When you think of vegetarian curries to be served for special occasions, the first thing that is fixed on the menu is a Paneer dish. Each one of us would agree with me on that. Kadhai Paneer is off-course among the top listed contenders.
Anyone wondering what Paneer is (although I am pretty sure, if you landed on this page you already are a Paneer Lover 🙂 )??
By definition its an unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese or curd cheese made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar, or any other food acids. That’s too technical 🙂 .For me its one of the yummiest forms of Protein Rich Indian cheese.
The basic paneer that we cook now, like once every other week or every week, was once upon a time considered really exotic in my household. Not exactly sure why, but I remember it was only on the special occasions, like when distant relatives visited us, or its someone birthday in the house or if there was a get together, only then Paneer curries were prepared. “I” especially as a kid, would dig into it as much as possible ….
I love eating Paneer in all forms, from raw to cooked, to grilled. You name it and I will munch it.
At home back then, my mum would either prepare it as Paneer Matar(Green Peas), Shahi Paneer, Chilli Paneer, in Paneer stuffed Chilla (crepes) or the most famous Palak Paneer (Spinach gravy). When we did go out eating in a restaurant, we usually ordered some other varieties which were not cooked at home. The kinds like “Butter paneer”, “Kadhai Paneer” , “Paneer Pasanda”, “Paneer Lababdaar” …
So as many of you know, I like to experiment, #KitchenIsMyLab, I started to try some of these at home. To my surprise its actually not that difficult to put together some of these interesting sounding main courses …
My signature in this series is the Shahi Paneer, which I make almost for everyone whom I invite to my place for the first time …(opps I spilled the beans 😉 ). The reason being, I know it turns out good every-time and I do believe in “First Impressions” ..heheheh
I am not sharing the “Shahi Paneer” recipe today (promise I will post it in near future ), but I am sharing the recipe of “Kadhai Paneer” .
As the menu in many of the restaurants highlights “Kadhai Paneer” as “Soft Paneer cubes cooked in red tomato gravy with Green Peppers and Onions “.
I would describe it as a main course item that truly enhances the flavors of Paneer with the distinct aromatic Indian dry whole spices and the freshness of Capsicum or the Green pepper to add a subtle crunch, to compliment the blend.
Spicy here doesn’t mean “HOT”, which is a misleading perception a lot of people in the west have . The hotness of the red chili is just one of the thousands of flavors in the Indian spice range ….
Without further delay …lets get into this flavor bomb recipe of “Kadhai Paneer”.
Its simple to make and can be a guest please-er. Hope you like it …
Soft Paneer cubes (Indian unaged cheese) in red gravy ...You'll experience the flavors of different aromatic Indian dried spices, in this simple to cook recipe ....
- 1 medium size Tomato
- 1 small Onion finely chopped
- 1 small Onion cut into cubes each layer removed
- 1 cup Capsicum/Green Pepper cut into cubes
- 1 small Green chilli
- 200 grams Paneer cut into cubes
- 3 Tablespoon Cooking Cream optional
- 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 Tablespoon Butter optional , oil can also be used instead
- 2 pods Green Cardamom Green Elaichi whole
- 2 Tablespoon Whole Coriander Seeds
- 2 Small Dried Red Chili Can be adjusted as per taste
- 3-4 Whole black peppercorns Kaali Mirch
- 2-3 Whole Cloves Laung
- 1 Teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1 Teaspoon Red Chili powder optional
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin seeds
- 2 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds Saunf
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- Salt to taste
- half inch Cinnamon stick very small piece
Dry Roast the Cloves , Red Whole Chili , Black Peppercorn, Whole Coriander, Green Cardamom, Fennel Seeds, Cumin seeds on medium high flame for 5-6 mins
Transfer the roasted spicy into a grinder and dry grind them into a powder. Let it remain in the jar for next steps
In a pan over medium heat, add the cooking oil and once the oil is hot enough add the finely chopped onions and saute till the turn translucent .
Add the finely chopped tomatoes to the pan, and saute the onion and tomatoes together, until the tomatoes are cooked completely. This may take 5-10 mins.
Add the salt, turmeric powder to the tomatoes
Remove the tomatoes, onion mixture out of the pan and transfer into the jar with the dry spices from step 2. Let it cool a bit and then grind the mixture into a smooth paste. You may add a little water if needed
Into the pan on medium heat, add the butter and once its heated , add the capsicum and shelled onion and cook for 5 mins or until the the Onions and Capsicum just turn a little tender ,
Add the tomato,onion and dry spice paste into the pan with capsicum and onion and add the Paneer cubes as well
Add the sugar to adjust the tartness of flavors and the cooking cream and let it simmer for 5 mins .
The Kadhai Paneer is ready to be serve with Chapati , naan or roti