This delicious and vibrant Veg Kadai gravy is filled with rich flavors, aromatic spices and vegetables. Made in a kadai (Indian wok) this dish has a medley of onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and various assorted veggies together with spices and cream for a finger-licking restaurant style gravy! Serve this wonderful North Indian dish with roti, naan, paratha or steamed basmati rice to make for a satisfying meal.
About Veg Kadai
So what is a Kadai? A Kadai is a popular kitchen utensil used in Indian cooking. It is quite similar to Chinese wok but is deeper in comparison. Kadai is used for deep frying, stir-fries, sauteing and making sweets. Traditional Indian sweets like rabri, carrot halwa are slow simmered and slow-cooked in a Kadai as the large surface allows the ingredients to evaporate and thicken.
This dish is also called kadai vegetable. It has various complex flavors coming from the aromatics like onions, ginger, garlic, the mix vegetables and a unique aroma and flavor from the ground roasted spices called the kadai masala.
It takes longer to prepare Veg Kadai in comparison to Kadai Paneer because the vegetables need to be cooked but don’t let that deter you because the results are phenomenal! This gravy will go down perfectly on weekends, festivals or special occasions as it packs a lot of flavor.
Fret not if you don’t have a Kadai as this luscious veggie gravy can also be made in a pot or pan!
Do not skip the bell peppers as they are a key ingredient in this recipe and add sweet and refreshing flavors to the gravy. Add red, yellow and green bell peppers for a splash of color or whatever you have to hand. Once you’ve added the bell peppers you can add any other veggies of your choice.
Serve this restaurant style Veg Kadai hot with tandoori roti, naan, roti, paratha, steamed rice, jeera rice or saffron rice and more!
How to Make Veg Kadai
Make Kadai Masala
Begin by preparing the kadai masala. Measure and set the the spices aside.
1. Heat a small frying pan. Reduce the heat to low and add the following listed ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
- ½ teaspooon of cumin seeds
- 2 cloves, 2 green cardamoms
- ½ an inch of cinnamon
- 3 to 4 dry Kashmiri red chilies
- 1 teaspoon of kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- 7 to 9 cashews
- 4 to 5 whole black peppercorns
2. On a low heat, stir often and roast until the spices become fragrant. Do not brown the spices. Set aside.
3. Allow the ingredients to cool at room temperature. Then, add them to a dry or spice grinder or mixer-grinder.
4. Grind until the ingredients form a fine powder. The cashews will release fat while grinding, so make sure you scrape the masala from the sides and continue to grind. Remove the kadai masala and set aside for later.
TIP: Avoid making a coarse powder as you don’t want to taste the small chunks of the spices when eating the gravy.
5. Puree 3 medium tomatoes (200 grams) in the same grinder, blender or mixer and set aside for later. You don’t need to blanch the tomatoes before pureeing.
If using ready-made or canned tomato puree then set aside ⅔ cup of it.
6. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil In a kadai or pan. Then add ⅓ cup of sliced onions and ½ cup of sliced bell pepper. Feel free to use any colored bell pepper/capsicum of your choice.
7. Stir very well and saute the onions and bell peppers on a low to medium heat.
8. Sauté for 5 to 6 minutes or until the bell peppers are half cooked on a low to medium heat. Make sure the bell peppers still have some bite.
9. Remove the sautéed onions and bell peppers from the kadai and set them aside for later. Chop the potatoes and carrots in 2 inches batons or sticks and set them aside also. You can also chop the potatoes in wedges of 2 to 2.5 inches length.
10. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the same kadai. Keep the heat to a low. Add 1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste. Then stir and sauté for some seconds until the raw aroma of the ginger-garlic paste goes away.
11. Next add ¼ cup of finely chopped onions.
12. Stir and sauté the onions on medium-low to medium heat.
13. Saute till the onions become light golden.
14. Pour the prepared tomato puree into the kadai. If you are using ready-made tomato puree then add ⅔ cup of tomato puree instead.
15. Add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder and ¼ teaspoon of red chili powder.
16. Mix very well.
17. Saute the masala stirring often until it thickens. The tomato puree should cook well. You should see the oil releasing from the sides and the masala will also look glossy.
18. Add the potato and carrot batons along with ⅔ cup of green peas.
19. Stir and saute for one minute.
20. Add 1.5 to 2 cups of water.
21. Season with salt to taste and stir.
22. Cover the pan with a lid and cook gravy on a medium heat to simmer. Check from time to time and add more water if necessary.
23. The veggies should be cooked well and still hold their shape. Don’t let them get too soft as they will become mushy. Alternatively, you can cook the veggies in a pressure cooker for 1 or 2 whistles and add 1 to 1.25 cups of water.
Make Veg Kadai
24. Then add the ground kadai masala and reserve 1 teaspoon to garnish for later. Mix very well.
25. Add the sauteed bell peppers and onions.
26. Mix and stir again very well.
27. Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. If the kadai vegetable gravy looks dry or too thick, then add some water to loosen it. You can also add some paneer to the gravy.
28. Then add 3 tablespoons of light cream (or low fat cream or cooking cream) to add body and thicken the gravy. If using heavy cream or whipping cream, add 1.5 tablespoons.
29. Stir and mix the cream with the rest of the gravy. Switch off the heat and then taste the gravy. Add more salt if needed.
30. Finally, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves and stir again.
31. Serve Veg Kadai hot. Garnish with chopped coriander, ginger julienne. Then sprinkle with the kadai masala that was set aside.
Kadai vegetable curry can be served with rumali roti, naan, chapati, paratha, steamed rice, jeera rice or ghee rice.
- Kadai Masala: It is important to roast the ingredients before grinding to get the best results. Grind the ingredients and scrape down the sides until you get a fine powder like texture. This will prevent coarse pieces of masala being cooked in the gravy.
- Bell peppers: These delicious veggies are a key ingredient in this dish so don’t skip them. The fresher the peppers the better. Go for bell peppers that are bright, vibrant and firm. Avoid bell peppers that are bruised and dull. Feel free to add red, yellow and green bell peppers to this dish. Do not overcook the bell peppers as they should still have some bite for this recipe.
- Substitutions: Cashews are added to the masala to give it a delicious nutty flavor and also to thicken the gravy. However, you can use 6 to 7 almonds or ½ tablespoon of melon seeds (magaz) instead if you prefer the taste or don’t have any cashews. Be aware that adding almonds or melon seeds will alter the taste of the gravy as both ingredients have their own unique flavor and taste.
- Vegetables: Carrots, potatoes and peas were added to the gravy. However, feel free to add any other vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, baby corn and more. Make sure that you do not overcook the vegetables as you don’t want them to get too soft and lose taste.
- Vegan substitutes: This tasty dish can also be veganized. To make this dish vegan swap the dairy cream with coconut cream instead and this will thicken the gravy. If you are adding paneer swap it with tofu instead.
Yes, you can certainly use milk instead of cream. Use whole milk or plant-based milk for a vegan option. Make sure you stir the milk with the gravy and make sure that it is well-combined.
Yes, this gravy is great because it can be made in a pot, pan or pressure cooker. pressure cook for 1 to 2 whistles. The results are just as delicious.
Unfortunately not. Butter will not have the same effect as cream. Butter will add fat to the gravy but it will not thicken the sauce. But instead of oil you can add butter.
Gluten Free Recipes
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Veg Kadai Recipe
For kadai masala
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 cloves
- 2 green cardamoms
- ½ inch cinnamon
- 3 to 4 dry kashmiri red chilies – broken and seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
- 8 to 9 cashews – whole and not halved
- 4 to 5 black peppercorns
- 100 grams carrots or ½ cup carrots cut in batons
- 100 grams potatoes or ½ cup potatoes cut in batons
- ⅔ cup green peas – fresh or frozen
- 100 grams bell pepper or 1 medium-sized or ½ cup sliced bell pepper (capsicum), any colored variety
- ⅓ cup sliced onions
- 1 tablespoon oil – for sautéing bell peppers and onions
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ¼ cup chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste or ½ inch ginger and 3 to 4 garlic – crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle
- 200 grams tomatoes or 3 medium tomatoes pureed – about ⅔ cup tomato puree
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 1.5 to 2 cups water or as required
- salt as required
- 3 tablespoon light cream or cooking cream (low fat) or 1.5 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream
- 2 to 3 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
- 1 inch ginger – julienne for garnish, optiona
making kadai masala
- Heat a small frying pan. Keep heat to a low and add the following spices – coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, green cardamoms, cinnamon, dry kashmiri red chilies, kasuri methi, cashews and black peppercorns.
- Stir often and roast on a low heat until the spices become fragrant. No need to brown the spices. Set aside.
- When the ingredients cool at room temperature, add all of the roasted ingredients in a mixer-grinder or spice grinder.
- Grind to a fine powder. Remove the kadai masala in a bowl and keep aside.
- Blend tomatoes and make a smooth puree in the same mixer-grinder if its big enough or in another blender or mixer. No need to blanch tomatoes before pureeing. Set aside.
- In a pan heat 1 tablespoon oil and add the sliced onions and sliced bell pepper. Use any colored bell pepper.
- Stir very well and saute the onions and bell pepper on a low to medium heat.
- Saute till the bell peppers are half cooked. Some crunch is desirable.
- Remove the sauteed onions and bell peppers aside. Chop the potatoes and carrots in 2 inches batons and keep them aside too.
Making veg kadai
- In the same pan, then heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add ginger-garlic paste. Stir and sauté for some seconds on low until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
- Next add finely chopped onions.
- Stir and saute the onions on medium-low to medium heat until they become light golden.
- Add the prepared tomato puree. If using ready tomato puree, then add ⅔ cup tomato puree.
- Add turmeric powder and red chili powder or cayenne pepper. Stir to combine.
- Sauté the masala stirring often on low to medium-low heat till the tomato puree cooks, the masala thickens and you see oil releasing from the sides.
- Then add the potato, carrot batons together with the green peas.
- Stir and saute for a minute.
- Add 1.5 to 2 cups water or as needed. Season with salt according to taste. Stir well.
- Cover the pan. On a medium heat simmer and cook the veggies. Check from time to time and if required, add more water.
- The veggies need to be cooked well yet still retain shape. They should not become too soft.
- Then add the ground kadai masala reserving 1 teaspoon of it for garnish. Stir very well.
- Add the sautéed bell peppers and onions. Mix and stir again.
- Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes on low to medium-low heat. If the kadai vegetable gravy looks dry, then add some water.
- Then add 3 tablespoons of light cream or low-fat cream or 1.5 tablespoons of heavy or whipping cream.
- Stir and mix the cream with the rest of the gravy. Switch off the heat.
- Lastly add chopped coriander leaves. Stir again very well.
- Serve veg kadai gravy hot garnished with some chopped coriander, ginger julienne and sprinkled with the reserved kadai masala.
- Accompaniments for veg kadai are tandoori roti, naan, chapati, paratha, bread. Also goes well with steamed rice, jeera rice or saffron rice.
2 tablespoons cream – 1 tablespoon milk powder or dairy whitener
Cashews – almonds or melon seeds (magaz)
Kashmiri red chilies – any less to medium hot dry red chilies
Kasuri methi – a light pinch of fenugreek seed powder Vegan substitutes:
Dairy cream – coconut cream
Paneer – tofu Recipe Notes:
- Add almonds or melon seeds in place of cashews. But note that either will give a unique, different flavor and taste to the gravy.
- Omit kasuri methi, if you do not have them or add a light pinch of fenugreek powder.
- Feel free to add your choice of vegetables. Keep in mind the cooking time of various vegetables that you want to add. Add veggies which cook longer first and when they are par-cooked, add the vegetables which take shorter time to cook.
- Use any colored bell peppers or opt to add a mix of all colored varieties.
- Kashmiri red chilies, do not make the dish spicy, but give it a vibrant orange color. For a spicy taste, use dry red chillies that are medium-hot in combination with kashmiri red chilies.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Veg Kadai recipe post from the blog archives first published in April 2015 has been republished and updated on 31 August 2021.