Chettinad Paneer Curry

Chettinad Paneer Curry is a spicy and flavourful South-Indian dish. Made with a unique spice blend this curry is very different in taste from other Paneer curries. Chettinad masala is very hot in taste and you should adjust the hot spices according to your taste. Apart from being hot, this spice paste is very aromatic; of course the roasted and grounded whole spices always add original taste into any dish one makes. This Paneer curry was delicious and we liked it a lot with rice and rotis. I hope you’ll enjoy cooking this too. 🙂  

Chettinad Paneer Curry
Chettinad Paneer Curry

Chettinad Paneer Curry

  • Paneer/Cottage Cheese- 300g (cut into cubes)
  • Onion- 1 large (chopped)
  • Garlic- 1 tsp (chopped)
  • Ginger paste- 1 tsp
  • Slitted green chilies- 3
  • Tomato- 2 medium sized (finely chopped)
  • Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
  • Bay leaf- 1
  • Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  • Salt to taste
  • Sesame oil/Vegetable oil- ¼ cup

For Chettinad Masala/Spice paste

  • Fresh coriander leaves- 2 tbsp
  • Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
  • Whole dry red chilli- 3 
  • Coriander seeds- 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
  • Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
  • Black peppercorns- 1 tsp
  • Chana dal/Bengal gram- 2 tsp
  • Cloves- 3
  • Cinnamon stick- 1” (2 pieces)
  • Green cardamom- 2
  • Poppy seeds- 1 tsp
  • Mace- 1 (small sized)
  • Fresh grated coconut/Desiccated coconut- 2 tbsp
  • Sesame oil/Vegetable oil- 1 tsp
  • Nutmeg powder- a pinch


Heat 1 tsp of oil in a frying pan. Sauté all the ingredients (except nutmeg powder, curry leaves and coriander leaves) mentioned ‘For Chettinad Masala/Spice paste’ on medium flame until a bit darker in color. Care should be taken not to burn the spices. Let them cool completely. Now add all the roasted spices along with nutmeg powder, curry leaves and coriander leaves in a mixer/grinder. Grind until a coarse spice powder forms.

Chettinad masala before adding water
Chettinad masala before adding water

Add ¼ cup water into this. Run your mixer/grinder again until a thick spice paste forms. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan/kadai (nonstick preferably). Temper with bay leaf and curry leaves. Add chopped onions, sauté on medium flame until light brown in color. Add chopped garlic, sauté for few seconds. Next to add chopped tomatoes and ginger paste. Stir and cook until tomatoes turn soft. Add chettinad spice paste, green chillies and turmeric powder. Mix and cook for 1-2 minutes or until oil separates from masala. Add paneer cube, mix well. Cook on low flame for 4-5 minutes, stir in between. Add ¾ cup water into this. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes on medium flame, stir in between. This paneer curry should be thick in consistency, not runny. Remove from heat.

Serve hot with Roti, Paratha or Rice.


  • Except paneer this dish can be made with chicken, mutton too.
  • Chettinad Masala can be made ahead and stored for a longer time. If you are making this masala for future use, don’t roast the spices in oil. Just grind all the dry ingredients and store in an airtight container. Before making the dish, roast this masala in little oil and grind further using your mixer/grinder with little water, curry leaves, coconut and coriander leaves.

I’ve adapted this recipe from here

Chettinad Paneer Curry
Chettinad Paneer Curry
Chettinad Paneer Curry
Chettinad Paneer Curry


  1. I made chicken once using Chettinad spices, loved it! I love Fennel in everything

  2. Rohit Suri

    Hi ! All your recipes are perfectly balanced in terms of spices and there’s a twist from the usual. Shall certainly start trying from tomorrow. Blessed be!

  3. Just excellent! One of the best paneers I have ever tasted! Question: if made with chicken at which stage would the chicken be put in the paneer? Thank you! What is ‘thank you’ in Bengali? 🙂

    • Hi Vassilis, Thank you so much. You can add chicken just when I’ve mentioned about adding paneer into the recipe. And Thank You is ‘Dhonyobad’ in Bengali. Happy Cooking! 🙂


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