indian recipes

What is Kadai paneer?

Kadai paneer
Written by Husband Can Cook

What is Kadai paneer?

Kadai Paneer is a popular and delicious Indian dish that is made with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and a medley of colorful bell peppers (capsicum) and onions. The term “Kadai” refers to the traditional wok-like cooking utensil in which this dish is prepared. It is a flavorful and mildly spicy curry that hails from North Indian cuisine.

To make Kadai Paneer, the paneer is first marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices, which helps to infuse it with flavors. Then, the marinated paneer is cooked with tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and various aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, garam masala, and, of course, the special Kadai masala blend, which is what gives the dish its distinct flavor. The dish is often garnished with fresh cilantro leaves before serving.

Kadai Paneer is typically served with Indian flatbreads like naan, roti, or chapati, but it can also be enjoyed with steamed rice or jeera rice. It’s a favorite among vegetarians and paneer enthusiasts for its rich, tangy taste and delightful combination of textures.

As with many Indian dishes, there can be slight variations in the recipe depending on the region and personal preferences of the cook. Nevertheless, the core ingredients of paneer, bell peppers, and Kadai masala remain constant in most renditions.

How to cook Kadai Paneer?

Cooking Kadai Paneer is relatively simple, and it can be done in a few easy steps. Here’s a basic recipe for making delicious Kadai Paneer at home:


– 250 grams paneer (Indian cottage cheese), cut into cubes
– 1 cup bell peppers (capsicum), sliced into strips (use a mix of different colored bell peppers for a vibrant dish)
– 1 large onion, finely sliced
– 2 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped
– 2-3 green chilies, slit (adjust to your spice preference)
– 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
– 1/2 cup yogurt
– 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
– 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to your spice preference)
– 1 teaspoon coriander powder
– 1 teaspoon garam masala
– 1 tablespoon Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
– 1 tablespoon oil
– Salt to taste
– Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

For Kadai Masala:

– 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
– 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
– 2-3 dried red chilies (adjust to your spice preference)
– 4-5 black peppercorns
– 2-3 green cardamom pods
– 1 small cinnamon stick
– 2-3 cloves


1. Dry roast all the ingredients for the Kadai Masala on low heat until they release their aroma. Be careful not to burn them. Once roasted, let them cool down and then grind them to a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

2. Marinate the paneer:

In a bowl, mix the yogurt, half of the prepared Kadai Masala, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and salt. Add the paneer cubes to the mixture and coat them well. Let the paneer marinate for at least 20-30 minutes.

3. Heat the oil in a Kadai or a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté until they become translucent.

4. Add the ginger-garlic paste and green chilies. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the raw smell disappears.

5. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they turn soft and the oil starts to separate.

6. Now, add the sliced bell peppers and the remaining Kadai Masala. Cook for a few minutes until the bell peppers become slightly tender but still retain their crunch.

7. Add the marinated paneer along with any remaining marinade. Gently mix everything together, taking care not to break the paneer cubes.

8. Crush the Kasuri methi between your palms and sprinkle it over the Kadai Paneer. Mix well.

9. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until the paneer is fully cooked, and the flavors have melded together.

10. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Your Kadai Paneer is now ready to be served hot with naan, roti, or rice. Enjoy the delightful flavors of this classic Indian dish!

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