This Paneer Methi Pulao, Basmati Rice perfumed with spices, paneer and fenugreek leaves and a simple raita is all you need to make a simple yet satisfying lunch or dinner.
I used to cook and help out in the kitchen from my early teen years but it was mostly things Amma or Paatti used to make and I never really made anything much from scratch all by myself. Since, obviously, Amma knew how to make something so much better than me, I never ventured into it.
But I had this whole new arena open to me. What Amma and Paatti made at home was mostly all traditional Southern Indian food. The entire “rest of India” cuisine and “international” cuisine was wide open to me to try out, to use my imagination, to make mistakes, to learn on my own, to explore, to cook!
I would watch cooking shows on TV or buy expensive magazines (food magazines were not so popular then and were expensive) to get new recipes or to even know what the rest of the world cooked. Looking for recipes on the internet was not so much of a thing back in the late 90s. I even bought my first cookbook. I had no idea what authors to look for or what kind of book to buy or even if the recipes in that book were good or not. There was no Amazon.com to look for cookbook reviews. I bought a cookbook, that seemed to have some recipes that I had heard of and eaten at restaurants.
Once the recipe part was taken care of, the next challenge was to get the ingredients. Living in India, you would think, getting basic Indian ingredients like paneer and kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) would be easy. But the regional cuisines have so much to offer in themselves, that most home cooks usually made dishes with ingredients that was traditional and commonly used in their region / cuisine. Now, paneer and kasoori methi are not traditional ingredients used in Southern Indian cooking and it was available only in a certain store in my city, that we usually did not shop from.
That meant, I had to make that special trip to that store and buy my ingredients. And whenever I did, I would stock up as much as possible. And whenever I cooked, I would always, ALWAYS, deviate from the original plan. That’s just how I always cook. And I love it when I cook like that! My heart and soul and everything into it and voila, out comes something new.
This recipe came about accidently, when I planned to make just a regular pulao (spiced basmati rice) and a paneer something. I had not decided what that paneer something would be. As it happens sometimes, I just couldn’t think of anything I wanted to make with paneer that would go with the pulao. So, it was a last minute decision while making dinner to combine the two ideas and make this paneer methi pulao instead. I made a simple raita to go on the side and we were one happy family with this for dinner
Paneer Methi Pulao – The Recipe
Basmati rice – 1 cup
Water – 2 cups
Grapeseed Oil – 1 tbsp.
Spice Mix – 1 green cardamom pod, 2 cloves, 1/2 inch piece cinnamon, 1 bay leaf – crushed roughly
Red Onion – 1/2 , sliced into thin strips
Ginger Garlic paste – 1/2 tsp
Paneer, cut into 1/2 inch cubes – 1 cup
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Thai Green Chilli, slit lengthwise – 1, optional
Salt – to taste
Dried Methi leaves (Kasuri methi) – 2 tbsp. (soaked in water for 10 mins and drained)
Wash the rice well in water, drain and keep aside.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. On medium heat, add the spice mix and roast them till fragrant.
Add the onion and ginger garlic paste and sauté till onions are translucent.
Throw in the turmeric powder and green chilli (optional) and mix well.
Add paneer, salt and methi leaves and mix again.
Add the rice and water and cook with the pot open till bubbles form on top of the rice. Switch off heat and keep the pot covered for another 10-15 mins or so.
Do not mix the rice as it will break and become mushy.
Fluff the rice lightly with a fork and check for doneness.
Serve with any favorite raita and Indian style pickle.
- Basmati rice - 1 cup
- Water - 2 cups
- Grapeseed Oil - 1 tbsp.
- Spice Mix - 1 green cardamom pod, 2 cloves, ½ inch piece cinnamon, 1 bay leaf - crushed roughly
- Red Onion - ½ , sliced into thin strips
- Ginger Garlic paste - ½ tsp
- Paneer, cut into ½ inch cubes - 1 cup
- Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
- Thai Green Chilli, slit lengthwise - 1, optional
- Salt - to taste
- Dried Methi leaves (Kasuri methi) - 2 tbsp. (soaked in water for 10 mins and drained)
- Wash the rice well in water, drain and keep aside.
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. On medium heat, add the spice mix and roast them till fragrant.
- Add the onion and ginger garlic paste and sauté till onions are translucent.
- Throw in the turmeric powder and green chilli (optional) and mix well.
- Add paneer, salt and methi leaves and mix again.
- Add the rice and water and cook with the pot open till bubbles form on top of the rice. Switch off heat and keep the pot covered for another 10-15 mins or so.
- Do not mix the rice as it will break and become mushy.
- Fluff the rice lightly with a fork and check for doneness.
- Serve with any favorite raita and Indian style pickle.
Here are some of our other favorite paneer recipes!