Paneer korma recipe is a creamy, rich and delicately flavored curry with a white gravy base made with almonds, onions, yogurt and spices. You can also call this recipe as white paneer kurma. The exotic flavors of this paneer curry is best savored with naan or tandoori roti.
About Paneer Korma Recipe
As is with the Indian cuisine, there are many ways a dish is prepared and so is it with this paneer korma recipe. My recipe is a North Indian dish and inspired from the rich and luxurious Mughal cuisine.
This white paneer kurma has a faintly sweet taste with a touch of sourness. The sweetness in the gravy comes from the almonds and onion paste and sour hints coming from yogurt. There are no tomatoes added in the recipe.
The gravy is mild to taste and thus goes well with kids or with folks who cannot eat spicy food. Though for a bit of heat, I have added one green chili, but you could skip it too.
There is some prep work required like making almond paste and onion paste. After preparing these two pastes, the recipe is easy to make. To the same gravy base, you can also add steamed veggies or make a curry with both veggies and paneer.
Almonds give a subtle sweet flavor and creaminess to the dish. In place of almonds, you can use cashews too. But keep in mind that with cashews the taste will be different.
White korma with paneer or veggies is a childhood favorite. Dad would get us this white gravy with naan or roti from a few restaurants in Mumbai. I have really good memories of food with dad getting us awesome food or taking us to dine out in restaurants.
Those were the days when there were no pizza huts, mc donalds’s or fast food chains. The only pizza we would occasionally have was from the Udupi restaurants in Mumbai.
A largely Indianised version with tomato ketchup as the base sauce and the popular Indian brand of Amul cheese as the cheese topping, with the usual onions, capsicum and tomatoes as the veggies. A favorite till today.
Coming back to this creamy paneer kurma, serve it with naan, tandoori roti, chapati or paratha. It also pairs nicely with biryani, cumin rice or veg pulao.
How to make Paneer Korma
1. First rinse and then blanch the almonds in hot water. Soak 20 to 22 almonds in ½ cup of hot water for 30 to 40 minutes. Cover and keep aside.
You can heat the water in an electric heater or microwave or in a small pan. If you have time, you can soak the almonds for an hour.
2. In a pan, take ¾ cup roughly chopped onions and add ¼ cup water.
3. On a low to medium heat, cook the onions and water together stirring at intervals. if in case the water dries up while cooking onions, then add some more water.
4. Simmer till the onions soften. Remove pan from the stovetop and set it aside for the onions to cool.
5. After 30 to 40 minutes, peel the almonds and set them aside.
6. Add the blanched and peeled almonds and ¼ cup of the soaking water to a grinder or small blender.
7. Make a smooth paste from the almonds without any tiny bits or chunks. Remove the almond paste in a bowl and set aside.
8. To the same blender, add the cooked onions together with the remaining water/stock.
9. Grind or blend to a fine, smooth paste and set aside.
10. Take 6 tablespoons of full fat fresh curd (yogurt) in a bowl or measuring cup and whisk well till smooth. The curd should be fresh and preferably homemade.
If using store brought yogurt, then do check the taste. The curd should not be sour or khatta as we call it in Hindi.
Make White Curry Base
11. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a pan. Lower the heat as the ghee melts.
12. Add the following whole spices and fry the spices for some seconds till fragrant.
- ½ teaspoon shahi jeera (caraway seeds)
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 2 to 3 green cardamoms
- 4 cloves
- 2 to 3 single strands of mace
- 1 small to medium tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
13. Now add the ground onion paste and mix very well with the spices and ghee. Be careful as the mixture splutters.
14. Add 2 teaspoons of ginger-garlic paste. Stir and mix again.
15. Sauté the onion paste stirring often on a low to medium-low heat until you see some fat releasing from the sides and the paste thickens.
We don’t need to brown this paste as we are preparing a white gravy. But make sure the onion paste is cooked well.
16. Now add the ground almond paste.
17. Stir continuously and saute for two minutes on a low heat.
18. Then add 1 slit green chili, ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder or white pepper powder and ½ teaspoon coriander powder.
19. Stir and mix again to combine the spices with the sautéed white paste.
20. Saute for a minute on a low heat.
21. Now first add 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of the beaten curd (yogurt) on a low heat.
22. Briskly stir and incorporate the curd with the rest of the mixture.
23. Then add again 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of the curd.
24. Stir quickly again. Adding yogurt in small amounts like these does not allow it to get curdled or split in the gravy.
25. Finish off all the curd (yogurt) this way and keep on stirring.
26. Here’s the white gravy after all the yogurt has been added.
Make Paneer Kurma
27. Then add ¾ to 1 cup water or as required.
28. Mix very well so that the whole gravy has an even consistency.
29. Add salt as required.
30. Bring the gravy to a gentle simmer on a low heat for about 4 to 5 minutes.
31. Then add the paneer cubes – 200 grams paneer which has been chopped into cubes. Stir and mix the paneer cubes gently with the white gravy.
32. Switch off heat.
33. Then add 3 tablespoons of light cream (low-fat cream or cooking cream). Swap light cream with 1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream of whipping cream.
34. Stir to combine evenly until the cream is mixed with the rest of the kurma gravy.
35. Lastly, add 1 teaspoon of rose water or kewra water (pandanus water) or ½ teaspoon of each. Mix with the gravy gently.
Serve paneer korma garnished with a few pinches of crushed saffron or ground saffron powder.
The paneer kurma pairs well with naan, tandoori roti, chapati or paratha or rumali roti. It can also be served with jeera rice or veg pulao.
Korma also called Kurma is a curried dish where the base of the curry or gravy is made with nuts, seeds, yogurt, cream, spices or onions and tomatoes. The korma base ingredients vary from where the recipe is coming from. No two kurma recipes will be same and will have their own unique flavor and taste.
Yes you can choose to omit the spices. Having said that I do suggest to sprinkle about ¼ teaspoon of Garam Masala on the gravy once the paneer kurma is cooked. Stir and then serve. You can also swap shahi jeera with cumin seeds.
Add 12 to 15 saffron strands instead. Mix the saffron strands in 1 tablespoon warm water and set aside for 10 minutes. Then add this saffron soaked water to the gravy.
Of course. You can choose to soak the cashews for about 20 to 30 minutes and then blend to a smooth and fine paste.
Paneer Korma (Paneer Kurma)
Creamy, rich and delicately flavored delicious paneer korma made in a white gravy base of blanched almonds, onions, yogurt and spices. The exotic flavors of this paneer curry is best savored with naan or tandoori roti.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Soaking Time For Almonds 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
For almond paste
For onion paste
First blanch the almonds in hot water. Rinse almonds and soak them in hot water for 30 to 40 minutes. Cover with a lid and set aside.
In a small saucepan, take the roughly chopped onions and add water.
On a medium-low to medium heat simmer the chopped onion and water together stirring at intervals. If in case the water dries up while cooking onions, then add some more water.
Simmer till the onions soften.
After 30 minutes, peel the almonds.
Add the blanched, peeled almonds and ¼ cup of the soaking water or fresh water to a grinder or small blender.
Make a fine and smooth paste from the almonds without any tiny bits or chunks. Remove almond paste in a small bowl and set it aside.
To the same blender, add the cooked onions together with the remaining stock. Grind to a smooth and fine paste.
Take the full fat fresh curd (yogurt) in a bowl or measuring cup and whisk well till smooth.
Making paneer korma
Heat ghee in a pan. Keep the heat to low.
Add the whole spices – shahi jeera, cinnamon, green cardamoms, cloves, strands of mace and tej patta. Fry the spices for some seconds till they splutter and become fragrant.
Now add the ground onion paste and stir very well with the spices and ghee. Take care as the onion paste will splutter when you add it to the pan.
Add the ginger garlic paste. Mix and stir again.
Sauté the onion paste stirring often on a low to medium-low heat till you see some fat releasing from the sides and the paste thickens. We don’t need to brown this paste as we are preparing a white gravy. But ensure that the onion paste is cooked.
Now add the ground almond paste.
Stir continuously and saute for two minutes on a low heat.
Then add 1 or 2 slit green chilies, black pepper powder or white pepper powder and coriander powder. Stir and mix again.
Saute for a minute on a low heat.
Now first add 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of the beaten curd (yogurt or dahi) on a low heat.
Briskly stir and incorporate the curd with the rest of the mixture.
Then add again 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of the curd.
Stir quickly again. Adding yogurt in small amounts like this does not allow it to split or curdle in the gravy.
Finish off all the curd (yogurt) this way and keep on stirring.
Mix thoroughly so that the whole gravy has a uniform and even consistency. Add salt as required.
Bring the gravy to a gentle simmer on a low heat – about 4 to 5 minutes.
Then add the paneer cubes and stir gently to mix the paneer cubes with the gravy. Switch off the heat
Add light cream. Mix well and switch off the heat.
Lastly, add rosewater or kewra water (pandanus) water. Again mix gently.
Serve paneer korma hot or warm garnished with crushed saffron or saffron powder.
This paneer kurma pairs very well with naan, tandoori roti, chapati or paratha. It also goes well with cumin rice or veg pulao or veg biryani.
- Instead of shahi jeera, you can use cumin seeds.
- Make this dish with fresh curd (yogurt). Do not use curd which has become sour.
- You can skip adding the whole spices and instead add ¼ teaspoon of garam masala powder when the dish is finished cooking.
- In place of almonds, feel free to use cashews. With cashews the taste will be different but will taste good.
- Do not add tomatoes in this recipe as it can make the dish taste sour and acidic.
- As is the recipe cannot be scaled as the ingredients on scaling can make the taste and flavors go out of balance.
Paneer Korma (Paneer Kurma)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 422 Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 20g125%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Vitamin A 206IU4%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 2mg13%
Vitamin K 2µg2%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 18µg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This Paneer Korma post from the blog archives first published in Jan 2015 has been republished and updated on 21 January 2022.