15 Minute Easy Kadai Paneer

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I love this easy Kadai Paneer recipe that you can make in 15 minutes using a shortcut! This is perfect for those busy days when you have little time to put dinner on the table. It comes out really good and pairs well with naan or roti!

paneer and bell peppers served in a copper bowl

Ok I am sharing an easy recipe of Kadai Paneer here which uses a shortcut and gets done in 15 minutes. If you have been following me for a while, you know I love cooking from scratch and the classic recipe of Kadai Paneer is one of my absolute favorites.

But there are days when I don’t want to do all those extra steps and want dinner quickly on the table. Yes pizza is great for those days and what’s also great on those days in this easy kadai paneer! When my brother was here, I made this quite often and Sarvesh and my brother insisted that I share this recipe because they enjoyed it so much.

This recipe uses a bottle of pasta sauce, yes store bought pasta sauce to make an instant version of kadai paneer! Now before you raise eyebrows, let me tell you this actually works well.

The sauce forms the base of the curry which is flavored with spices, butter and cream. The addition of spices, kasuri methi, butter and cream makes it taste authentic and close to the real deal. For the effort and time it takes (just 15 minutes including the prep time), this turns out fantastic and I am excited to share the recipe with you guys!

Ingredients

The ingredient list might seem long, especially the number of spices used but we need them to get as close to the real flavor as possible. It comes together super quickly I promise!

ingredients for easy kadai paneer arranged on a board

Pasta Sauce: for this instant and easy kadai paneer recipe, you need a good quality pasta sauce. Since the flavor of the sauce depends on the sauce, I recommend using a brand which tastes good. I love using Rao’s marinara sauce for this recipe (not sponsored, it’s just my favorite brand of store bought pasta sauce).

Spices: I use quite a bit of spices here to make the store bought pasta sauce taste like an authentic Indian sauce. So there’s coriander powder, garam masala, chili powder, cardamom powder and Kashmiri red chili powder for that nice red color. And of course there has to be some kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) for flavor.

Butter & cream: to give the curry a little creaminess and sweetness, we use butter and cream. I love using salted Amul butter here.

Step by Step Instructions

Before you start make sure to soak paneer in warm water for 20 minutes. This is especially important if you are using frozen paneer or the ones sold in stores in US. If using fresh paneer, you can skip this step.

1- To a large pan/kadai, add 1 tablespoon oil on medium heat. To that add your quartered onions (petals separated) and cut bell peppers.

2- Sauté them for 3 to 4 minutes until they soften a little. Then remove them on a plate and set aside.

3- To the same pan, now add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Then add store bought marinara sauce (I love using Rao’s brand). Add around 1 & 1/2 to 1& 3/4 cup of marinara sauce. Mix it well.

4- Then add the following:

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (for color)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt, to taste, around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon

Mix and cook the spices for around 30 seconds.

step by step picture collage of making quick 15 min kadai paneer

5- Add 1 tablespoon butter (I recommend using Amul butter) and 2 to 3 tablespoons cream. Mix until it’s combined and butter melts.

6- Now add 1 tablespoon crushed kasuri methi and mix.

7- Add in the paneer cubes along with the sautéed onions and peppers.

8- Mix everything together, garnish with cilantro. Your 15 minute Kadai Paneer is now ready to be served! Enjoy with naan or rotis!

step by step picture collage of making quick 15 min kadai paneer

Serving Suggestion

You can serve this easy kadai paneer with naan or tandoori roti.

Or with jeera rice.

Which Pasta Sauce To Use

This recipe is made with marinara sauce but honestly I have used different sauces like arrabiata sauce and that works well too.

Make sure to use a good brand of pasta sauce. I love Rao’s brand! Rao’s marinara has thick texture with some tomato chunks in it which give the base a good texture.

Re-heating Instructions

To re-heat, I recommend using a microwave. To re-heat in a pan, add some water and then cover the pan with a lid and let it heat for 5-7 minutes on medium heat. This way paneer pieces will soften again.

kadai paneer served in a bowl with rotis placed in the background

Tips & Notes

  • Use good quality marinara sauce for best results. I recommend the brand Rao’s or Lucini.
  • The sauce already has salt in it so adjust salt levels to taste.
  • To make it spicier, you can add some sliced green chilies or add more of the red chili powder.
  • The cream, butter and sugar helps balance the tartness of tomatoes so do not skip on those.
  • You can add more butter or cream to make it richer/creamier.
  • You may add some ginger-garlic paste as well.

If you’ve tried this Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen and on YouTube to watch my latest videos.

15 Minute Easy Kadai Paneer

paneer and bell peppers served in a copper bowl
Manali
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 360 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil 15 ml
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small red onion quartered and petals separated
  • 1 small green pepper cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red pepper cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1&1/2 cup – 1&3/4 cup marinara sauce store-bought, I recommend Rao's brand
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder used for color only, it's not hot
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste as sauce also has salt
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter I recommend using Amul butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream 15-45 ml
  • 226 grams paneer 8 oz, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon crushed kasuri methi dried fenugreek leaves
  • cilantro to garnish

Instructions
 

  • Before you start make sure to soak paneer in warm water for 20 minutes. This is especially important if you are using frozen paneer or the ones sold in stores in US. If using fresh paneer, you can skip this step.
  • To a large pan/kadai, add 1 tablespoon oil on medium heat. To that add your quartered onions (petals separated) and cut bell peppers. Sauté them for 3 to 4 minutes until they soften a little. Then remove them on a plate and set aside.
  • To the same pan, now cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Then add store bought marinara sauce (I love using Rao's brand). Add around 1 & 1/2 to 1& 3/4 cup of marinara sauce. Mix it well.
  • Then add the tomato paste, coriander powder, Kashmiri red chili powder (for color), garam masala, red chili powder, cardamom powder, sugar and salt to taste. Mix and cook the spices for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Add the butter (I recommend using Amul butter) and cream. Mix until it's combined and the butter melts.
  • Now add crushed kasuri methi and mix. Add in the paneer cubes along with the sautéed onions and peppers.
  • Mix everything together, garnish with cilantro. Your 15 minute Kadai Paneer is now ready to be served! Enjoy with naan!

Notes

  • Use good quality marinara sauce for best results. I recommend the brand Rao’s or Lucini.
  • The sauce already has salt in it so adjust salt levels to taste.
  • To make it spicier, you can add some sliced green chilies or add more of the red chili powder.
  • The cream, butter and sugar helps balance the tartness of tomatoes so do not skip on those.
  • You can add more butter or cream to make it richer/creamier.
  • You may add some ginger-garlic paste as well.

Nutrition

Calories: 360kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 14gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 1707mgPotassium: 1298mgFiber: 7gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 2558IUVitamin C: 65mgCalcium: 339mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

6 thoughts on “15 Minute Easy Kadai Paneer

    1. Hi Nita, as mentioned in the post use any marinara sauce. Rao’s is the brand of marinara sauce that I love and use but you can use any.

  1. 5 stars
    Tried with TJ’s pasta sauce. A little less was added to account for the thicker consistency but it was a smash with kids

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