Paneer Lababdar an Ultimate Guide 2023: From History to Homemade Perfection!

This rich and creamy dish is a favorite among vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. With its succulent paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cubes cooked in a luscious tomato and cashew-based gravy, paneer lababdar is a true indulgence for the taste buds. In this article, we’ll explore the origins of paneer lababdar, its key ingredients, step-by-step instructions to prepare it, and some variations to try. So, let’s dive into the world of flavorsome paneer lababdar.

Paneer Lababdar

About Paneer Lababdar

Paneer lababdar is a popular North Indian dish that originated in the region of Punjab. Punjab is known for its rich culinary heritage, and paneer lababdar is one of the gems of this vibrant cuisine. The word “lababdar” translates to “passionate” or “desirable,” reflecting the dish’s rich and indulgent nature. Over time, paneer lababdar has gained popularity across India and even internationally, becoming a staple in Indian restaurants worldwide.

Paneer Lababdar Vs Butter Masala

  1. Flavor Profile:
    • Paneer Lababdar: Paneer Lababdar features a rich and tangy tomato-based gravy with a blend of aromatic spices. It offers a balanced combination of creaminess and tanginess.
    • Paneer Butter Masala: Paneer Butter Masala, also known as Paneer Makhani, is characterized by its creamy and buttery tomato-based gravy. It has a slightly sweeter flavor compared to Paneer Lababdar.
  2. Spice Level:
    • Paneer Lababdar: Paneer Lababdar tends to have a moderate spice level with the use of spices like red chili powder and garam masala, creating a flavorful yet mild heat.
    • Paneer Butter Masala: Paneer Butter Masala typically has a milder spice level, focusing more on the creamy and buttery flavors rather than spiciness.
  3. Tanginess:
    • Paneer Lababdar: Paneer Lababdar has a pronounced tanginess due to the use of tomato puree in its gravy, which adds a refreshing and tangy element to the dish.
    • Paneer Butter Masala: Paneer Butter Masala has a subtle tanginess, but the emphasis is more on the creamy and rich flavors of the butter and cream.
  4. Creaminess:
    • Paneer Lababdar: Paneer Lababdar offers a creamy texture in its gravy, achieved through the addition of fresh cream or cashew paste. The creaminess is balanced with the tanginess of the tomatoes.
    • Paneer Butter Masala: Paneer Butter Masala is renowned for its indulgent and velvety creaminess. It is made with generous amounts of butter and cream, resulting in a luxurious and smooth texture.
  5. Ingredient Variation:
    • Paneer Lababdar: Paneer Lababdar often includes the addition of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and spices like garam masala for added flavor complexity.
    • Paneer Butter Masala: Paneer Butter Masala typically incorporates the use of kasuri methi as well, but it prominently showcases the richness of butter and cream in its preparation.
  6. Regional Influence:
    • Paneer Lababdar: Paneer Lababdar has its roots in North Indian cuisine, particularly in the regions of Punjab and Delhi, where it is a popular vegetarian dish.
    • Paneer Butter Masala: Paneer Butter Masala is also a popular North Indian dish and is often associated with Punjabi cuisine, known for its indulgent and rich preparations.

Read More mouth-watering Paneer Recipe

You can refer Paneer Recipe book for more delicious homemade paneer recipes

Paneer Recipe

Paneer Lababdar Recipe – Step-By-Step Guide

Ingredients of Paneer Lababdar Recipe

250 gms Paneer (cottage cheese)
3 medium Tomatoes, finely chopped
10 Cashew Nuts, soaked in water for 15-20 minutes
1 Green Cardamom (elaichi)
1 small piece of Cinnamon Stick
2-3 Green Chilies, seeded and chopped
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped Ginger
5 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1/2 piece of Bay Leaf
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
2 teaspoons Coriander Powder
1-2 teaspoons Kasuri Methi
3 tablespoons Cooking Oil or Butter
2 tablespoons + 3/4 cup Water
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped Coriander Leaves, for garnishing


Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Instructions for Paneer Lababdar Recipe:

1. Cut Paneer into Cubes – 1 inch:

Paneer Lababdar

  • Cut paneer into 1-inch cubes.
  • Grind soaked cashew nuts, a small piece of cinnamon, and green cardamom with 2-tablespoons water into a smooth paste.

2. Sauté the Onion and Ginger-Garlic Paste:

Paneer Lababdar

  • Heat butter or oil in a kadai (or pan) over medium flame.
  • Add chopped onion and bay leaf and sauté until the onion becomes light brown.
  • Add ginger, garlic, and green chilies and sauté for approx. 1-minute

3. Prepare the Tomato Gravy:

Paneer Lababdar

  • Add chopped tomatoes and cook over medium flame until oil starts to separate and tomatoes turn tender or for around 3-4 minutes.
  • Takeaway kadai from the stove. Takeout and discard bay leaf from kadai. Let mixture cool for 5 minutes at room temperature. Transfer all contents to a mixer-grinder jar, grind or blend into a smooth puree, and transfer to the same kadai

4. Add Spices to Tomato Gravy:

Paneer Lababdar

  • Add cashew nuts paste, red chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and salt.
  • Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add 3/4 cup water and bring it to a boil. Reduce flame to low and cook for 3 minutes.

5. Add Paneer and Kasuri Methi:

Paneer Lababdar

  • Gently add the cubed paneer to the tomato gravy.
  • Sprinkle kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) over the paneer.
  • Stir everything together carefully to coat the paneer with the flavors.

6. Simmer and Add Fresh Cream:

  • Reduce the heat to low and let the paneer simmer in the gravy for 5-7 minutes.
  • Pour fresh cream into the pan and mix well.
  • Cook for an additional 2 minutes, ensuring the cream is well incorporated into the gravy.

7. Garnish and Serve:

Paneer Lababdar

  • Remove the paneer lababdar from heat.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves for a fresh and vibrant touch.
  • Serve hot with naan, roti, or steamed rice for a wholesome meal.

Serving Suggestions for Paneer Lababdar

  • Naan or Roti: Serve Paneer Lababdar with freshly baked naan bread or soft roti. The combination of the creamy paneer and the bread’s fluffy texture creates a delightful pairing.
  • Steamed Rice: Paneer Lababdar also goes well with steamed basmati rice. The flavors of the creamy tomato gravy beautifully complement the fragrant rice, offering a satisfying and comforting meal.
  • Pulao: Pair Paneer Lababdar with fragrant pulao, such as vegetable pulao or biryani. The aromatic rice dish enhances the overall dining experience by adding additional flavors and textures.
  • Paratha: Enjoy Paneer Lababdar with flaky and buttery parathas. The rich and creamy paneer gravy perfectly complements the warm and crispy parathas, creating a scrumptious combination.
  • Side Salad: Add a refreshing touch to your meal by serving a side salad alongside Paneer Lababdar. A simple cucumber and tomato salad with a sprinkle of chaat masala can provide a cool and tangy contrast to the rich flavors of the dish.
  • Pickles and Chutneys: Accompany Paneer Lababdar with a variety of Indian pickles or chutneys. The tangy and spicy condiments add an extra burst of flavor that complements the creamy and mildly spiced paneer dish.

Watch Paneer Lababdar Recipe Video

FAQs for Paneer Lababdar

Q1: What is Paneer Lababdar?

A1: Paneer Lababdar is a popular North Indian dish made with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cooked in a rich and creamy tomato and cashew-based gravy. It is known for its delicious flavors and indulgent texture.

Q2: Can I make Paneer Lababdar without Paneer?

A2: Paneer is the key ingredient in Paneer Lababdar, and it plays a crucial role in the dish. However, if you don’t have paneer, you can try substituting it with tofu or even chunks of cottage cheese.

Q3: Is Paneer Lababdar a vegetarian dish?

A3: Yes, Paneer Lababdar is a vegetarian dish. It is a popular choice among vegetarians who enjoy the rich and creamy flavors of Indian cuisine.

Q4: How spicy is Paneer Lababdar?

A4: The level of spiciness in Paneer Lababdar can vary depending on personal preference. Typically, it has a mild to medium level of spice. However, you can adjust the amount of red chili powder or other spices according to your taste.

Q5: What are some variations of Paneer Lababdar?

A5: While the classic Paneer Lababdar recipe is already delicious, there are a few variations you can try. For example, you can add vegetables like bell peppers, peas, or mushrooms to enhance the dish’s nutritional value and flavor. Additionally, you can experiment with different spice combinations or even add a touch of crushed fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) for a unique twist.

Q6: What are the best accompaniments for Paneer Lababdar?

A6: Paneer Lababdar pairs well with various Indian bread like naan, roti, or paratha. It also goes well with steamed rice or flavored rice dishes like jeera rice or biryani. Additionally, a side of raita (yogurt-based side dish) and pickles complement the flavors of Paneer Lababdar.

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