Paneer Kabouli

Paneer Kabouli is a one dish rice meal. The original dish is not vegetarian. I converted it with the use of paneer. Cooked protein chunks are dropped in the pot that the rice is cooked in. This allows them to absorb all the spices and flavors of the broth the rice is cooking in. The dish is topped with a classic chickpea onion gravy. This topping is very common in the Middle East.

The gravy is spicy but not oily and does not pack much heat. For the gravy topping the onion is first cooked in water. Clarified butter or ghee is added to the cooked onions. The spices are not overpowering so we loved it. There are a lot of spices but not as much red chili. You could adjust the quantity if you like a lot of heat.

Recipe adapted from here

You will need
For the spice mixture
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. cardamom seeds
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. red chili pepper
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
2 tbsp. water

For the rice
1 1/2 cup basmati rice (I used brown basmati)
3 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp. ghee
14 oz. paneer
3 tbsp. vegetable oil to brown the paneer

1 cup dried garbanzo beans (or use 1 can)
1/4 cup water
1 large onion
1 tbsp. ghee
10-15 raisins
4-5 strands saffron
2 tbsp. rose water (I left this out)

Soak the beans overnight in water and pressure cook the next day for about 10 minutes. When the cooker depressurizes remove the beans and let them cool. Prepare fresh vegetable stock using this recipe. You could use store bought stock but it will alter the taste. Cut the paneer in cubes. Heat the vegetable oil brown in a pan and brown the cubes on all sides. Keep aside. In a blender add all the ingredients for the spice mix and blend to a smooth paste. Keep aside until needed.

Wash the rice and drain. Since I used brown rice I soaked it a couple of hours and drained the water before use. Heat the vegetable stock in a thick bottom pan with the rice in it. When it comes to a boil add the ghee, 2 tbsp. of the freshly ground spice mix and salt. Cover and continue to cook the rice on medium heat.

When the rice is partially cooked, about 10 minutes, add the paneer cubes and salt as needed. Continue to cook the rice until it is done.

Meanwhile, peel and slice the onion. Heat a 1/4 of a cup of water in a pan and add the onions to it. Let them cook until they are tender.

When the onions are tender add the ghee and cook until golden in color. Add the cooked beans with some of the cooking liquid, raisins, saffron and the remaining fresh ground spice mix. Add rose water if you are using it. Add salt to taste. Allow the gravy to simmer and cook for a few minutes until it all comes together.

Turn off the heat. To plate the paneer kabouli spread the rice with paneer on a plate. Top with the onion bean gravy.

This dish tastes best when it is hot (or reheated if having leftovers). Serve with yogurt.


  1. Book marked ..I am always in search of rice recipes as these are a favorite of our family. The dish is so so tempting.

  2. Interesting preparation! Spreading chana gravy on rice is new and am sure tasted wonderful.

  3. This is surely something I must try..looks and sounds so kids would love this..

  4. Another delicious one pot meal. Looks amazing.

  5. That seems like one healthy, filling meal.

  6. I have a big block of paneer in the fridge. Even I would love to try this tasty vegetarian version of this flavorful dish


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