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.

Overhead view of kadai paneer with papad and onions
kadai paneer tastes best when made in the kadai

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.

↥Back to the top

A kadai filled with kadai paneer, red onions and papad. In the back, a mortar and pestel filled with coriander seeds and a small brown bowl with cashews
A wonderful blend of aromatic spicy and melt-in-your-mouth paneer!

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.

↥Back to the top

Closeup view of kadai paneer in the kadai
Kadai paneer is a quick Indian main course meal and perfect for rice or naan

↥Back to the top

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.

↥Back to the top

Closeup view of kadai paneer in the kadai
Kadai paneer can be an appetizer, side dish or part of the main course meal

What to serve with kadai paneer?

↥Back to the top

Landscape view of the black kadai filled with kadai paneer, onions and papad
Can you just imagine dipping your naan in this 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

Paneer pizza

This pizza is a fusion of Greek and Indian flavors

Paneer Pizza with Greek Flavors
Paneer Pizza with Indian and Greek Spices.  Served over Hummus-layered Naan
Check out this recipe
Overhead and Closeup view of Naan Paneer Pizza and surrounded by Cilantro, Hummus and spices

Matar Paneer

This restaurant classic is so easy to make at home

Matar Paneer Recipe
Restaurant style Matar Paneer recipe.
Check out this recipe
Overhead view of a thick, creamy tomato sauce with roasted paneer and peas

Vegetarian rolls

Marinated paneer wrapped in rice paper and served with an apricot sauce.

Vegetarian Rolls with Apricot Sauce
Simple Vegetarian Rolls with Apricot Sauce. 
Check out this recipe
easy Vegetarian Rolls

You can substitute tofu with paneer in my tofu skewers recipe and even add a little paneer to my Bombay potatoes.

↥Back to the top

Overhead view of kadai paneer with papad and onions

Homemade Kadai Paneer

My take on making kadai paneer at home
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3 people
Calories 435 kcal


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

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



– Jaggery comes in powder form too.  You can get it from (affiliate link) Amazon.  If using powder jaggery, use about 1 Tbsp.
  • Nutrition info is approximate


Calories: 435kcal
Keyword kadai paneer recipe video, what is kadai paneer
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I love that I can come to your blog and always find something new an delicious to try!! What would seem difficult is always made easy by your step by step instructions!! This is my next adventure meal!

  2. What a wonderful post! I don’t know a whole lot about Indian food, except that my tastebuds LOVE the dishes I’ve tried. kadai paneer looks super flavorful with all those spices. So glad to be able to make this at home!

  3. I love all the detailed information in your post. I love Indian food and this is a dish I must try. So many great bold flavors! Yum!!

  4. Your posts are always so informative and answer all the questions I never knew I even had… I learned so much in this post and popped over to the paneer post as well as I didnt know you could make that at home! As Im looking at the ingredient list the only thing I don’t have is jaggery– Looks like I’ll be heading to the Indian Market soon to give this a try (And the homemade paneer too!)