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!

This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in 2017.

Kadai Paneer

kadai paneer in a red color wok with a wooden spatula with blue napkin in the background
Manali
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!
5 from 45 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 311 kcal

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

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

  • In a large kadai or any other pan, now melt butter with oil on medium heat.
  • 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.
  • Then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix and cook for around 6 minutes until tomatoes are really soft.
  • 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.
  • Add half of the ginger julienne. Stir the spices and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Then add 1/2 cup water and stir.
  • Add cream, salt and sugar and mix. Cook for one minute.
  • 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.
  • Crush kasuri methi and add to the pan.
  • Garnish with remaining ginger julienne and cilantro. Serve kadai paneer with naan or paratha.

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

Calories: 311kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 10gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 565mgPotassium: 425mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1355IUVitamin C: 50.8mgCalcium: 326mgIron: 1.4mg
Keyword kadai paneer
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

89 thoughts on “Kadai Paneer

  1. 5 stars
    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. 5 stars
    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. 5 stars
    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. 5 stars
    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. 5 stars
    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. 5 stars
    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. 5 stars
    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!!

  9. 5 stars
    Great recipe. Made it 3 times and each time it turned out very delicious and perfect. My family loved it. Thanks for sharing such a well detailed recipe with pictures. Makes cooking new dishes even simpler.

  10. 5 stars
    Made this twice already and my family absolutely loves it!! Used the dhungar method for smokiness and it creates a world of difference! Amazing recipe, thank you!

  11. 5 stars
    This was so yummy and easy to make. Excited to try some more of your recipes. Going to attempt to make paneer next weekend!

  12. 5 stars
    This is my new favourite Paneer recipe. It’s quick, easy, and so delicious! The recipe online is laid out well and it’s very easy to follow. Thank-you for sharing it.

  13. 5 stars
    Hi Manali,
    Looks beautiful, want to give a try but dont have cream at the moment Any alternative to heavy cream?? Yogurt??

  14. 5 stars
    Just wow! Mouth watering recipe.just one question, I am a bachelor , can I store this Recipe For few days. Thank you very much for sharing a authentic Recipe. Good luck madam 👍

  15. 5 stars
    This was a great recipe. I followed it to a Tee. Thanks for socializng. The Kadai masala is the secret sauce 🙂

  16. 5 stars
    My wife doesn’t like it.
    This has to be the most aromatic dish I’ve ever had. I made the cheese it tastes like milk, i.e. no flavor.

  17. 5 stars
    This was delicious. Thanks for including the nutrition facts per serving. Could you kindly tell us how many servings this recipe makes?

  18. The ingredients you mentioned here are easily available. So I luvd this recipe very much and luking forward to apply it at home. Even my brother too luvs kadai paneer very much. Thanku so much for this wonderful recipe. ☺️

  19. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for all your hard work on putting out these recipes! I am learning to make some of my fav Indian dishes from you! Just a quick question, how do you come up with the nutritional content/calories on these recipes?

    1. Hi Dia, that is calculated automatically by a plugin. It just divided the total calories by number of servings in the recipe. Not 100% accurate but gives a rough estimate. Hope this helps and happy cooking! 🙂

  20. Yumm.. I made this today and it was absolutely amazing.. My husband and daughter both enjoyed eating it… Thank you for the lovely recipe…

  21. This recipe was simply the best! It beat all the kadai paneer I’ve tried at different restaurants! Thanks for sharing!

  22. 5 stars
    Hi Manali,
    Does the taste change if u fry the paneer a little before you cook it in the gravy.. Do let me know?

  23. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Easy to make and comes out great. I couldn’t get cream, so I used yoghurt instead (with a bit of corn flour) and it was great. 🙂

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