You can make your own kadai paneer gravy, restaurant style even in the premise of your own home kitchen. For those who are having difficulty to understand what ‘kadai paneer’ is, let us translate these two words. Kadai means Indian ‘wok’ which is somehow similar to the Chinese wok, only that it is deeper. On the other hand, paneer is an Indian cottage cheese.
Now, let us inspect the three main elements that comprise the taste of kadai paneer. They are the freshly ground masala, green bell pepper and tomatoes.
- Freshly ground masala- makes the flavors burst with the roasted coriander seeds giving off a nice aroma and flavor; and the dried chilies for spice.
- Green bell pepper – add texture and crispiness to the dish.
- Tomatoes- should be ripe and red and must be used in two ways: chopped and pureed.
Remember that the texture of kadai paneer is not as smooth as those of of palak paneer or shahi paneer. This one is slightly chucky because of the chopped tomatoes and if you want your capsicum (green bell pepper) 80% done, then it adds bit to the texture as well.
Dry roast and grind the masala:
- 1 tbsp. of coriander seeds
- 4 dried red chilies, broken and seeded
For the gravy:
- 200g or 7 oz. of paneer, cut into cubes
- ½ cup of capsicum or bell pepper, cubed
- 1 tomato, pureed
- 2 ½ cups of tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. of Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 1 tsp. of garam Masala
- Cilantro or coriander leaves, finely chopped with few sprigs
- ½ cup of onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. of garlic paste
- 2 tbsp. of oil
- 3-4 tbsp. of heavy whipping cream or malai
- 1 cup of water
- Desiccate the coriander seeds and dried chilies by roasting them over medium heat. Remember to stir constantly to avoid burning them. Remove from pan once the chilies get a darker color and you smell the nice aroma coming from the coriander seeds. Set aside the masala and let it cool completely.
- Once cooled, grind it into powder using your spice or coffee grinder.
- Using the same pan, heat oil over medium heat and add the chopped onions. Sprinkle some salt to speed up the process and cook until they are translucent.
- Add the garlic paste (or grated garlic if you do not have the paste).
- Mix and cook for about 35-40 seconds or until the raw smell goes away.
- Add the ground spice powder and then stir and sauté for about a minute.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and remainder of salt. Then, mix them well and let it be for a while.
- Once the tomatoes are softened, you mash them using the back of your spatula.
- As it cooks, the moisture will evaporate and the mixture will leave the sides of the pan.
- Add the pureed tomato and mix well before stirring in the garam masala and kasoori methi. Let the cooking process to continue until the mixture leaves the sides.
- Add 1 cup of water to achieve the gravy consistency.
- Next, add the capsicums and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the paneer but do it gently to avoid the cubes from being broken.
- Lastly, stir in the cream or malai until it comes to a boil.
- Turn off the heat and sprinkle the mixture with the chopped cilantro. Done!
Time and Serving
- Preparation : 20 minutes
- Cooking : 25 minutes
- Serving : make 2