Kadai Paneer Recipe is a tasty north Indian recipe. Kadhai Paneer or Karahi Paneer is the simplest way of cooking paneer at home because all items being used for this recipe, will be easily available at your home. Kadai Paneer is one of the most common dishes ordered in Indian restaurants. The reason is, it is spicy, very minimal gravy and is best paired with Laccha Paratha or Naan.
If we go to a North Indian restaurant in Hyderabad, my daughter has to order her favorite dish, that is KADAI PANEER. I must say, one of the tastiest KADAI PANEER I have had was in Punjabi Affair.
With the bite from crunch Capsicum, Tomatoes and cubes of Onions and soft Paneer pieces surely marks its place in a delicious tomato onion based gravy.
Here are some more Paneer Recipes, that are famous in North Indian restaurants – Paneer Makhanwala Recipe, Malai Paneer Tikka recipe, Paneer Khurchan, Restaurant Style Palak Paneer, Paneer Pasanda and Restaurant Style Paneer Tikka Masala.
Why the dish named Kadai Paneer?
Basically the dish comes from Punjab. Traditionally Punjabis name their dish based on the utensil it is cooked. For example, if the dish is cooked on Tawa it is called Tawa Paneer or the dish is cooked in Kadai, they name it as Kadai Paneer and if the dish is cooked in Handi then it is said Handi paneer.
Though it looks simple at a glance, but this naming style represents the style of dish. If the dish is cooked in Tawa, it is usually dry and at times crispy. If the dish is cooked in Kadai, the dish is with very little gravy or masala. If the dish is cooked in Handi, this denotes the slow cooking method with gravy (a kind of stew).
So, now that we know where is the name Kadai Paneer coming in from, we would be able to easily identify the texture of our dish Kadai Paneer.
What is Kadai Paneer?
Kadai Paneer recipe comes mainly from Punjab region within India. It is one of the most popular Paneer Recipes especially when it comes to selection from Northern flavours of India.
In this dish, cubed capsicum, onions and deeseded tomato cubes are added in the tomato onion gravy along with paneer cubes. To give it an unique flavour, a special Kadai Masala consists of coriander seeds and dry red chillies are dry roasted and then powdered. This freshly ground powder is added in the curry along with Kashmiri red chilli powder and garam masala powder to give it a distinct flavour.
Garnishing this dish with dry roasted powder gives this recipe a unique flavor too.
If you are not a rice fan like me, it is an altogether awesome experience to eat Karahi Paneer with some piping hot naan or parathas.
Here are some Paneer Recipes that you might like
- Paneer Butter Masala
- Palak Paneer
- Malai Paneer Tikka
- Healthy Shahi Paneer
- Paneer Stuffed Capsicum
- Restaurant style Matar Paneer
Difference between Kadai Paneer vs Paneer Butter Masala?
Kadai Paneer is a spicy gravy recipe that uses a lot of spices to give it a robust bold flavor.
However, Paneer Butter Masala is sweetish creamy cashew nuts and tomato-based curry which uses mild spices and nuts.
The gravy is much subtle and rich and is slightly on the sweetish side.
Kadai Paneer has capsicum added in the gravy along with paneer to give it that crunchy bite however in Paneer Butter Masala, it’s only paneer.
Making paneer at home is quite easy and you can be sure of what goes into it.
With just 2 ingredients at hand, you can make delicious homemade paneer.
Check the recipe here.
Variations and Suggestions from Khyati:
- Use fresh paneer to make this recipe. I used homemade Paneer in this recipe and you can also make paneer at home.
- You can use coal smoke at the end, to give this recipe restaurant style flavour.
- Kadai Masala powder can be prepared and stored in air tight container. But, we recommend to freshly ground it for that fresh flavour. It just takes 5 mins more.
- Water can be added to the gravy if you are not a fan of dry curries.
- Add mushroom to this curry and convert it to Mushroom Karai Paneer.
- Falling short of Paneer at home? Boil some vegetables like carrots, beans and green peas and convert this dish to Mix Veg Kadai Paneer.
You can make the gravy a little thinner and serve it with Steamed Rice, Jeera Rice or Veg Pulao.
Restaurant Style Kadai Paneer recipe
- 4 Kashmiri dried red chillies
- 1 tsp Fennel seeds
- 2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 3 tbsp Coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp Black peppercorns
- 200 grams Cottage Cheese paneer
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- 6 medium tomatoes chopped
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 inch ginger cut into juliennes
- 1/2 medium onion cut into cubes
- 1/2 medium green capsicum cut into cubes
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves kasuri methi
How to make Kadai Powder?
- Dry roast 2 red chillies, fennel seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2 tbsp coriander seeds, peppercorns till fragrant.
- Cool and grind into a coarse powder.
How to make Kadai Paneer?
- Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add remaining cumin seeds and red chillies and saute till seeds crackle.
- Add remaining coriander seeds, tomatoes, mix and saute for 5-6 minutes or thill tomatoes are pulpy.
- Cut cottage cheese into cubes.
- Add 1 tbsp kadai powder and mix well. Add onion cubes and capsicum cubes.
- Cut tomato into cubes and add. Mix well and add cottage cheese cubes. Toss to mix and cook for a minute.
- Add garam masala powder, toss to mix and cook for 1/2 a minute. Add dried fenugreek leaves and toss to mix.
- Sprinkle 1 tbsp kadai powder on top and serve hot.
- Kadai Masala can be stored in air tight container for approximately 45 days. After this, the fragrance will start decreasing.
- Prefer freshly ground Kadai masala.