Recipe: Manisha’s Paneer Pulau

Sharing office tiffins must be a purely Indian or Asian habit and how enjoyable it is.

Your own, maybe slightly uninteresting, tiffin gets added to an extensive and exciting potluck pool.

Someone has brought yum dosas. Another a tempting biryani. A third a unique Tamil curry or kuzhumbu. Colleague No 4 has homemade laddus and Diwali faran. And what was to be a spartan meal is converted into nothing short of an extravagant dawaat (feast).

In our office so much food is brought in, that any excuse is a time to eat. Mysore Pak or chocolate from a colleague’s trip to Chennai or abroad, banana chips because someone visited Kerala, prasad from a temple darshan, samples of a spicy mutton curry that a colleague was inspired to try over the weekend, potato chips and cake that was cut in the office for a birthday, festival food, bhel or roasted peanuts because your desk partner went down the road for an errand. Sometimes it’s an all-day eating fiesta.

This is my take on a pulau my colleague brought to office, which we all dug into enthusiastically and quite relished. It was made by Manisha Patange, a very competent homemaker who makes a wide range of food including soups, snacks and ragi dosas.

Her bests are her besan laddus, chaklis, fish curries (even though she is a vegetarian herself), Sai Bhaji, Rawa Gobhi, Almond Broccoli Soup and the way she makes kerela (bitter gourd).

This Paneer Pulau is both light and amply filling and ideal fare for tiffin or lunch.

Paneer Pulau

Serves: 2

  • 3 French beans, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp grated carrots
  • 100 gm cauliflower, chopped into tiny florets
  • 50 gm peas
  • 100 gm paneer, cut into cubes
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 green chilly, chopped lengthwise
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 lavang or cloves
  • 1 green elaichi or cardamom
  • 1 small piece dalcheeni or cinnamon
  • 4-5 black peppercorns
  • 1 small tej patta or bay leaf
  • Pinch jeera or cumin seeds, optional
  • Salt, ¾ tsp
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves, optional
  • 1 tsp sambar powder or tawa masala


  • In a non-stick frying pan fry up the the beans and the cauliflower in the oil over medium heat till nearly cooked.
    Add the grated carrot.
    Fry a minute more.
    Keep aside.
  • In the same pan fry the paneer over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, flipping occasionally.
    Keep aside
  • In a kadhai, heat the ghee and fry the jeera, onion, tomato, whole spices over medium heat for 8-10 minutes till the tomato is well fried and almost a paste.
    Add the basmati rice and cook another 5 minutes.
    Add 2 cups water and the salt.
    Lower heat, cover and cook till the water is nearly absorbed by the rice.
    Carefully fold in the fried vegetables and the paneer.
    Cover and cook till rice is done.
    Sprinkle in the tawa masala, kasuri methi and lightly toss.
  • Serve hot with a raita or plain yoghurt.

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