Kadai Paneer Recipe is a popular Indian Paneer Recipe that is colorful, spicy, tangy, and flavorful. It is made by combining Paneer (Indian cottage cheese), onion, bell peppers, and tomatoes in freshly grounded Kadai Masala.
Our site contains some affiliate links. That means when you purchase anything by clicking those links, I get a commission with no extra cost to you. This helps up the blog running. To know more about this, check out the Disclaimer. Thank You!
I have made a few changes after making it for so long now. First, I saute the tomatoes until mushy & soft and then add onions & bell peppers. That way crunch of veggies remains intact. Second, I like it a little spicy, so I add whole red chilis. Third, it goes great with Garlic Naan or Indian Roti/Chapatti.
The post contains Helpful Tips & Tricks to make Kadai Paneer Masala. But if you're in a hurry, you can also click "Jump to Recipe' under the Heading to go directly to the Recipe Card, or you can also click Recipe Card from the Table of Contents above.
📋WHAT IS KADAI PANEER?
In a nutshell, Kadai Paneer is a paneer recipe made in Kadai (Indian wok). Hence the name Kadai Paneer. You can make it dry or in the form of curry. It is made by adding tomatoes, bell peppers, onions in Kadai. The prominent flavor comes from the freshly grounded Kadai Masala. But you can also add Garam Masala to save time.
WHY DO WE NEED TO MAKE IT IN KADAI?
You can make Kadai Paneer Masala in any pan. But in India, it is usually made in Kadai. Kadai is a thick-bottomed pan to cook anything at high heat without damaging the utensil.
It is like a wok but heavy-bottomed and circular from the bottom, so everything cooks evenly and quickly.
- TOMATOES: I usually use cherry tomatoes and diced tomatoes. This gives a nice color to the recipe. Or you can also use finely chopped ripe tomatoes.
- BELL PEPPER: I usually prefer green bell peppers as it give a nice color to the curry. The masala is red in color, so adding green bell peppers provides a nice color to the recipe.
- ONION: I add small onion to the recipe of Kadai Paneer. I like to add big chunks of onion and not chopped.
- PANEER: I usually prefer store-bought paneer that is easily availabla in any Indian store. My personal favorite is Haldiram's Paneer as they are soft & tastes a lot like the Paneer that we use to get back home in India. Or you can also make Homemade Paneer using whole milk and vinegar/lemon juice.
- KADAI MASALA: This paneer recipe tastes great with freshly grounded Kadai Masala. I add Corriander Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Kasmiri Red Chilis, Green Cardamom, Fennel Seeds, Cloves, and Cinnamon to make my special Kadai Masala.
- GARNISH: Finally garnish you Kadai Paneer Masala with chopped cilantro, crushed Kasuri Methi (dried Fenugreek Leaves), and juliened ginger).
See the recipe card for quantities.
To make Kadai Paneer, you need Kadai masala. Kadai Masala is a blend of freshly roasted & grounded spices. Freshly roasted spices enhance the flavor &, in turn, makes the paneer recipe more flavorful.
- Make it Fresh: You can make Kadai masala by first roasting the spices and then grinding them in a spice grinder. This will provide the fresh flavor to the recipe.
- Store a Big-Batch: This Kadai Masala is very flavorful and you can make it in large quantity and store it in an airtight container for later use. You can use this masala in variety of recipes.
- Buy a Store-Bought: You can also use a store-bought Kadai Masala to save time. You will not get the same flavor as you get from the homemade one.
🔪HOW TO MAKE KADAI PANEER
Check the recipe card below for the full recipe, but you refer here for step-by-step photo instructions.
Step 1- Make the Kadai Spice-Mix: Dry roast the spices (don't burn them) at low heat until fragrant. Let them cool, and then grind them coarsely in the spice grinder.
Step 2- Make Masala: Add oil in the Kadai and saute coriander seeds and whole red chili for 1 minute. Then add tomatoes. Cook tomatoes for 3-5 minutes or until they turn soft & mushy.
Step 3- Add the Spices: Next, add the spice mix (Kadai Masala). You can also add a teaspoon of garam masala powder & ginger garlic paste and red chili powder. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
Tip: If you feel that adding Kashmir Red Chili will make the recipe spicy then you can deseed the chilis. And soak them in water for 15-20 minutes. Then strain the liquid and use the soaked Kashmiri red chilis to make Kadai Masala (as per instructions).
Step 3- Add Veggies: Add Onion and Bell Peppers and ½ cup of water. Saute for 2-3 minutes until bell peppers are a little soft.
Tip: Add big chunks of bell peppers and onion. This will bring the crunch and color to the recipe.
Step 3- Add Paneer: Then add Paneer. You can add grilled/fried Paneer too. It gives a great texture to the recipe. Garnish with Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and cilantro.
Step 5- Adjust & Serve: Adjust the spices and serve with Indian Flatbread or rice.
- I don't add regular Red Chilies, as they add a lot of heat to the dish in the masala. I usually add deseeded Kashmiri red chilies as they are not so spicy and add color to the Paneer.
- Before grounding the spices, first I roast them. This makes the dish flavorful & aromatic.
- You don't need to chop onion & bell pepeprs. I add them in big chunks as they give crunch to the recipe.
- Don't overcook the Bell Peppers/ Capsicum. 1-2 minutes are enough to make them soft. We don't want them to lose the freshness.
- You can substitute Paneer with Tofu too.
- Add ginger julienne strips at the end.
- Along with tomatoes, I add canned diced tomatoes too. This enriches the flavor & also gives color to the dish.
- Lastly, add sugar. This helps in balancing the flavors.
- Kadai Paneer Gravy- This is served in most Indian restaurants and goes well with any Indian bread or any rice variety. This has a very flavorful gravy which is easy to make.
- Kadai Paneer Dry - This semi-dry recipe doesn't have any gravy and yet is very flavorful and quick to make. This doesn't need a lot of time or preparation. I am making this version of Kadai paneer today.
You can serve Kadai Paneer Masala with Garlic Naan or Laccha Parantha. If you have any leftover Kadai Paneer, you can use it as it is, or you can make a roll by wrapping it in Indian Flatbread with some Green Chutney & sliced Onions.
⭐WHY YOU'LL LIKE THIS RECIPE
You will like this recipe of Kadai Paneer because:
- It is full of flavors.
- Tangy & it can be made spicy.
- It can be made in minutes.
- You can change the recipe as per your taste.
- Healthy as it does not have any cream or butter.
- It does not require a whole lots of ingredients.
You can store it in the refrigerator or freezer; the taste will remain the same. You can store leftover Kadai Paneer Masala in the fridge for 3-5 days. And in the freezer in a container for 1-2 months. Before using the freezer-stored Kadai Paneer, just thaw and heat it in the microwave or in a pan on the stove-top until boiled.
🧾FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes, Kadai Paneer Masala is a bit spicy & has a smoky flavor. It is made by adding green chilis and Kashmiri Red Chili to the gravy to a tangy taste. But you can limit these if you don't want to make the curry spicy. You can add paprika instead, along with some whole black peppercorns.
Unlike other varieties of cheese, Paneer is healthy as it is rich in protein and calcium. Therefore, it can be consumed by people on Keto Diet or who want to increase their protein intake by being on a vegetarian diet. In addition, you can use less oil to make it healthier. It has no cream or butter, so it is considered a healthier alternative.
Shahi Paneer is a luxurious recipe made by adding cream, nuts, saffron, dry fruits, etc. Whereas Kadai Paneer is made by adding Kadai Masala (a blend of spices) with onion, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Kadai Paneer Masala does not have any creamy or yogurt in it.
Yes, you can add cream/ yogurt to your recipe of Kadai Paneer.
📖 RECIPE CARD
Kadai Paneer Recipe
- 3 tablespoon Oil
- 1 tablespoon Corriander Seeds
- 2 Whole Red Chilis
- 1 small Onion cut in chunks
- 1 cup Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes chopped
- ½ cup Diced Tomatoes canned
- 1 tablespoon Ginger- Garlic Paste
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- ½ teaspoon Sugar
- 1 cup Green Bell Pepper cutin chunks
- 1 Green Chilis sliced (optional)
- ¼ cup Water
- 250 gms Paneer cut in pieces
- 1 teaspoon Kasuri Methi
- 1 inch Ginger julienned
- Cilantro (to garnish)
Homemade Kadai Masala
- Add all the ingredients of Kadai Masala in Kadai or pan, and dry roast till fragrant (3-4 minutes on low heat.)
- Let it cool down and then add all the spices to the spice grinder and grind it to a fine powder.
How to Make Kadai Paneer
- Add oil to Kadai or pan. Once it is warm, Add coriander seed & whole red chilis and saute for 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they turn soft & mushy.
- Once tomatoes turn mushy and oil starts to separate, add Ginger- Garlic Paste and cook for another 1-2 mins.
- Add Garam Masala, Green Chilies, Kadai Masala, Red Chili Powder, Sugar, and Salt. Then add onion and green bell peppers and saute for 1 minute.
- Then add ¼ cup of water and saute for 2-3 minutes (or until bell peppers are a little tender but still crunchy).
- Then add Paneer, Kasuri Methi, and coriander leaves. Mix until all the ingredients are combined and cook for 1-2 minutes at low heat.
- Garnish with julienned ginger and serve with Naan.