Not-quite dhaba style Indian Kadai Paneer. This is my take on the very popular kadai paneer recipe made with a rich tomato sauce and coriander seeds. This is an epic Indian comfort food recipe that is irresistible.
This recipe is for all you paneer lovers out there!
I am a paneer aficionado and can never get enough of it! So, I am only too happy to make a recipe centered around it.
What is “kadai”?
Kadai means “wok” or “pan”. Its used in so many recipes from breakfast to dinner and everything in between. It is the single most important kitchen utensil in an Indian household.
Infact, its so important that its passed down from mother to daughter for generations. There are some kadais that have been in a family for over 5 generations.
The good ones are sturdy in build and do not stain easily.
We had a stainless steel kadai growing up and it still works like the first day it was put into circulation. Most Indian kadais are low maintenance and stores easily.
Is kadai paneer the same as shahi paneer?
Kadai paneer tends to be on the drier side where as shahi paneer is in a gravy form. Kadai paneer usually has bell peppers and onions visible alongside the paneer.
Shahi paneer (also known as paneer makhani or butter paneer) is made with a thick tomato sauce with very few other ingredients. P/S: “Makhani” is Hindi for “Butter”. Pretty cool, right?
Shahi paneer is served as the main course in restaurants. However, in some restaurants, kadai paneer is served as an appetizer with papad.
How to make paneer
Making paneer is the easiest Indian ingredient to make at home. All you need is whole milk and lemon juice!
Early on, when I started this blog, I posted a step-by-step post on making paneer. As you can see, its very easy to make.
It was only my second recipe on the blog, so, the images are not good at all. But, that shouldn’t stop you from going to it and learning how to make paneer.
What to serve with kadai paneer?
Coriander seeds are the most important spice in this recipe. Be sure to include it.
This is now my favorite Indian recipe to make at home! What is your favorite Indian recipe to make at home?
More paneer recipes
This pizza is a fusion of Greek and Indian flavors
This restaurant classic is so easy to make at home
Marinated paneer wrapped in rice paper and served with an apricot sauce.
Homemade Kadai Paneer
- Stir Fry Wok 12″
To roast the paneer
- 1.5 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup cashews halved or whole
- 8 oz paneer About half a block. Julienned or cubed
To make the tomato base
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 dried chili
- 4 Thai green chili Optional, slit into half
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 Tbsp crushed ginger
- 1 Tbsp crushed garlic
- 1 cup water
To stir fry bell peppers
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 yellow onion
- 1/2 red bell pepper julienned
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper julienned
- 1/2 green bell pepper julienned
- 1 Tbsp turmeric
- 1 Tbsp red chili powder adjust to your taste
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cube jaggery see notes
To roast the paneer
- Heat the kadai for 30 seconds on medium heat before adding the oil
- Add the cashews and paneer
- Roast on low heat for about 2 minutes or until the paneer has browned
- Remove the paneer from kadai and set it aside
To make the tomato base
- Heat kadai for 30 seconds on medium heat before adding the oil
- Add the fenugreek seeds and black mustard seed
- When the black mustard seeds start popping, add the cumin
- Add the coriander seeds, dried chili and thai chili
- After 90 seconds, add the tomato paste and tomato sauce
- Make a well and add the ginger + garlic in it
- Mix well before adding the water
- Cook the sauce for about 7-10 minutes until the water evaporates
- When the sauce is paste consistency, add the water
- Cook for about 5 minutes until it thickens slightly
- Move sauce to a bowl and set aside
To stir fry the bell peppers
- Heat the same kadai for 30 seconds and add the oil
- Add the onions and saute them for about 2 minutes until they are lightly browned
- Add the bell peppers
- Stir fry for about 8-12 minutes or until they are soft
- Move the bell peppers to one side of the kadai
- Add the turmeric and red chili powder
- Only roast the turmeric and chili powder for about 1 minute. Don’t touch the bell peppers
- Now, mix all the ingredients in the kadai and let it cook for 2 minutes
- Add the tomato base and mix well
- Add the water, salt and jaggery
- Reduce it to an almost paste consistency (about 6 minutes)
- Add the roasted paneer and cashews
- Very gently mix everything together
- Cook for 2 minutes
- Serve it after that. Best served hot
- Nutrition info is approximate