Try my recipe for Achari Paneer – a spicy vegetarian curry with paneer cheese in a creamy & tangy yoghurt gravy, flavoured with hot mango pickles! The perfect recipe to enjoy authentic Indian cuisine in your own home.
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Achari Paneer – the vegetarian curry you have not tried yet, but should!
Once in a while, it is time to introduce a new curry into the dinner – repertoire, right? Having had a lot of butter chicken and Asian coconut-based curries lately, I was looking for something new, bold and authentic. Preferably meatless, as we are trying to cut down on the animal proteins.
Scanning the internet for vegetarian Indian curries, I came across a dish called achari paneer, which immediately got my attention. It had paneer cheese in it, which is my favourite meat replacement on earth, plus it listed mango pickles as one of the ingredients for the gravy.
I don’t know about you but I am obsessed with mango pickles. Indian mango pickles are not sweet, but more sour, spicy, salty and…well, powerful! I would not want to miss them in my kitchen. Admittedly, I hardly ever use them in the proper context – meaning, for Indian dishes, but rather add a tbsp into my hummus or put them in grilled cheese. Try it, it is life-changing stuff. Anyways, mango pickle – flavoured yoghurt gravy sounded like tangy and creamy curry perfection to me! And it really is!
Authentic Indian cooking starts with the toasting and grinding of whole spices
This cheesy and creamy deliciousness called achari paneer is definitely a must for fans of vegetarian Indian curries. We kick off the Indian kitchen magic by making our own spice mix and frying paste. That includes the toasting and grinding of whole spices, using an Electric Coffee or Spice Grinder . I love this step as it makes the whole kitchen smell like an Indian restaurant! Next, we make put some onion, garlic, ginger and chilli into a blender to create a basic spicy frying paste. Making a paste like this is actually easier than chopping all the ingredients and it will make for a smoother gravy in the end.
The unique warming spice mix, including chillies, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and cardamom combined with the heat from the mango pickles make this vegetarian curry a delicious, healthy dinner option for the cold season.
What I love most about achari paneer masala, is the perfect, thick-yet-pourable consistency of the gravy. The secret is a mix of ground cashew nuts, thick, plain yoghurt, cream or coconut cream, and chickpea flour as a binding agent. If you have nut allergies, you can leave them out, of course.
If you are a fan of authentic Indian food, you will love this easy vegetarian curry! The big cubes of soft paneer cheese in the tangy, creamy gravy served over fluffy basmati rice are a curry lover’s dream. The mango pickles are not dominating the flavour profile but rather kick in in the end with a bit of a spicy aftertaste. You can up or lower the amount of pickles, according to your taste.
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Disclaimer: A note about affiliate links in this post: some of these links will take you to Amazon where I may receive a small percentage of sales, at no extra cost to you.
Vegetarian Curry with Paneer, Yoghurt & Mango Pickles | Achari Paneer | Gluten-free & Clean
An easy, tangy and spicy vegetarian curry with paneer cheese, yoghurt gravy and mango pickles! Perfect for a gluten-free diet and clean eating!
- 200 g basmati rice
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 2 pods green cardamom
- 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
- 10 cashew nuts
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 15 g ginger, fresh
- 1 green chili, fresh
- 1 Tomato
- 1 dried red chili
- 250 g plain yoghurt
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp mango pickles
- 1,5 tbsp besan (chickpea) flour
- 250 g paneer cheese
- fresh mint or cilantro for decoration
- 100 ml full-fat cream or coconut cream
Rinse the rice and soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Drain in a sieve and put rice into a small to medium-sized pot. Add 350 ml of water and 3/4 tsp of salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce temperature to the lowest setting, put the lid on and let boil for 11 minutes. Then, remove pot from heat without lifting the lid and let stand until the masala is done.
Add the first five spices to a small pan and toast without fat on medium heat until fragrant, for about 1 to 1,5 minutes. Let cool and grind spices in a coffee grinder or spice mill.
Grind nuts into fine powder.
Peel onion and garlic and chop coarsely. Cut ginger into small chunks. Halve the chilli and scrape out the seeds. Chop it up coarsely. Put onion, garlic, ginger and chilli into a blender and puree to a paste. Wash tomato and cut into small chunks.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a medium pan over medium heat and add the dried chilli. Fry chilli until it begins to brown. Add onion-paste and let fry, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until the raw onion-smell evaporates.
Add tomato, chilli powder, coriander and mango pickles to the pan and let fry for another 2 minutes. Add ground nuts and fry for 2 minutes more, then add the spice mix from above (step 2)
Add besan flour and stir well, until all the flour is incorporated fully. Stir in the yoghurt and add a cup of water. Keep on stirring until the curry thickens, then reduce the heat, add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of sugar. Stir well and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
Cut the paneer cheese into cubes and add to the sauce. Let simmer in the sauce for about 2 minutes. In the meantime, chop fresh herbs and fluff up the rice, using a fork.
Stir fresh herbs and cream into the curry and serve with rice. Enjoy
Recipe adapted from Recipes of India
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