spicy tomatoes and cashews which is then sautéed with onions, more spices and herbs, has a nice flavor and is full of flavor. Adding cream and sugar gives the dish a creamy and slightly sweet taste.
You need the basic ingredients from your usual Indian pantry to make this restaurant-style lababdar paneer recipe.
- Paneer (Indian cottage cheese): This is the main ingredient of the dish and it is important to use a good quality paneer. In fact, with all of my paneer recipes, I recommend using Homemade Paneer. This ensures freshness and prevents hidden ingredients and preservatives found in store-bought paneer.
- Tomatoes: To spice up the dish, tomatoes are an important ingredient in the sauce. Make sure you choose tomatoes that aren’t too hot or too sour.
- Cashews: The creamy consistency of paneer lababdar comes due to the cashews. The cashews are grind into a paste with the tomatoes. Cashews also add a little sweetness to the dish.
- Cream: The addition of cream also adds to the sweetness and richness of the paneer lababdar sauce, making it a restaurant-style dish.
- Onions: In the curry, the onions are not mashed, but chopped and slightly caramelized. Thus, they add a bit of sweetness and a little tangy flavor to the curry.
- Spices and Herbs: Most of the herbs and spices used in this recipe are common and you probably already have them in your kitchen. Garam masala powder can be purchased, but it’s also a great spice to make from start and have on hand.
How to make Paneer Lababdar
1. In a small saucepan, add 1.5 cups of chopped tomatoes, 1 green cardamom, 1 inch of chopped ginger, 2 to 3 chopped garlic cloves ((medium size), 10 to 12 cashews, 2 cloves and ½ cup of water. Use tomatoes that are not too hot or sour.
2. Turn on the heat and let this mixture simmer over low heat.
3. Cook until the tomatoes are tender. If the water dries up and the tomatoes aren’t still soft, add about 2-3 tablespoons of water and continue cooking. When I cooked it, almost all of the water disappeared.
4. Allow this mixture to warm up or cool completely and add it to a grinder or blender bowl.
5. Grind into a smooth paste. There should be no cashews or pieces of tomatoes in the paste. You can add water if needed during grinding. Set aside this ground tomato-cashew-spice paste.
Brown the onions and tomato paste
6. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a kadai, pan or wok. You can also use ghee or oil.
7. Add 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf) and for a few seconds, sauté it.
8. Add ½ cup finely chopped onions.
9. Mix well.
10. Then continue to sauté, stirring and cooking until the onions are lightly browned or golden.
11. Then add the tomato-cashew-spice paste. The mixture will splash if there is water in it, so be careful.
Also Read: Malai Kofta
12. Mix very well.
13. Add ½ teaspoon of cumin powder, ½ teaspoon of coriander powder (ground cilantro) and ½ teaspoon of red chili powder or cayenne pepper.
14. Stir and sauté this masala. You will see the masala clump together and gather around itself.
15. Sauté until you see fat coming out of the sides of the masala dough. The masala will also be bright and shiny.
Making Paneer Lababdar
16. Then add 1 cup of water.
17. Mix very well.
18. Add 1 or 2 sliced green peppers.
19. Stir and simmer the sauce.
20. Then season with salt.
21. Add sugar. I added ½ tsp of sugar but you can add just as per your taste.
22. Add 200 grams of paneer cut into cubes or squares. Also add 2 tablespoons of grated paneer.
Here I used fresh homemade paneer. If you are using frozen paneer, keep it in lukewarm water for a few minutes, then grate and slice it.
23. Mix gently.
24. Then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) which has been crushed with ¼ of teaspoon of garam masala powder. Mix again very well.
25. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or ¼ cup low fat cream.
26. Turn off the heat and mix well. You can also add 1 tablespoon of butter at this step or sprinkle the sauce with butter when serving. This is optional.
27. Garnish the paneer lababdar with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and julienned ginger.
Paneer Labadar goes very well with Indian flatbreads, including naan, pudina paratha or roti. Plus, this creamy sauce can be served with jeera rice or vegetable pulao.