Making Achari Paneer at home is easier than you think! This recipe is all about balance and a combination of spices that all come together to recreate an ‘achari flavour’ or ‘pickle masala’ instantly. Make this on a weeknight or when you have guests over!
Indian food without achar (pickle) is like a burger without fries. Agree? Achars are salty, spicy, tangy, and SO addictive. So when you sink your teeth into soft cubes of achari paneer, trust me you’ll be wanting more!
This is my mum’s recipe. She’s a phenomenal cook and this achari paneer is pure genius! Just a few whole spices is all you need to recreate those achari flavours! No grinding spice mixes and no toiling away for hours in the kitchen!
The dish tastes and smells exactly like aam ka achar.
The masala for this achari paneer makes the dish super fragrant. Everytime I make this, I always have hungry neighbours turning up at my doorstep!
Homemade Paneer is the Best
For any paneer recipe, half the job is done when you use the right paneer. It’s so important to use fresh paneer because paneer is the one and only star of this dish. And while store bought paneer is way easier to pick up and use (I do this often too), whenever I can, I quickly whip up some paneer at home using my trusty recipe - How To Make Paneer At Home. If you’re using store bought paneer, make sure you choose a reliable brand.
The Masala For Achari Paneer
This dish has got tangy, sweet, sour and spicy notes, and packs a punch with proper desi flavours. The achari masala doesn’t need pre-planning or a lot of effort to make. This is a tomato puree based masala combined with Indian spices like whole red chillies, fenugreek seeds, jeera or cumin, anise or saunf, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and green chillies. The dish gets its tanginess from the tomatoes - pureed and whole, and its base flavour from mustard oil (which is also the base for most pickles or achars).
Top Tips To Make The Best Achari Paneer
Once your prep is done, paneer achari comes together in minutes. Here are some tips and tricks to knock this dish out of the park:
- Don’t skimp on the oil for this recipe. Remember just like in achar, oil plays an important role in bringing all the flavours of this dish together
- Unlike a lot of my other recipes, homemade tomato puree works better than store bought in this recipe. Just grind fresh tomatoes together into a paste. Store bought is more concentrated and makes the dish too tangy and salty
- Toss the onions, capsicum and tomatoes on high heat for just 2-3 minutes so they remain crunchy and juicy
- Use the freshest paneer you can get your hands on
- Don’t over cook the paneer! Overcooked paneer loses its soft texture and gets chewy and rubbery
This achari paneer is seriously BOMB for those who love achar or spicy dishes or paneer or just FOOOOOD! Easy to make for a weeknight dinner, and even more perfect if you have guests over!
More Paneer Snacks:
- Paneer Bhurji
- Paneer Kathi Rolls
- Aloo Paneer Tikkis
- Tandoori Paneer Tikka
- Paneer Pakora (2 Ways)
- Sabudana Vada Stuffed with Paneer
Watch the Recipe Video
Spicy Achari Paneer
- 2 tablespoons Mustard Oil
- ⅛ Teaspoon Hing Asoefetida
- 2 Chillies Whole Dry Red
- ½ teaspoon Kalonji Nigella seeds
- ¼ teaspoon Methi Fenugreek Seeds
- ¾ teaspoon Saunf Fennel Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Jeera Cumin Seeds
- ½ teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1 tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- 2 Onions cubed
- ¾ cup Tomato Puree Fresh
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric Haldi Powder
- 1 teaspoon Chilli Powder Red
- 2 Green Chilli slit lengthwise
- 1 Green Capsicum cubed
- 1 Tomato deseeded and cubed
- 250 grams Paneer Cottage Cheese, cubed
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil in a pan or kadhai, and add whole red chillies, methi, saunf, jeera, hing, kalonji and mustard seeds. Once the seeds start crackling add ginger garlic paste and onions.
- Stir fry the onions on high heat for two minutes and add the tomato puree, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and slit green chilli .
- Cook till the puree starts leaving oil on the sides (takes about 8-10 minutes) and add capsicum and tomato, along with 2-3 tablespoons water. Stir fry on high heat for a minute or two and then reduce the flame and cover and cook for 5-6 minutes till the veggies are tender.
- Add the paneer cubes and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes and turn off the flame. Serve hot with steamed rice and parathas (flatbread).
This recipe was first published on December 7, 2015 and updated on April 10, 2021 with a very small change to the recipe (olive oil has been changed to mustard oil) for better flavours.