Kadai paneer recipe – Indian cottage cheese or paneer cooked in onion tomato gravy with kadai masala and no yogurt or cream is used. This dish gets its name karahi or kadhai paneer since it is cooked in a special Indian wok called kadai which is one of the most basic kitchen essentials of Indian Cuisine.
This restaurant style kadai paneer gravy turns out to be very flavorful and delicious, stands out among the other restaurant style paneer dishes for its simplicity and taste.
I also make this quick kadhai paneer dry often for the lunch box along with jeera rice & simple vegetable salad. I have shared that recipe in the video below. This kadai paneer gravy is good when you are home for a meal. If you prefer to make your own paneer at home, you can follow this post on How to make paneer.
Tips to make best Kadai paneer recipe
1. Kadai masala is the key to making a good kadai paneer recipe. It is usually made of coriander seeds, red chilies, cloves, fennel seeds and few other spices. In this recipe I went the easy way using coriander seeds, red chilies and garam masala.
2. Using good quality dried red chilies that are not too spicy is important. I usually use kashmiri or byadgi red chilies.
3. Always saute the kadai masala in oil until it turns fragrant. This is the key to an aromatic kadai paneer.
Kadai paneer recipe
Kadai paneer recipe | How to make kadai paneer gravy | Paneer recipes
Restaurant style kadai paneer gravy made in a onion tomato gravy with fresh ground kadai masala. It is spicy, hot and delicious. Kadai paneer can be served with rice or roti.
Ingredients (240 ml cup used)
Ingredients for kadai masala
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds or daniya (can reduce to 1.5 tbsp)
- 4 dried red chilies Kashmiri (or less spicy variety) deseeded
Ingredients for gravy
other ingredients for kadai paneer recipe
- 1 onion (medium to large, cubed, layers separated)
- ½ cup capsicum cubed
- 250 grams paneer or Indian cottage cheese (roughly 230 to 250 grams)
- ½ to 1 tsp ginger julienne
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped finely
How to make the recipe
Preparation for kadai paneer recipe
First powder red chilies and coriander seeds in a blender. You can blend finely or slightly coarse.
Heat oil in a pan. Next saute onions and cashews until they turn transparent.
Add tomatoes and saute until completely mushy.
- Cool this and blend to a smooth paste. Set this aside.
To the same pan, add little oil and heat it.
- Saute onions and capsicum on a high flame until half done and crunchy.
Add paneer and toss for 1 to 2 mins. Set all these aside.
How to make kadai paneer
Add little more oil and heat up the pan again. Saute ginger garlic paste until the raw smell goes off.
Next transfer the ground coriander, chili powder and saute for 1 min until it turns fragrant.
- Add the ground onion tomato paste and saute for 2 mins.
Next add garam masala and red chil powder If desired. Saute for another 2 mins until the masala turns fragrant.
- Add ½ to ¾ cup water and salt. Allow it to boil until the gravy thickens and traces of oil appear on top.
Then crush and add kasuri methi. Stir well again.
- Add the sauted paneer, capsicum and onion. Stir well. Switch off the stove.
Finally add ginger juliennes and coriander leaves. Cover and rest for 2 mins.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and allow to rest for at least 15 mins before serving.
- Enjoy kadai paneer gravy with roti, paratha or jeera rice.
Video of kadai paneer dry recipe
Recipe notes for kadai paneer recipe
Kadai masala is usually made of coriander seeds, red chilies, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, jeera, saunf, pepper and a small piece of bay leaf. But coriander seeds are used in higher quantity when compared to any garam masala. Kadai masala can be made using all the above mentioned ingredients or can be substituted with any garam masala Plus additional coriander seeds and dry red chilies.
Preparation for kadai paneer recipe
Cube 1 heaped cup onions, chop 1 cup deseeded tomatoes. Cube 1 more onion and half cup capsicum preferably the same size as of paneer. You can use red or green or both. Measure 2 cups cubed paneer approximately about 230 to 250 grams.
1. If you have a ready kadai masala you can skip this one & the next step. Add 2 tbsp coriander seeds and 3 to 4 deseeded red chilies to a blender. Refer notes in the recipe card below to know more about the masala.
2. Pulse it to make a coarse or fine powder to suit your taste. Kadai masala is usually ground to a coarse powder. In this recipe, the it gets cooked well in the gravy, so it does not come in the mouth even if it is made to a slightly coarse powder. Set this aside.
Make onion tomato masala for kadai paneer recipe
3. Heat a pan with little oil on a high flame. Saute 1 heaped cup of cubed onions along with 6 to 7 split cashews until they turn lightly golden.
4. Add 1 cup chopped tomatoes and continue to saute on a medium heat until tomatoes turn mushy and soft. If needed add little salt or cover and cook to fasten the cooking.
5. Cool this completely. Meanwhile you can cube half cup capsicums and 1 more onion. Separate the layers of onions. Set these aside.
6. Add the cooled onion tomatoes to a mixer jar.
8. Blend it to smooth paste without adding water.
How to make kadai paneer recipe
9. Add a tbsp of oil to the pan and heat up on a high flame. To get the restaurant style smoky flavor, use the same pan used for sauteing onion tomatoes earlier. Add capsicum and onions, saute on a high flame just until half cooked (must remain crunchy). Constantly toss to prevent burning.
10. Add paneer, make sure it is not moist before you add. Toss it in the hot pan for 60 to 90 seconds on a medium heat. Less than 2 mins. Do not overcook else the paneer turns hard. Transfer all these to a plate.
11. Add little more oil, saute ginger & garlic paste until the raw smell goes.
12. Add the blended kadai masala and saute it well. We have not roasted the spices earlier so we need to do it well here until it turns aromatic.
13. Add onion tomato puree.
14. Saute it well for about 2 mins. Add half tsp garam masala. I have added half tsp red chilli powder just to bring a good color and this is optional.
15. Next saute well for 2 mins again. Since we have sauteed onions and tomatoes well in the earlier steps, we don’t need to cook till the masala leaves the sides of the pan.
Making kadai paneer gravy
16. Add ½ to ¾ cup water and stir well. Bring this to a boil. I used ¾ cup water.
17. Allow the gravy to bubble well and thicken. Make sure the gravy doesn’t look runny or watery. After boiling it well, you will be able to see traces of oil on top of the gravy. Next towards the end add ¼ tsp crushed kasuri methi.
18. Add the sauteed onion, capsicum and paneer that we has set aside. Turn off the stove.
19. Mix well. Add ginger juliennes and chopped coriander leaves. Cover and set aside for 2 mins. Do not leave on the hot stove since it will continue to cook further. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Allow kadai paneer to rest for at least 15 mins for the paneer to absorb flavors.