Dhaba Style Paneer (Rustic Style Cottage Cheese Curry)

An impressive & easy to cook paneer gravy that appeases all ages alike! Served here with Methi Parathas (fresh fenugreek rotis).

This dish is especially found at all Dhabas or rustic roadside eateries alongside Indian highways that are frequented by budget travellers & truck drivers. Particularly popular for their traditional village style ethnic feel, complete with low wooden tables & wooden charpoys (basic low beds with a woven hemp seating) & stainless steel plates & glasses, hence this name to the dish.

A delicious, thick rustic style preparation, it uses a ground onion tomato masala with a heavenly combination of aromatic whole & ground spices to make a tangy curry.

For all the secret ingredients that add that authentic dhaba feel to this delightful dish, read on for the recipe. I promise, you will complete the experience with a finger licking performance, true dhaba style!

Don’t forget to write in with your feedback and comments once you’ve made it!

Recipe for Dhaba Style Paneer

Ingredients (Serves 2 – 4)

  • 2 tablespoons ghee/clarified butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 bay leaf/tej patta
  • ½ inch cinnamon stick / dalchini
  • 1 large onion, cut in 1/2inch cubes
  • 2 large/3 medium tomatoes, pureed with 1inch piece of ginger, 1 green chilli, half an onion & 4 garlic cloves in a blender
  • 1 green capsicum, cut in ½ inch cubes(optional)
  • ½ cup slightly sour yoghurt/dahi, beaten lightly (or lime juice)
  • 1 tablespoon gram flour/besan(for thickening)
  • Water as required
  • 200 gms paneer/cottage cheese, cut in cubes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, chopped(garnish)


  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder/haldi
  • 1.5 teaspoons coriander powder/dhania
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder/jeera powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala (recipe mentioned in my blog)
  • ½ teaspoon kasuri methi / dry fenugreek leaves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste

P.S. For those who are vegan or lactose intolerant, you can replace the paneer with tofu and the beaten yoghurt with 1 teaspoon of lime juice at the end of the recipe.


  1. In a heavy bottom pan or kadhai, heat 2 tablespoons ghee & lightly saute the onion & capsicum cubes until partially cooked & keep aside.
  2. In the same kadhai, add the oil & once hot, add the bay leaf & cinnamon stick & stir on a medium flame till the spices let off an aroma & start to darken.
  3. Add the tomato ginger-garlic-green chilli puree and saute well on a medium flame for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the spices now namely, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder & cumin powder and on a low flame, stir continuously for another minute until well blended.
  5. Now add the beaten yoghurt a little at a time on a medium flame & stir, keeping the flame on low. Cover with a lid & allow the gravy to boil for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add in the garam masala, 1 teaspoon sugar and kasuri methi & also the sauteed onion, capsicum & paneer cubes, gently mixing them into the gravy. Check your spices & salt at this time.
  7. Finally, mix the gram flour with half a cup of water creating a smooth paste (removing all the lumps) and keeping a low flame, add it to your gravy, stirring well.
  8. Cover & cook it for 4-5 minutes allowing it to thicken.
  9. This step is important else you will taste raw gram flour. Serve your authentic Dhaba style paneer with methi parathas or plain rotis.
  10. A few slices of raw onion & lime will complete your finger licking meal!

Making of Dhaba Style Paneer

4 thoughts on “Dhaba Style Paneer (Rustic Style Cottage Cheese Curry)

  1. I’m a paneer lover, so have tried out various combinations and recipes. This one is super yummy. Will go on the top of my list


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