Paneer Tikka Pulao is a delicious, flavorsome Indian pulao recipe packed with the goodness of paneer tikka. It is a gluten-free, vegetarian rice dish that you can serve for lunch or dinner with a bowl of chilled raita and salad on the side. This rice casserole is the best way to use the leftover paneer tikka.
The word ‘Achaari’
If you are familiar with Indian cuisine – then you must have come across the word achaari often used as a prefix for certain dishes.
The Indian pickles in Hindi are called ‘achaar‘. And the spice mix used in making the pickles is known as achaar masala. The word ‘achaari’ is used to describe any dish with the taste/flavor or aroma of a pickling spice mix.
This special achari paneer tikka pulao has the flavor and aroma of Indian pickle, making it truly tantalizing.
The Story of Tikka Pulao
Achari Paneer Tikka Pulao is one of the simplest pulao recipes. It has the underlying flavor of pickle and the tandoori paneer tikka.
Oh my god, this pulao is just so delicious that you can finish the entire casserole in one go with a bowl of chilled pomegranate raita.
Last week, we hosted a few friends for a get-together. After dinner, we were left with marinated paneer and vegetables in the tikka masala. The next day, I quickly tossed the marinated vegetables and paneer with the rice. A delicious one-pot meal was ready in less than 30 minutes. Isn’t that amazing?
The rice absorbed all the flavor of marinated vegetables and turned finger-licking good more like paneer biryani. I packed it for the husband’s lunchbox as well and he too loved it.
Vegan: To make a vegan pulao you can use tofu instead of paneer along with vegetables. Or use soya chunks. Skip using ghee for cooking.
Vegetables: From colorful bell peppers, potatoes, green peas, to zucchini, you can add any vegetable of your choice to this paneer pulao.
Rice: I always use long grain basmati rice to make paneer pulao. But you can use brown rice or any other local variety of rice available. Brown Rice makes paneer pulao a more wholesome combination of protein, fiber, and whole grains.
The best part about this pulao recipe is – you can use leftover boiled rice as well to make it.
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Achari Paneer Tikka Pulao
Ingredients for marination
- 1 Cup uncooked basmati rice
- 200 gram paneer (cottage cheese), cut into cubes
- 1 Cup diced onion
- ¼ Cup diced capsicum
- ¼ Cup diced yellow bell pepper
- ¼ Cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon Bengali Panch Phoran (see notes)
- 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
- 2 tablespoon ghee
- Clean, wash and soak basmati rice in water for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Cook soaked rice in 2 cups of water. Adjust the quantity of water as per your rice variety.
- Cook rice. Fluff the cooked rice using a fork. Set it aside.
- Combine curd, spices, ginger – garlic paste, mustard oil, and kasuri methi in a bowl. Whisk to make a smooth lump free marinade.
- Add capsicum, paneer, and bell peppers to the marinade. Mix nicely to coat each piece with the marinade. Keep in the fridge for 2 – 3 hours or overnight.
- Heat ghee in a frying pan. Add the panch phoran and bay leaf. Cook for few seconds till the aroma of spices is released.
- Add the onion. Cook till the onion turns soft. No need to brown the onion.
- Add the marinated vegetables and fry for 5 – 6 minutes. Do not cook the vegetables for too long. They should have a crunch to them. You can add the leftover marinade as well
- Add cooked rice, and mix gently. Cover and cook the pulao over low heat for 5 – 6 minutes for the rice to absorb the flavor.
- Serve Achaari Paneer Tikka Pulao warm with raita and salad.
- Bengali Panch Phoran is a combination of nigella seeds (kalonji), fenugreek seeds (methi dana), fennel (saunf), cumin seeds (jeera), black mustard seeds (rai).
- You can add a teaspoon of achaar masala or pickle spice mix as well in the marinade.
- You can keep marinated vegetables and paneer overnight or for 2 – 3 hours in the fridge.
- Do not add too much water to cook the rice. We need fluffy rice for making the pulao.
- Fluff the pulao using a fork before serving.