Kadai Paneer is a yummy preparation made out of cottage cheese. For those of you not aware of what kadai means, it means wok. Kadai Paneer is hence cottage cheese based dish made using a wok; we use an Indian wok which generally is much deeper allowing for deep frying. In its traditional north Indian form, this dish is cooked in ghee. The inter-mixture of the various spices together with the stir frying in ghee gives this dish a mouthwatering aroma and makes it a delectable choice to go with Roti, Naan or Rice.
Ingredients (Serves 3)
- Paneer (Cottage Cheese) - 15 cubes
- Kasoori Methi - 2 tsp
- Oil - for deep frying
- Onion for garnishing - about 10 small pieces
- Coriander leaves for garnishing - few
- Capsicum - 1 (chopped)
- Butter - 2 tbsp (or Ghee)
For making the masala
- Dry red chillis - 2 pieces
- Coriander - 1 tbsp
- Cumin seed - 1 tbsp
- Cinnamon - 2 pieces (small)
- Cloves - 3
- Cardamom - 3
- Star Anise - 2
For making tomato onion paste
- Tomato - 1 (medium sized, chopped)
- Onion - 1 (medium sized, chopped)
- Salt - to taste
- Oil - 2 tbsp
Making the masala
Heat a kadai (wok) on low flame, add dry red chillis, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and star anise and stir fry for about a minute. Once the spices are slightly heated, add coriander seeds and cumin seeds. Stir continuously for another minute or till we have the fresh aroma of the roasted spices coming out. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes. Transfer the spice mix into a mixer and grind well to get a fine masala powder. Take out the masala and store for later use.
Making tomato onion paste
Heat a kadai (wok) on medium flame, add 2 tbsp of oil. Once the oil is hot, add onion and saute well. Add a tsp of salt and stir well till the onions turn golden brown in color. Next add tomatoes to it and saute well. Cover the kadai with a lid and allow to cook for about 2 minutes so that the tomatoes gets well cooked and turns into a pulpy form. Turn off the heat and allow the contents to properly cool. Transfer the contents into a blender, add a little water and blend the mixture to form a thick paste. Take out the paste and store for later use.
Deep frying Paneer
Take enough oil in a pan for deep frying. Heat the pan on medium flame. Once the oil is heated up, put the paneer cubes into the pan and stir well using a slotted spoon. Continue stirring till the cubes turn golden brown in color. As the cubes turn golden brown, transfer them into a plate covered with kitchen napkin so that the excess oil is absorbed by the paper. Turn off the heat once all the cubes are transferred.
Heat the kadai (wok) on medium flame, add butter (or ghee) on to the kadai. When the butter melts, add capsicum. Stir fry the capsicum for few seconds. Add the tomato onion paste along with a cup of water and mix well. Cover the kadai with a lid and wait for about 2 minutes till the contents start to boil. Remove the lid and add the fried paneer, mix well so that the paneer cubes are fully covered with the thick gravy. Check for salt and add if necessary. Sprinkle kasoori methi powder, cover the kadai again with a lid and let the contents to boil for few seconds. Open the lid, add the masala we prepared earlier, and mix everything well. With the lid open, continue stirring the contents gently till we get a nice thick gravy. Add few chopped onion, mix well and sprinkle few fresh coriander leaves. Turn off the heat, keep the kadai covered with a lid for about a minute. Kadai Paneer is now ready, when you open the kadai lid, the fresh and rich aroma of the spices should fill your kitchen. Enjoy the delectable dish. 🙂