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FODMAP friendly shahi paneer (vegan option)

An aerial view of a small skillet filled with FODMAP friendly shahi paneer. The shahi paneer is topped with extra cream, chopped coriander and sliced chillies. Two pieces of flabread stick out of the curry on the left and right sides of the skillet. The skillet sits atop a white marble table, and some sunlit water glasses sit in the top left of the image

This FODMAP friendly shahi paneer was a crowning glory of my first cookbook. A dish that I used to order all the time, I was really proud to have nailed down my own version. Long story short, the version in the book contained onion, which is not the version of this recipe I hoped to take to print. So, here we are today with the FODMAP friendly shahi paneer I intended to share. With a few tweaks, too, because I have learnt even more tricks since the book was published (and because Monash recently changed the threshold for tomatoes).

An aerial macro view of the surface of a skillet filled with FODMAP friendly shahi paneer. The dish is dotted with sliced red chilli, coriander, and drizzled with extra cream and a bit of chilli oil

FODMAP friendly shahi paneer

This shahi paneer is made without onion and garlic to make sure it is FODMAP friendly. It uses spring onion greens and asafoetida to replace the rich onion and garlic flavour. To keep the lactose content down, you can also make your own lactose free paneer. It’s a delicious and cost effective way to add paneer to your curry.

This dish is vegetarian and can be made vegan with a plant based milk/cream and tofu instead of the paneer.

How this recipe differs from traditional shahi paneer

  • The onion and garlic are replaced with spring onion greens and the option to add asafoetida
  • Tomatoes have the option to be (half) replaced with grated carrot and pumpkin for sweetness and bulk
  • I have omitted the nuts to ensure people with nut allergies and FODMAP concerns are included
  • Cardamom doesn’t seem to be included in recipes online, but the shahi paneer I’ve always had had a hit of cardamom. I’m not sure if it’s an inauthentic addition or whether it’s more of a matter of choice
  • There is the option to use plant based milk, yoghurt and tofu in place of the milk, cream and paneer

An aerial image of a small skillet filled with FODMAP friendly shahi paneer. The shahi paneer has two pieces of flatbread sticking out of each side. It is topped with extra cream, coriander and chopped chilli. The skillet sits atop a light grey stone backdrop in the centre of the image

FODMAP notes

I should note re: the original recipe: onion (and everything else) can be eaten on a FODMAP diet if you don’t react to it. The point is never to exclude everything long term. In fact, it is to include everything that works for you long term. If that happens to be onion, eat onion! (lucky you, I’m jealous).

As annoying as it to add another component, I have swapped out some of the tomatoes for steamed pumpkin here. This is to keep the recipe in line with Monash’s update of the fructose in tomatoes. If you don’t have any issues with tomatoes, absolutely feel free to use them instead (I have included this in the recipe notes).

I use lactose free cream in this recipe. You can use regular cream if lactose is not an issue, or a dairy free alternative if that is what works for you. Needless to say, use a dairy free alternative to make this vegan.

Again, for lactose concerns, you can use cubed firm tofu instead of paneer. I quite like using tofu and paneer to add a bit of extra protein in.

Interestingly, activated cashews are FODMAP friendly at 10 per serving, whereas regular are not. You can use activated cashews here or macadamia nuts, but more on nuts below.

An aeria close up view of a gluten free yeasted flatbread that has been dipped in the gravy of a FODMAP friendly shahi paneer. It sits atop a white ceramic plate and the gravy is smeared across the bottom portion of the plate

A note on the nuts

Nuts are used in curry bases to thicken and add creaminess. Needless to say, nuts aren’t for everyone, so I decided not to use them in this FODMAP friendly shahi paneer. If you’d like to add something to thicken it up a little, I have done a bit of digging as to some nut substitutes. Some suggestions I have found are:

  • Chickpeas (use canned for FODMAP purposes) for that bland creaminess and thickening
  • A little tiny bit of cornstarch to thicken the gravy up
  • Add a little less liquid or compensate with cream. Thick cream would be good, if you don’t have any lactose concerns
  • Tomato paste

Tomatoes or pumpkin?

If you’re not new to the FODMAP diet and Monash app, you’ll know that the FODMAP friendly threshold for tomatoes was recently lowered. This means that only half a common tomato (65g) is allowed per serve, IF you have issues with fructose and/or with tomatoes. The change in FODMAP status elucidated to some people that they could in fact eat more than half a tomato, despite the change. So, if you’re a person who can eat tomatoes with no issue, use the tomato option.

If tomatoes create issues for you, there’s an option! To replace half the tomatoes, you have the option to use grated pumpkin and a good splash of lime juice. The pumpkin  will help replicate the sweetness and bulk, while the lemon/lime juice will add the acidity. I find with the pumpkin option that it’s good to add a little extra spice to help disguise a vague taste of pumpkin soup.

I would suggest adding 3-5 extra cardamom pods and 1 teaspoon extra of garam masala powder. You might even add a little extra green chilli, if you enjoy a bit of spice.

An aerial view of a marble table topped with a metal dish of FODMAP friendly shahi paneer, surrounded by casually strewn limes, chilli, coriander and gluten free yeasted flatbread. Two hands extend from the bottom left of the image to tear a flatbread and dip it into the curry, which is topped with coriander, chillies and a swirl of cream

More FODMAP friendly vegetarian recipes

An aerial view of a small skillet filled with FODMAP friendly shahi paneer and adorned with extra cream, sliced chilli and coriander. Two pieces of gluten free yeasted flatbread dip into the curry from the left and right of the image. The skillet sits on a dark metal rusty backdrop

To make the accompanying gluten free flatbreads, follow this link here and enjoy!

An aerial view of a small skillet filled with FODMAP friendly shahi paneer. The shahi paneer is topped with extra cream, chopped coriander and sliced chillies. Two pieces of flabread stick out of the curry on the left and right sides of the skillet. The skillet sits atop a white marble table, and some sunlit water glasses sit in the top left of the image

FODMAP Friendly shahi paneer

Serves 4-6 people with rice
Be the first to rate this recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 people


For the shahi paneer:

  • 200-400 g paneer cubed (see notes)
  • 200-400 g firm tofu cubed (optional, see notes)
  • 3 tablespoons (60ml) plain tasting oil I used vegetable
  • 1 bunch of spring onion greens chopped
  • Greens of 1 leek thoroughly washed and finely chopped (optional, see notes)
  • 1 bunch of coriander roots thoroughly washed and chopped (optional, see notes)
  • 150 g 1 medium/large carrot, grated
  • 4 common tomatoes OR 2 common tomatoes and 150g grated Kent pumpkin see notes
  • 50 g ginger grated
  • 1-2 green chillies de-seeded and chopped (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 15-20 cardamom pods crushed, husks discarded, seeds reserved
  • 2-3 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 cup (250ml milk) of choice (I used full cream lactose free)
  • 1 cup (250ml) lactose free cream
  • Seasoning to taste
  • Juice of up to 1 lime to taste

To serve:

  • Remaining 50g cream from a 300g/ml tub
  • Coriander
  • 1 red chilli very finely chopped (optional)


  • In a dry pan over a medium high heat, dry fry the paneer and/or tofu cubes until golden.
  • In a large skillet over a medium heat, heat the oil. Once warmed, add the spring onions and optional leeks and coriander roots. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened and fragrant, then add the carrot and tomatoes (as well as the pumpkin if you are using it).
  • Cook until completely soft, about 10-15 minutes. Once it is, transfer the mixture to a blender with a steam valve. Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes. If you are using a Nutribullet or anything with a hole for steam to escape, wait until the mixture is cool. The pressure will be too much and you will probably explode the blender and hurt yourself. Once silky smooth, set aside.
  • Combine the ginger, chilli and spices in a small food processor until smooth. You can also use a mortar and pestle. You might need to add a little water to make a paste consistency.
  • Add a tablespoon extra oil to the (currently empty) skillet and add the ginger spice paste. Cook for a minute or so until fragrant, then add the blended vegetables back into the skillet. Stir thoroughly to combine and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the milk and cream and stir to combine. Season to taste and adjust for anything you think is missing. Add the lime juice to taste. Finally, add the paneer and/or tofu cubes to the pan and cook for a few minutes until they are heated through. Serve with a drizzle of cream (tubs are generally 300ml in Australia, so you will have 50g left) some finely sliced red chilli and the remaining coriander. Goes very well with the gluten free flatbread linked in the body of the post.



You can use as little or as much paneer as you would like. If you’d like to keep make this vegan or keep the lactose down, use tofu or half paneer and half tofu.
Leek greens add another layer of onion flavour to this dish. They’re often really dirty, so give them a good wash before use and slice them finely. They are optional.
If you are topping your dish with coriander, chop the roots and add them in with the spring onions. They add another layer of flavour.
Monash recently updated common tomatoes as being higher in fructose than they were previously. If you have no issues with tomatoes, use 4 tomatoes. If tomatoes don’t work for you, use 2 tomatoes, 150g of grated Kent pumpkin and some extra lime juice. See the body of the post for more information.
Add chilli to your taste. If you prefer more spice, add 2 chillies.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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