Kadai Paneer is a tangy, deeply spiced paneer dish that is perfect for enjoying all year round. Made with Indian pantry staples like onions, tomatoes, capsicum (green bell peppers) and Indian spices, this bright dish comes together in 30 minutes.
Serve kadai paneer, hot or warm with Indian flat breads - roti, paratha or naan. You can also serve it with a soft bread or fluffy dinner rolls. Remember to serve with a side of thinly sliced onions and lemon wedges.
You can make grilled sandwiches, toasties or a wrap or roll with the dry kadai paneer. Add some melting cheese when making these warm sandwiches or rolls.
Another idea is to make a pizza with the semi-dry kadai paneer and mozzarella cheese as toppings.
Kadai: If you do not have a kadai, simply make the recipe in a frying pan or a wok.
Kadai Masala: The kadai masala is made with coriander seeds and dried red chillies. A bit of cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom can also be added in the kadai masala.
Dry Red Chillies: Use dry red chillies which have low to medium heat. Pungent and hot chillies will make the recipe too spicy. If possible add dry kashmiri red chillies since they are not very hot and give a nice orange-red color to the dish. If you do not have Kashmiri chilies, then use any Indian dry red chillies which have a low to medium heat quality.
Grinding the spices: You can grind the spices for kadai masala in a small grinder or a spice grinder. To make the pounding easier in a mortar pestle, dry roast the red chilies and coriander seeds.
Paneer: It is better to use homemade paneer. You can even use packaged store-bought paneer. Read the instructions on the package on how to use the paneer. Frozen paneer cubes need to be soaked in hot water before adding them in the dish.
Tomatoes: Use tomatoes which are ripe, red and with a sweet taste. Do not use very tart or sour tomatoes.
Onions: Both red onions and white onions can be added in the recipe.
Capsicum (Bell Pepper): Usually green bell pepper is added in the dish. But you can use red or yellow bell pepper. With red or yellow bell pepper, the dish get nice subtle sweet tones. The capsicum are cut in strips or julienne. The capsicum can also be diced, but making julienne means faster cooking.
Garnish: Do not forget to garnish with some ginger julienne and coriander leaves. Especially, the ginger julienne impart zesty, warm and pungent notes while eating.
Vegan Option: Use tofu instead of paneer and use oil instead of butter or ghee.
Serving Suggestions: The semi dry version of Kadai paneer tastes good with roti or naan or paratha (Indian flat breads). The gravy version pairs well with steamed rice, jeera rice (cumin rice), peas pulao and even roti or naan. Serve with a side of onion rings and lemon wedges.