Paneer Bhurji Gravy

Closeup front view of paneer bhurji in a blue dish.

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Paneer Bhurji Gravy is a vegetarian and gluten-free scrambled Indian cottage cheese (paneer) dish with a beautifully spiced tomato and onion gravy. It’s easy to make, ready in under 30 minutes, and can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner with Indian flatbreads, bread rolls, or steamed rice.


  • 5 Garlic cloves – peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-inch piece Ginger – peeled and roughly chopped
  • 28 fresh Red Chilies (I used Bird’s Eye, but any small hot red chilies will work), to taste – roughly chopped
  • 12 fresh Green Chilies (I used Indian small hot green chilies, but any variety will work), to taste – roughly chopped
  • ½ medium Red Onion – finely chopped
  • 2 medium Garden Tomatoes – finely chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground Cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • ¾ teaspoon Garam Masala (homemade preferred, but store-bought it fine to use)
  • ½1 teaspoon ground Cayenne (or 1 TSP Kashmiri red chili powder), to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Gram Flour (besan/chickpea flour)
  • 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Canola Oil (or vegetable oil)
  • ½ cup Water
  • ¼ teaspoon White Sugar (optional), to taste
  • 200 grams / 14 ounces Paneer (block/slab or cubes) – thawed if using frozen, grated
  • ¼ cup Whole Milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Coriander (Cilantro) – chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • To Serve (optional): More chopped coriander for garnish, warm cooked parathas, chapatis, roti, soft bread rolls (‘pav’), steamed rice, lemon wedges for squeezing, finely chopped red onion


  1. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Roughly chop the garlic, ginger, and red and green chilies. Using a mortar and pestle, pound into a smooth paste and set aside. (Note: If you don’t own a mortar and pestle, you can pulse these ingredients into a paste in a small blender or just mince them instead.) Finely chop the red onion and tomatoes, and grate the paneer using a box grater. Set aside. Combine all the spices and seasonings – the kosher salt, coriander powder, ground cumin, turmeric powder, garam masala, ground cayenne – and gram flour in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.
  2. Sauté onion and aromatics: Heat 1 tablespoon each of unsalted butter and canola oil in a large wok or deep nonstick skillet/frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and is frothing and the oil is hot, add the red onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes until translucent. Add the smashed garlic, ginger, and chilies paste and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Add spices & seasonings: Add all of the spices and seasonings and gram flour. Stir well to combine and cook for a minute to get rid of the raw gram flour taste.
  4. Build the gravy: Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently and pressing down on them with the back of your spatula to help break them down. Then stir in ½ cup of water and cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture has thickened. Taste and add ¼ TSP white sugar if desired (or leave it out if you feel it’s not needed) and stir to combine.
  5. Stir in the panner and milk: Stir in the grated paneer and whole milk until combined well with the gravy. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir through coriander and lemon juice. Stir through the chopped coriander and lemon juice, then switch off the heat.
  7. To Serve: Transfer to a serving dish/bowl and garnish with more chopped coriander if desired. Serve immediately with warm cooked parathas, chapatis, roti, bread rolls, and/or steamed rice. You can also serve it with lemon wedges for squeezing and chopped red onion for an extra punch of flavor.



  1. Paneer. This is an Indian cottage cheese and is available in block, slab, or cubes form and either fresh or frozen. You can find it in the fridge or freezer section of Indian grocery stores and some large well-stocked supermarkets. If using frozen, thaw either by setting the package on the counter for 1-2 hours or overnight in the fridge.
  2. Gram flour. This is also known as besan, chickpea flour, and garbanzo bean flour. It gives the gravy more body and helps thicken it. Look for it in an Indian grocery store or the baking aisle of a large well-stocked supermarket.
  3. Fresh red and green chilies: Adjust quantity to taste based on your heat level preference.
  4. Ground cayenne vs. Kashmiri chili powder. Ground cayenne will add heat to the dish so adjust to taste. Kashmiri red chili powder is a mild chili powder and will help give color to the dish without making it too spicy.
  5. Leftovers and storage: Store leftovers in a sealed airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, cover the container lightly with a kitchen towel and heat in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring once in between, until hot throughout. Be careful not to overheat as paneer tends to harden when exposed to heat for too long.