Mar 24, 2011

Kadai Paneer

Hello Everybody!!!

I've been MIA for a few days now. Its just been a very eventful past few days - both good and not so good. One of the best things that happened in the last few days was that Nags from Edible Garden was here visiting me. She is such a delight to spend time with me and we were like two long lost friends chatting away and shopping and eating all the time! I had an absolute wonderful time with her and can't wait for our next meet up! There were a lot of surprised people who learnt that we've never actually met each other before. Nags - you are a goofy fun person and I loved all the fun we had over the weekend. And just so you know, I started my diet after you left - need to make up for all that we ate! 

We did eat out most of the time. But, I prepared a few meals at home as well. Our dinner one night was this Kadai Paneer, Daal and Rotis. Nags absolutely loved the colorful peppers we have in our markets here and so we decided to make some kadai paneer with fresh red, green and yellow peppers. And also super fresh homemade paneer. 

And for the ultimate flavorful kadai vegetables, the secret lies in the masala .The fresher the masala, the tastier the veggies are. And so it starts with this. 

Dry roast these ingredients separately without any oil and when a nice aroma wafts out, move them to a plate. 

I used all these below - 

About 1/4 cup of fresh coriander seeds (Dhaniya)
Half of a 1/4 cup of fresh cumin seeds (Jeera)
Fresh Cinnamon - 2 to 3 small pieces of either the flat or the rolled cinnamon sticks
Fresh Cloves - 4-5 individual pieces
Black Pepper - about 1/2 tsp
Dried Red Chillies - about 2-3
Cardamom seeds - a pinch, either fresh peeled or fresh ground powder 

After dry roasting all the above ingredients individually, grind all together into a coarse powder. This will be the fresh masala for the veggies and the paneer.

And the next step is to make the tomato-onion gravy for the kadai paneer. I like my kadai paneer not floating in gravy but just coated with a little moistness. And this kind of a thick paste like gravy works perfect for this dish.

For the gravy -

Fresh Garlic - 3-4 pieces
Fresh Ginger - chopped - about 1 tsp
Chopped onions - about 1/2 cup
Chopped juicy tomatoes - about 1 cup

Move the onion-tomato mixture to a small blender and blend into a smooth paste. 

And now to make the Paneer.

This is a new recipe that I've been following for the last few times I made Paneer. This recipe was given to me by a friend Kavitha. She mentioned that she makes Paneer like this and its one of the best ways and gives the softest paneer. I agree whole heartedly with her now! Thanks Kavitha for this recipe!!

Heat up a whole gallon of milk and get it to almost a boiling point. Switch it off and immediately pour one 1 quart (32oz) of buttermilk little by little and keep stirring. You'll see the whey separating from the curdled paneer. Strain the paneer and try to take out as much whey as you can by squeezing out the paneer in a muslin cloth or a cotton towel.

Move the strained paneer to a food processor and process it until the consistency turns smooth and soft.

Move the paneer to a flat plate with raised edges preferably and press down even just using a flat spatula or even the palm of your hands. Let this sit for some time. If you can make the paneer earlier, let this sit for about an hour or two. I made it just then and hence did not let it sit much - maybe only about 5-10 mins. Using a knife, cut into small square any other shape you prefer.

Meanwhile, also chop up your favorite bell peppers and some onions into big chunks.

Saute each veggie separately in a tsp of oil. Cook for a couple of mins and then add a pinch of salt to taste and then add about 1 tsp of the fresh masala prepared as above.

Cook the onions first. Add 2-3 bay leaves with the onions for an extra flavor.

Then, cook the bell peppers one color at a time till they are quickly sauteed - they should still hold a little crispness and not be completely soft or mushed up.

Also, cut up a couple of tomatoes into long pieces and saute the same way and add the masala.

Lastly, fry the paneer separately and add all these flavoring below -

Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - a few pinches
Fresh ground masala - 1 1/2 tsps
Kasoori Methi - take about 1 tsp and rub them between your fingers before adding them to the paneer - this releases the flavor much better than just adding directly
Red Chilli powder - about 1 tsp

Fry the paneer pieces for a few mins till you see a few of them crisping up on the bottom and sides. Remove and place on top of the peppers.

Lastly, add the tomato onion paste made before and cook for a couple of mins. Add a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of red chilli powder and a little salt to taste just for this paste.

So, here are the veggies - all the grilled peppers at the bottom and then the sauteed paneer on the top.

Finally add the tomato paste to the veggies and paneer.

And using a fork, gently toss them around so that the veggies, paneer and the sauce all mix up well.

 And there people, is a juicy and tasty Kadai Paneer.

We all absolutely loved the fresh flavors of the Kadai Paneer. Serve hot with rotis or parathas or even as a side with some rice and daal. 

If you have big tortillas, just roll these up and eat as a wrap. Perfect lunch.

Enjoy. Peace Out.

Click here for a Printable Recipe


  1. best kadai paneer EVER!! making this tonight! :) thanks for having me Anu. was a blast, needless to say!

  2. Looks so delicious Anu with all those fresh spices and veggies in there. Do share pics both of you girlies took :)

  3. oh wow!! such a detailed well presented recipe:) feel like grabbing that plate:)

  4. The Kadai paneer look so tempting and sounds so delicious.I am going to make this weekend.Thanks for sharing.

  5. Delicious click...Absolutely mouthwatering..

  6. Love your khadai paneer and the step by step clicks

  7. Delicious kadai paneer...just need rotis to clean the plate :)

  8. Man, this kadai paneer recipe is a killer!I can say looking at this taht it even beats the restaurant ones. Drooling here..

  9. Great to hear you both had a gala time together!!Kadai Paneer looks delicious..the making of fresh masala is such a great idea!

  10. Thanks a lot for sharing. Never tried it before, so Bookmarked.

  11. That is a unique Kadhai Paneer recipe - bookmarked

  12. Yummy and perfect recipe.. looks really amazing dear.. thanks for the awesome recipe :)

  13. Thats really wonderful to meet and chitchat with our virtual blogger buddies na, kadai paneer looks absolutely inviting..

  14. yummy and delicious recipe,luks gr8!

  15. Absolutely delicious.....great that u both Had great time... its really fun.. The kadai panneer looks yumm yumm :) wish i was there too Anu.

  16. I wanted to make kadhai paneer for a long time, finally I found the recipe worth trying. Just a question, the buttermilk used for making paneer, is it store (american grocery) bought one or diluted yogurt which is called buttermilk in India (Majiga in telugu)? Thanks for answering my question.

  17. Thank you all!!

    @ Anonymous - thanks! This is the store bought buttermilk - the Knudsen brand. The regular buttermilk might work too but I have not tried yet. If you have access to the store bought, try to use that. Or else try to make a smaller quantity with homemade buttermilk.

  18. droolworthy and yummilicious sabji

  19. Yummy,I like the idea of blending the gravy as a last step.
    When you mentioned using buttermilk to curdle milk, I was just wondering, Have you tried using fresh lemon juice in place of buttermilk and still found buttermilk better?(Reason I asked - I use lemon juice)I would like to try out buttermilk too!

  20. @ Rajani - yes, I do like this bettern than lemon or even vinegar - reason is both lemon and vinegar would add a flavor to the paneer and this does not. This has become my favorite method now. Try it and you'll like it too. Also, I find the paneer most soft using this method.

  21. That is really nice wish I could do this too- glad you guys had a great time :)
    The kadai paneer looks great- the use of fresh ground masala makes a world of difference..

    US Masala

  22. hi
    very interesting way of making kadai paneer and super fast way of making paneer.
    just a few doubts.
    Does the water drain away completely from the paneer just like the traditional way of hanging and placing weights on it?
    Will the paneer hold its shape if used in other dishes where the paneer is added to the gravy and stirred.
    eagerly waiting for the reply.

  23. @ Madura - yes, this paneer does hold up good. The best option would be to make this paneer a few hours ago and let it sit for about couple of hrs to set firmly. Then, you can use it in all the regular paneer gravy dishes too.

    I squeeze out the water completely - you can even let it hang for about 15-20 mins if you want to. You can follow the normal method you make paneer - but just using buttermilk in place of lemon or vinegar. Let me know how you like it if you try this method.

  24. Wow looks delicious!!Will try it out soon.

  25. Hi,

    Came here thru Nags-Edible Garden and the pics look gorgeous ! Great blog..

    Thanks for the recipe


  26. Yummy recipe!!! Love them...

    I am here for first time, happy following you..


  27. Awesome, much awaited Kadai paneer recipe !!! Will try it out and let you know !!!!

  28. Your blog looks wonderful and i would like to pass you on this award. Please accept it.

  29. Lovely post Anu,,

    needless to say you had a blast with Nags adn looks like she is having such a great time reliving the weekend she was with you...Was it just one weekend??? You guys must have had loads of fun and food!!! I love the way youve made the panner and cut it in to cute diamonds! Lovely post and shall try and test it soooon!


  30. Absolutely flavourable...
    Aromatic.... with freshly groun d spices....

    ( Sandhya's Kitchen )

  31. I'm looking at that colourful platter and enjoying myself. I am sure you had a great time and have seen the 'simple lunch' you cooked too. I am inviting myself over to you when I visit the US of A

  32. Mouthwatering Anu!!! Will try this soon!!! ..Iam going to hv a date with your recipes... will try out one per day!!! You are the best!!!

  33. At last!! Kadai paneer which looks and tastes yummy as well. I tried this today and it came out really yum. Can you please tell me however, what i can do with the remaining masala powder?

  34. @ Maina - Glad you liked it! You can use that masala for anything else like Pulav or other dry sabji fry or even on daal. Since its got the basic good ingredients, it will go with everything. Try bhindi masala with this too -the flavors will blend well.

  35. Anu, I should only tell u Im indebted to u for all that I have learnt thru Mriganayani. What am I going to give u back in return for all this? And today I made this kadai paneer and missi roti for dinner. TH and me just relished every bit(e) of it. Thanks Anu for everything!! I only wish and pray there is no end to ur love & passion for cooking, blogging and fotography. Hugs, Mathangi

  36. Savitha VenkatramanApril 20, 2011 at 7:04 AM

    Anu, I have tried a different recipe for this dish, and I feel THE ABOVE ONE would be the best, looks really SUMPTOUS, YUMMMMMMMMMMYYYYY!!!!!!!!. I will prepare it and appease my "eatentorous" children. Thanks a lot

  37. Anu, I made this last night and one word. BRILLIANT! So authentic! Thanks for all the hardwork you put into the blog. The step by step pictures are what make your blog special. Again,thanks! (BTW , I knew about your blog only through :))

  38. @'re going to make me cry..haha. Just comments like yours is all I need to keep going. Will pick back up and come back full force soon!

    @ Savitha - thanks. Do try and let me know how you like it.

    @ Jan - Awesome. Hi fi! Thank you for trying and adding a comment here. And I'll thank Nags for sending you my way!

  39. Dear anu,
    I found out ur site by chance when i was surfing for some recipes and since then ive been hooked to it!!!! is the way u explain the recipes to make it sound so simple and dellllicious!!!! me goosebumps whenever i finish reading ur recipes.....

    Jus one doubt as im a little new to cookin.. the above kadai panner with all quantities and stuff.. how many ppl would it serve???

  40. @ Sharan - thank you so much for your kind words. This amount is enough to serve 3-4 people if this is the only dish you are serving along with rotis or parathas. If you are cooking for a party and have many more side dishes like daal, sabji etc, this can be served for upto 8-10 people. Let me know how you like it if you try it out.

  41. this is brilliant. after i made it once, i have not made paneer in any other way. even at my parent's home in india they follow this recipe now.

  42. Hi!
    Just chanced upon your blog, loved the way you take pains to describe everything in detail with pics....Been through about 15 kadhai veg recipes tonight but plan to stick to this one...:)...I am gonna cook this for a party so wanted something authentic without spoonfuls of ready garam masala
    Will also try the paneer when time permits.
    Keep up the good work.

  43. Hi,
    Love the pics and step by step description beat most professional chefs with this authentic without using the ready powders...just what I wanted for a party, I ve been through 10 kadhai paneer recipes tonight but shall make this one...keep up the good work

  44. Hi Anu, I tried this recipe today and we all loved it very much. Thank you very much for posting such a wonderful recipe. But I didn't make paneer from scratch. I'm definitely trying that too sometime soon.


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