Kadai Paneer

Kadai Paneer – paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and bell peppers cooked in a spicy masala.

This restaurant style Kadai Paneer gets its unique flavor from freshly ground spices like coriander and red chilies! Enjoy it with naan or paratha.

kadai paneer in a red color wok with a wooden spatula with blue napkin in the background

Paneer is one of my husband’s favorite vegetable (if you consider it as a vegetable that is, Indians definitely do!) and green pepper or capsicum as we call it in India is mine.

So it’s not surprising that kadai paneer is one of our most favorite dish!

What is Kadai Paneer

Kadai Paneer is a popular paneer recipe where paneer and bell peppers are cooked in a spicy masala.

It is one of the most popular paneer recipes. It’s there on the menu in almost all Indian restaurants. I remember always ordering it when we ate out.

Kadai is a like a wok commonly used in Indian cooking. We use it to make stir fry and all sorts of things. We also use it for deep frying snacks and sweets.

This dish is called Kadai Paneer because it’s cooked in a kadai. But if you don’t have a kadai you can simply use a wok or any other pan. I actually did not make it in a kadai!

Kadai Masala

This kadai paneer recipe gets its unique flavors from freshly ground masala. It’s called the kadai masala.

Here’s all that I added to my kadai masala

• Coriander seeds
• Dried red chilies
• Green cardamom
• Fennel seeds
• Cloves

spices like coriander seeds, red chilies, cardamom and fennel seeds in a white plate

The coriander seeds and dried red chilies are the main ingredients of the kadai masala. I also like adding cardamom, fennel and cloves for that extra flavor.

The spices are dry roasted until fragrant and then ground to a fine powder.

The addition of fresh spices makes this dish super flavorful. It’s amazing how much difference the addition of fresh spices can make to a dish. They really make the flavors pop.

This spice blend can actually be used in a number of recipes, it’s so good. So if you want you can make a big batch of this and store in an airtight container.

That way you don’t have to do the extra step of making the fresh masala when making kadai paneer.

You can use this masala to any other dish you like. For example kadai vegetable or with tofu. It will add so much flavor to these dishes.

How to Make The Best Kadai Paneer

Here are some of my tips to transform a simple kadai paneer from average to wow!

✓ If possible use fresh homemade paneer, there’s nothing like it. However if using store bought paneer, remember to soak it in warm water for 20-25 minutes before using in the recipe.

This is especially true for paneer that is sold at the Indian grocery stores in the US. You need to soak it in warm water before using.

✓ Do use freshly made kadai masala for this recipe. Do not use your regular masalas here. The freshly ground spices make a huge difference.

✓ If you can, do add tomato paste to the recipe. It’s a little bit but adds so much more flavor to the curry.

✓ Adding some ginger juliennes to the curry while its cooking makes it so much flavorful.

✓ Tiny bit of sugar helps in balancing the flavors.

✓ You can also use dhungar method to infuse smokey flavor to your kadai paneer. I have not done it here but you may.

kadai paneer served with naan and onion rings in a white plate

For the dhungar method,  heat a piece of coal, place it in a bowl and then place that bowl in the middle of your kadai paneer pan.

Pour ghee over hot coal. You will see fumes coming out of it, immediately cover the pan with a lid.

Let it stay covered for 15 minutes until the sabzi gets infused with the smokey flavor. Do not leave it for way too long else it will become very smokey. 10 to 15 minutes should be good enough.

This recipe of kadai paneer has the perfect balance of flavors in my opinion. I made this many time before getting it right.

It always turned out way too spicy for my liking. Once I added peppercorns to my kadai masala and they added too much heat.

Then once there was way too many dried red chilies in my masala and it again turned out hot.

So, after lot of trials, I think this version works best. However, I know some of you do like spicy food, so here’s what you can do.

To make this Kadai Paneer spicier

• use double the amount of red chilies while making the kadai masala.

• use the entire kadai masala in the recipe. I used 3 to 4 teaspoons of the masala and was left with some.

• use 1/2 teaspoon garam masala in place of 1/4.

kadai paneer

Serving Suggestions for Kadai Paneer

I think kadai paneer tastes best with garlic naan or lachcha paratha. So I highly recommend serving it with either of the two.

Method

1- To a small kadai or pan, dry roast the spices for kadai masala for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat until fragrant.   (Add more red chilies for a spicier masala).

2- Remove kadai from heat and transfer the roasted spices to a spice grinder.

3- Let it cool down a bit and then grind to a fine powder. Set aside. You can also make this kadai masala in advance and store it.

4- In a large kadai or any other pan, now melt butter with oil on medium heat.

step by step pictures of making kadai paneer at home

5- Add the chopped onion and saute for 3 minutes until softened. Then add the sliced green chili and ginger garlic paste and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes.

6- Then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix and cook for around 6 minutes until tomatoes are really soft.

7- Then add 3 to 4 teaspoons of the kadai masala that you prepared earlier (or add the whole thing if you like it spicy). Also add the garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder.

8- Add half of the ginger julienne. Stir the spices and cook for 30 seconds.

step by step pictures of making kadai paneer at home

9- Then add 1/2 cup water and stir.

10- Add cream, salt and sugar and mix. Cook for one minute.

11- Add in the paneer and bell peppers (capsicum) and mix. Cover the pan or kadai with a lid and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat until bell peppers are slightly softened. You only want them half cooked here

12- Crush kasuri methi and add to the pan.

step by step pictures of making kadai paneer at home

Garnish with remaining ginger julienne and cilantro.

Serve kadai paneer with naan or paratha.

kadai paneer in a red color wok with a wooden spatula with blue napkin in the background

More Paneer Recipes

Paneer Tikka Masala

Matar Paneer

Palak Paneer

If you’ve tried this Kadai Paneer Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Kadai Paneer

Indian Cottage Cheese and bell peppers are cooked in freshly ground spicy masala! Kadai Paneer is one of the most popular Indian paneer recipes and is best enjoyed with naan or roti!

kadai paneer in a red color wok with a wooden spatula with blue napkin in the background
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword kadai paneer
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 311 kcal
Author: Manali
5 from 10 votes
Print

Ingredients

Kadai Masala

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 4 green cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 cloves

Kadai Paneer

  • 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon oil, 15 ml, I used avocado oil
  • 1 medium red onion, 150 grams, finely chopped
  • 1 green chili, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes, 450 grams, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3/4 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 inch ginger, julienned, divided
  • 1/2 cup water, 4 oz/120 ml
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, 30 ml
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large green bell pepper (capsicum), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 225 grams paneer, cubed, if using store-bought paneer soak it in warm water for 20-25 minutes before using
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi, dried fenugreek leaves
  • cilantro, to garnish

Instructions

Make the Kadai Masala

  1. To a small kadai or pan, dry roast the spices for kadai masala for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat until fragrant.  Add more red chilies for a spicier masala.

  2. Remove kadai from heat and transfer the roasted spices to a spice grinder.

  3. Let it cool down a bit and then grind to a fine powder. Set aside. You can also make this kadai masala in advance and store it.

Make the Kadai Paneer

  1. In a large kadai or any other pan, now melt butter with oil on medium heat.

  2. Add the chopped onion and saute for 3 minutes until softened. Then add the sliced green chili and ginger garlic paste and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix and cook for around 6 minutes until tomatoes are really soft.

  4. Then add 3 to 4 teaspoons of the kadai masala that you prepared earlier (or add the whole thing if you like it spicy). Also add the garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder.

  5. Add half of the ginger julienne. Stir the spices and cook for 30 seconds.

  6. Then add 1/2 cup water and stir.

  7. Add cream, salt and sugar and mix. Cook for one minute.

  8. Add in the paneer and bell peppers (capsicum) and mix. Cover the pan or kadai with a lid and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat until bell peppers are slightly softened. You only want them half cooked here.

  9. Crush kasuri methi and add to the pan.

  10. Garnish with remaining ginger julienne and cilantro. Serve kadai paneer with naan or paratha.

Recipe Notes

To make this Kadai Paneer spicier

• use double the amount of red chilies while making the kadai masala.

• use the entire kadai masala in the recipe. I have used 3 to 4 teaspoons of the masala and was left with some.

• use 1/2 teaspoon garam masala in place of 1/4.

Nutrition Facts
Kadai Paneer
Amount Per Serving
Calories 311 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 37%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 54mg 18%
Sodium 565mg 24%
Potassium 425mg 12%
Total Carbohydrates 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 6g
Protein 10g 20%
Vitamin A 27.1%
Vitamin C 61.6%
Calcium 32.6%
Iron 7.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

32 thoughts on “Kadai Paneer


  1. Hi!
    Great and simple recipes. I am trying this one today and litti chokha on valentine’s, that’s tomorrow 🙂 As my husband is a litti chokha fan.

    Can you please add an email share option as well?? Thanks


  2. Never having heard of Kadai Paneer before I find that your luminous photographs and clear instructions are enticing me to try my hand at it. Thank you. I’m grateful to have discovered your wealth of recipes.


  3. Oh Manali! What do I say? Never had such a delicious Kadhai Paneer before. Just cooked it for dinner and we all loved it. Loved the simplicity of the recipe. Easy and quick to make. You are amazing. 😘😘 Keep rocking!!

    1. Thank you Sneha, such positive comments always motivate me to do better! So thanks for taking out the time to leave a feedback, I really appreciate it! 🙂

  4. My kid liked this delicious kadai Paneer, your dishes always looks great and tempting.
    What a presentation ,Simple and easy to cook. hats off Manali.


  5. I tried it and it came out so delicious. Thanks for Sharing such beautiful recipe. Just need some advise my gravy comes out watery even if I fry it properly all masala and put very little water. Actually when served on plate there is difference can be seen masala separated and water

    1. Hi Rashmi, glad you liked it. Hmm not sure what’s wrong if you are cooking the masala well and adding little water. It shouldn’t come out water at all. If you want it really thick, blend some cashews and add to the curry, that should make it really thick.


  6. Awesome manali…..my kids loved it…it turned out so well and the masala taste was yum👌👌💜first time made it and it was great


  7. Manali, thank you for the recipe. I loved it. Next try will be with home made paneer. I just found you this morning and I already know I will be coming back for more recipes.


  8. A wonderful paneer dish. Tried it today n it came out so delicious. Curry got over in no time. Thank you so much for a tasty n yet easy recipe!!

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