Cilantro Rice with Paneer and Peas – A Fragrant Side Dish

This dish works very well as a make ahead dish – the flavours intensify and become more layered after sitting overnight in the fridge.

Serves 6 servings as a side
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min


  • 200 g of paneer chopped into 1cm cubes
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp of vegetable oil divided
  • 1 cup of uncooked basmati rice
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • ½ a white onion cut into half moons (you can dice the onion if it’s easier)
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen green peas
  • ½ bunch of cilantro roughly chopped (about ⅔ cup loosely packed)


  1. Cook the basmati rice as per your rice cooker’s instructions or add it to a medium sized saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Then let it simmer over low heat until the water is completely absorbed (about 20 minutes). Fluff with a fork.
  2. While rice is cooking, heat a large skillet to medium high heat with 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  3. In a small boil, combine the pieces of paneer with the remaining 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and the cumin and chili powder until well combined and the paneer is evenly coated.
  4. When the skillet is hot, add the paneer mixture (you can test the heat with one piece of paneer – toss it in and if it sizzles the pan is hot enough). Cook the paneer until the sides are a crispy golden brown.
  5. Lower the pan heat to medium-low and add in the curry powder, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger and onions. Stir constantly until spices become fragrant and onion becomes translucent
  6. Add in the peas and stir until cooked.
  7. By this time your rice should be cooked. Add it into the skillet and mix into the paneer mixture along with ⅔rd of the chopped cilantro. Heat until the cilantro is a bright green and slightly softened and the rice is well combined.
  8. Top with the remaining cilantro before serving