Comfort Foods,  Gujarati,  Quick Recipes

Paneer Fried Rice/Vagharelo Bhaat

Vagharelo Bhaat (pronounced vuh-gah-rey-lo  bh-ah-th) translates to fried rice in Gujarati.  It’s a great quick recipe to make with any leftover rice or grain you may have. Every Gujarati family has a different method as to how they make this dish, but it’s universally loved as a comfort dish.  

I’ve developed this recipe based on how my mum would make vagharelo bhaat when we were younger, but with the addition of paneer and cashews to make it creamier and more filling. 

Gujarati food is often a balance of salty, sweet, acid, and warm spices and aromatics, and this dish is a great example of that. The strong onion and garlic flavors are balanced out by the acidity from the lime juice, the freshness of the coriander and the sweetness from the sugar and the cashews. I grew up eating this on its own, however, you can definitely eat this as a side to other Indian dishes. 

Paneer Fried Rice/Vagharelo Bhaat

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Gujarati, Indian
Servings 2 people as a side or 1 person as a main


  • 4 cloves garlic diced
  • tsp jeeru/cumin seeds
  • tsp hing/asafoetida
  • 1 cup red onion (roughly half a large red onion) diced
  • 6 whole cashews
  • ¼ tsp hardaar/turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp laal marchu/red chilli powder
  • 60 g paneer cubed
  • 2 cups leftover rice preferably basmati
  • ½ tsp sugar optional
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (roughly half a lime)
  • 1 tbsp cilantro roughly chopped
  • salt to taste


  • Heat up 1 tbsp of any neutral tasting oil in a 2 quart pot on medium heat.
  • Add in the diced garlic and sauté garlic until it starts to turn translucent.
  • Add in hing and cumin seeds and keep sautéing until garlic turns golden brown.
  • Then, add in cashews, onions, and salt to taste.
  • Sauté until onions are translucent, then add turmeric, red chilli powder and mix spices in with onions.
  • Add in paneer and let it cook for about 2–3 minutes. You can cook it longer if you want the paneer to have a good sear on it, but I like to keep it on the softer side when I make this.
  • Once paneer is cooked to your liking, add in all of the rice, sugar, and lime juice and stir until rice is fully incorporated with the onion-garlic spice mixture.
  • Top with cilantro and serve while hot!


  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
  • This can be made without paneer (as we usually do at home) with no substitutions necessary. 
  • Hing/asafoetida can be found at any local Indian grocery store, as can all of the other spices used. If you cannot locate hing, you can simply add a little extra onion to compensate for it. 
  • Ordinarily, I would temper the whole spices first before adding in aromatics, but a strong garlicky-onion flavour is essential to this recipe, so I like to start with the garlic to ensure it cooks for longer and turns a nice golden brown. However, you can temper the spices before adding the aromatics if you’d like. 
  • The sugar is optional, and I generally leave it out to make the dish a bit “healthier”. 
  • If you have a low spice tolerance start with ¼ tsp of red chilli powder and then add more at the end if needed.
  • If your rice has come out too spicy, pair it with some raitu (yogurt dip) to balance out the heat. An easy raitu recipe is to simply mix yogurt, finely diced cucumber, cumin powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Enjoy and please comment below with any thoughts or questions!

I would love to see your creations! If you try the recipe, please feel free to share it with me on my Instagram @jankipatel_ !

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