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 55 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!

111 thoughts on “Kadai Paneer

  1. 5 stars
    Really yummy. Thanks for another great recipe, Manali. I ate this with basmati rice and it was of course still extra delicious. The kadai masala blend is amazing.

  2. 5 stars
    Perfection, as always with Manali’s recipes!!! I made the extra spice version and used tofu instead of paneer since I am vegan, and it was beyond delicious!!!!! Thank you for sharing your incredible meals!!

  3. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe! I twitched it too by adding aniseed powder just a teaspoon gave a whole new taste! Amazing recipe thanks for sharing!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this recipe today.Thank you so much Manali for the best recipe I tried so many other recipes for kadai panner but your comes the best.Thank you once again

  5. 5 stars
    Hello Manali,

    I tried this recipe today. It was liked by my husband so much thatt he was falling short for words…… Thank you so much for such nice, easy n tasty recipe. I did little alteration instead of cream I used milk just a little bit as we are not big fans of cream…. but still it was so tasty. I thank you n love from Canada 💕💕.

    This is definitelly going to be part of every lunch/ dinner/ pot luck in office…Thank you 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽

    Would love to speak to you about my experience!!!!

    Regards!!!

    Manny

  6. 5 stars
    Tried this recipe and was a big hit in my family. Made it atleast 3 times! Thanks.
    Can I use the same recipe for mixed veggies or can advise how to do.

  7. 5 stars
    Tried the recipe of paneer kadai. Came out well specially the masala which gave the fresh smell of dhaniya. Since we buy organic raw masala the smell and taste was awesome. Today I had to give my wife and mother in law kitchen free day, everyone enjoyed the lunch. It was better than restaurant’s paneer kadai.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe

  8. 5 stars
    Hello Ma’am..Thanks for this superb recipe. I have tried this recipe today and it came out truly yummy. Best Kadai Paneer recipe I have ever tried..Tonnes of thanks Ma’am.

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