Tawa Paneer Masala, Quick & Easy Paneer Recipe

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Tawa Paneer is a spicy, tangy, flavorful dish that will delight your taste buds. Made with succulent paneer in a delicious base of onions, tomatoes, capsicum and spices, this semi-dry curry comes together in 30 minutes for an easy week dinner.

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overhead shot of tawa paneer with coriander leaves garnish in a white bowl on a cream linen with a side plate of roti and a small side bowl of chopped red onions and coriander leaves

What is Tawa Paneer

Tawa paneer is a popular dish served in many Indian restaurants. As the name implies, the entire recipe is cooked on a tawa or tava – which is a flat or concave-shaped round pan; an essential piece of utensil in any Indian kitchen.

It is used for pan-frying as well as roasting. We make our staple Indian flatbreads like roti and paratha on tawa. Not to forget the classic dosa or chilla (gram flour crepes), and various pancakes are also cooked on this humble pan.

Tawa is also used to shallow fry snacks like aloo tikki, vegetable cutlet and for dry roasting spices, nuts and seeds.

Tawa Paneer has soft, tender paneer cubes cooked in a tangy, onion-tomato masala with capsicum and spices. I have made a puree from the tomatoes. However, you can just finely chop them and add to the dish.

It is one of the easiest and quick paneer recipe you can prepare. This semi-dry curry can be cooked in less than 30 minutes.

As it is a breeze to make this flavorsome dish, consider making it when you have unexpected guests at home or you want to cook something easy for dinner.

Do not worry, if you don’t have a tawa. Swap it with a frying pan or a medium-sized skillet. If you do use a tawa, then make sure to use a medium-sized or a large tawa, so that the ingredients do not spill from the sides while cooking.

When really short of time, serve tawa paneer with wheat bread or brown bread or pav or any bread of your choice. You don’t need to make roti or paratha. Of course, you can make these flatbreads, if you have time.

overhead shot of tawa paneer with coriander leaves garnish in a white bowl on a cream linen with a side plate of roti and a small side bowl of chopped red onions and coriander leaves

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Tawa Paneer Recipe

1. Add the chopped tomatoes (3 medium tomatoes or 180 to 200 grams) in a blender and make a smooth puree. Set aside.

prepared tomato puree in blender

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter on a tawa or skillet or frying pan. You can use salted or unsalted butter.

butter melting on a black tawa to make tawa paneer

3. Add ½ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain) and fry them for a few seconds or till aromatic on a low to medium-low heat.

fry carom seeds in melted butter

4. Then add 1 large onion, chopped (about 100 to 120 grams) and saute stirring often till they soften and turn translucent.

onions sautéing in butter

5. Then add the following listed ingredients and sauté for about 3 minutes on a low to medium-low heat.

  • 2 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste (1 inch ginger + 4 to 5 medium garlic crushed in a mortar pestle)
  • 1 chopped green chili (about ½ teaspoon)
  • 1 medium-sized finely chopped capsicum/green bell pepper – about 80 to 100 grams. You can use any colored bell pepper.
capsicum, green chilies, ginger and garlic paste on sautéed onions

6. Then add the ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder and 1 teaspoon pav bhaji masala. Stir and saute for about a minute.

If you don’t have pav bhaji masala, then add ½ teaspoon garam masala + ½ teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder). 

ground spices on capsicum and onion mixture

7. Add the prepared tomato puree and mix well. You can swap the tomato puree with finely chopped tomatoes.

tomato puree added and mixed with sautéed veggie mixture

8. Season with salt as required and saute with stirring at intervals.

salt and tomato puree mixture on tawa

9. Saute till you see butter releasing from the sides and the masala has thickened a bit. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes on low heat. If the tomato masala looks dry, then add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water and continue to saute.

sautéing tawa masala

10. Add the paneer cubes (200 to 250 grams) and stir well, so that the masala coats the paneer cubes evenly.

paneer cubes in the sautéed masala on the tawa

11. Switch off the heat. Add ½ teaspoon crushed dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi). Mix gently.

crushed kasuri methi on tawa paneer

12. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve paneer tawa masala with roti, naan or bread or dinner rolls (pav). Accompany a few wedges of lemon slices which can be drizzled on the tawa paneer and a side onion salad.

You can also pair this dish as a side with any Indian mains.

paneer tawa masala with coriander leaves garnish in a white bowl on a cream linen with a side plate of roti and a small side bowl of chopped red onions and coriander

Helpful Tips

  • Use homemade paneer for the best results. If using packaged paneer follow the instructions mentioned on the pack.
  • Since tomatoes form a major chunk of the gravy, include ripe and sweet tasting tomatoes. Avoid tomatoes that are too sour or tangy.
  • For a richer version of paneer tawa masala add 1 to 2 tablespoons of light cream or cooking cream when you add the dried fenugreek leaves. Combine gently to mix.
  • Skip the dry fenugreek leaves if you don’t have them.
  • Easily swap carom seeds with cumin seeds.

More Quick and Easy Paneer Recipes

If you made this recipe, please be sure to rate it in the recipe card below. Sign Up for my email newsletter or you can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest or Twitter for more vegetarian inspirations.

Tawa paneer is a semi dry curry with capsicum/bell pepper, onions, tomatoes and paneer cubes cooked on tawa or a griddle. A popular paneer recipe served in restaurants.

Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 25 mins

Total Time 40 mins



Servings 3

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This Tawa Paneer recipe post from the archives (April 2014) has been republished and updated on 10 June 2021.


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