Kadai paneer is a flavorful Indian dish made with paneer (cottage cheese), bell peppers, onions, and freshly ground spices. The paneer and vegetables are cooked in a kadai (deep pan) and cooked with the rich flavors of the spices. The recipe I am sharing is the dry version of the kadhai paneer.
Why you will love this recipe?
- This kadai paneer recipe uses a freshly ground blend of spices that infuse the paneer and vegetables with lots of flavors.
- The dry version of the kadai paneer recipe is relatively quick and easy to prepare, making it a convenient option to make a delicious meal in a short amount of time.
- Kadai paneer can be enjoyed as a standalone appetizer, a flavorful side dish, or a filling for wraps or sandwiches.
Paneer: Paneer or Indian cottage cheese is the main ingredient. Use homemade or store-bought paneer.
Coriander seeds and dried chili: These form the kadai masala. They are freshly roasted and pounded into a coarse powder.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Variations: Gravy versus dry kadai paneer
Kadai paneer gravy: This is the most common version of the dish. Here, the paneer and vegetables are cooked in a thick, spiced onion-tomato masala sauce (gravy). It is also often referred to as restaurant style kadai paneer.
Kadai paneer dry: In the dry version of Kadai Paneer, the dish is prepared without the addition of tomato-based gravy. Instead, the paneer and vegetables are stir-fried or sautéed with spices and other ingredients. This version of kadai paneer not only pairs with naan or flavored rice but can also be enjoyed on its own or as a filling in wraps or sandwiches.
Step 1: Dry roast the coriander seeds and dry red chili in a
Step 2: Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a kadai or
Step 3: In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add methi seeds and finely chopped garlic. Fry until the garlic is golden (image 5).
Step 4: Add the ground kadai masala and cook for a minute on medium heat (images 6 and 7). Add ginger paste and green chili. Mix well (image 8).
Step 5: Add the tomatoes and salt. Mix well and cook until the tomatoes are cooked completely and the oil starts to separate (images 9 and 10).
Step 6: Add the onion and bell peppers. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes (images 11 and 12).
Step 7: Add the paneer and mix gently (images 13 and 14). Cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes until the paneer is infused with the masala. Garnish with cilantro (coriander leaves) and serve hot (images 15 and 16).
Soft and fresh paneer will provide a creamy texture to the dish. I have added fresh paneer directly to the dish; however, you can lightly sauté or shallow fry the paneer until it turns golden brown. Add the paneer towards the end of cooking and mix the paneer gently, as it tends to break easily.
Prepare the kadai masala by dry roasting whole coriander seeds and dried red chilies. Once roasted, grind them into a coarse powder. Do not grind the roasted spices into a fine powder. Just pound them coarsely.
Saute the onion and bell peppers and let them char slightly. Red onions work best; however, yellow onions can also be used. Choose colorful bell peppers such as red, yellow, and green to add vibrancy and a variety of flavors to the dish.
What to serve with kadai paneer?
Dhabas are popular roadside eateries, which are located mostly on highways and usually serve as truck stops. Dhabas generally serve local cuisine. The food served there has led to the development of a cooking style famously known as the Dhaba style.
Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container once it has cooled down to room temperature. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When reheating, gently warm the kadai paneer in a pan over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Yes, this dish can be frozen for longer-term storage. To freeze it, allow it to cool completely and transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Label the container with the date and freeze it for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw the frozen kadai paneer in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat it gently in a microwave or pan over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Keep in mind that the texture of the paneer may slightly change after freezing, but the flavors should still be delicious.
More paneer recipes
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- 3 cups paneer cut into long fingers
- 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 3 dried red chili
- 3 tablespoon ghee (use store-bought or homemade ghee)
- 1 large onion cut into thick slices
- 1 medium bell pepper cut into long fingers
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi)
- 4-5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1-2 green chili or as per taste
- 1 cup tomatoes chopped
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon cilantro chopped
- Dry roast the coriander seeds and dry red chili in a frying pan. Cool and pound them in a mortar pestle. Set it aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a kadhai or fry pan. Saute onion and bell peppers until they are slightly charred. Set them aside.
- In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add methi and garlic. Fry until the garlic is golden.
- Add the pounded spice powder and cook for a minute.
- Add ginger paste and green chili.
- Add the tomatoes and salt. Mix well and cook until the tomatoes are cooked completely and the oil starts to separate (about 5-6 minutes).
- Add the fried onion and bell peppers. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
- Add the paneer. Mix gently and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.