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Chaman Kaliya (Paneer in Yellow Gravy)

Chaman Kaliya (Paneer in Yellow Gravy) 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian May 15, 2022

This Kashmiri recipe from author and chef Romy Gill channels the best of the region’s cooking: a simple technique with a delectable result, full of complex flavors from the layering of spices. Gill calls it a “beautiful, tasty bowl of yellow sunshine,” and it is. To make this dish vegan, substitute extra-firm tofu for the paneer and full-fat coconut milk for the dairy milk.

Active time: 35 mins; Total time: 45 mins

Storage Notes: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Where to Buy: Mustard oil, asafetida (hing), dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), black cardamom and Indian green chiles can be found in Indian and some international markets. Paneer can also be found there, as well as in many well-stocked supermarkets.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 3 tablespoons mustard oil (may substitute neutral vegetable oil, such as sunflower)
  • 1 pound paneer (may substitute extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry), cut into cubes
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 4 black cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 whole Indian green chiles, such as Kashmiri (may substitute Thai green chiles or serrano chiles), halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida powder (hing)
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk (may substitute full-fat coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
  • Cooked rice, for serving


In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the paneer and fry until lightly browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. (The paneer tends to sputter in oil; use a splatter guard if needed.) Transfer to a plate.

Add the green and black cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds and bay leaves to the pan and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute, then add the chiles, fennel, turmeric, ginger, salt and asafetida. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute, then pour in the hot water.

Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat until the liquid is simmering, add the fried paneer and cook until the water slightly reduces, about 3 minutes. Pour in the milk and cook until the gravy thickens, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the fenugreek leaves, divide among serving bowls and serve hot with rice.

Recipe Source

Adapted from “On the Himalayan Trail: Recipes and Stories from Kashmir to Ladakh” by Romy Gill (Hardie Grant, 2022).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (1/2 cup, without rice): 502

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 38g 58%

Saturated Fat: 19g 95%

Cholesterol: 91mg 30%

Sodium: 714mg 30%

Total Carbohydrates: 17g 6%

Dietary Fiber: 3g 12%

Sugar: 9g

Protein: 32g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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