Paneer Kalimirchi (Paneer In Pepper Sauce)

Globally when people think of Indian food, they still think of North Indian, Punjabi food. There is a reason for this appeal. From my time in Amritsar to the amazing days in Chandigarh, one thing thing became clear to me, Punjabis really know good food. They know how to extract the maximum possible flavour from any set of ingredients. Paneer kalimirchi or paneer cooked in a fresh peppercorn sauce is a testament to everything the cuisine has to offer. Bold flavours, balanced in an addictive sauce which will beckon you over and over again.

Paneer kalimirchi can be daunting to make for the novice. It is a multi-step process. If you are not familiar with the cuisine you might feel that it is easier to order a take-out. Why should you even attempt the mammoth. Having a simple instructional video to guide you should help you out though. So follow along the recipe video. After that you will be on your way to making paneer kalimirchi like a pro.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to actually grind the peppercorn yourself. Use a mill or a mortar and pestle like I do. The reason being simple- fresh peppercorn has amazing essential oils, full of flavour and aroma. If you choose to substitute with the pre-ground stuff instead, be forewarned- it would be a massive compromise in flavour. So if you are planning on making this recipe just spend the additional five minutes to grind the peppercorn fresh to order.

If you try a super traditional variation of the recipe, you will notice that I have digressed quite a bit. I have made it easier to make and use the cashew paste. I have also cut down on the requirement for caramelising the onions twice. It’s just too much of work. Finally, I have also avoided cooking it in the “dum” method.

Now, knowing all of that you may say, the recipe I am providing here is not paneer kalimirchi. Don’t fret. After many trials and errors I have come to this format which most closely resembles the restaurant style dish. I have simplified it, so that, it becomes the paneer kalimirchi that you can make at home. This version of paneer kalimirchi will be ready in less than half an hour’s worth of active cooking. And suddenly it is possible to enjoy this wonderful dish at home. With a little planning, even on a weeknight!

The cashew paste that I have shown here is very easy. Just dump some onions, cashews and almonds in to a bowl, top it off with some hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes. After the time’s up, you just drain away the water and grind up the ingredients to make a paste.

Paneer kalimirchi gets it’s unmistakable flavour because of the marination that the paneer undergoes. Just an hour in the fresh peppercorn marinade does wonders. Elevates a ho-hum paneer to a stunner. If you want to streamline this process, you can even do it up to 12 hours in advance.

I love having this dish with the peas pulao I had shown you. Sometimes I will even pair it with the Bengali mishti pulao when the mood strikes. If you are inclined towards making naan at home, this is a great dish to have it with. Worth the effort.

So I certainly hope you give this a try, and let me know in the comments below how you found it. I would love to hear from you. Have you had paneer kalimirchi before? How was it for you? Let’s gab.

Why not also give my other paneer recipes a whirl: paneer harimirchi, chillie paneer and noori methi paneer. It’s delicious food after all.

By the way, don’t forget that the Best of October round-up is coming this Saturday, the 31st. So stay tuned for that. It is a new monthly series that will compile all the amazing recipes that has got me excited and salivating in the month of October. A curated list of delicious goodies, from all around. You will love these gems. I will see you on Saturday then, for the round-up. Until then, have an amazing day.


The Recipe: Paneer Kalimirchi (Paneer In Pepper Sauce)

Paneer Kalimirchi (Paneer In Pepper Sauce)

Recipe by DianaCourse: Recipes


Prep time




Cooking time






  • Paneer Marinade
  • 100gm Curd

  • ½tsp Garam Masala Powder

  • ½tsp Cumin Powder

  • 30 whole Black Peppercorns, crushed, roughly 2tsp yield

  • 25gm Ginger-Garlic Paste

  • Salt, to taste

  • 200gm Paneer, cubed

  • Cashewnut Paste
  • 250gm Onions, roughly chopped

  • 10gm Cashewnuts, whole

  • 10gm Almonds, whole, skin-on

  • Hot water, to cover

  • Curry
  • 15gm Groundnut Oil

  • 25gm Ginger paste

  • 5 Green Chillies, cut crosswise

  • 1tsp Cumin powder

  • 1tsp Garam Masala Powder

  • 1tsp Kasuri Methi

  • 20 whole black peppercorn, crushed, roughly 1tsp yield

  • 150gm Curd

  • 150ml Water


  • Paneer Marinade
  • Combine curd, cumin powder, garam masala, ground peppercorn, ginger-garlic paste and salt in a large bowl.
  • Add the cubed paneer. Mix well. Allow to marinate for an hour.
  • Cashewnut Paste
  • In a large bowl, add the onions, cashew nuts and almonds and cover with hot water. Allow to steep for 15 minutes. Drain away the water. Grind up the steeped ingredients to form a paste. Reserve for later use.
  • Curry
  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Shake off the excess marinade from the paneer and shallow fry the cubes until they take on a light golden colour. Reserve the marinade for later use. Once, they are slightly golden, take them out of the oil and reserve for later use.
  • To the same oil, add ginger paste and the green chillies. Cook till fragrant. About 5 minutes. Now add in the cashewnut paste. Cook for an additional 10 minutes till the mixture becomes dry in texture and golden in colour.
  • Add the cumin powder, garama masala, kasuri methi and the peppercorn. Stir well to combine. Also add in the reserved marinade, the fresh curd and the water. Bring to a boil, then simmer till the gravy thickens.
  • Add back the fried paneer. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve hot with any roti or rice dish.


  • Nutritional information is a rough estimate of 1 part (of 4) of the recipe without any accompaniments.
  • Make it vegan: Substitute paneer with firm tofu. Cook in the same way.
  • If using pre-ground pepper: use 3tsp for the marinade and 2tsp for the curry. Keep your fingers crossed