Last weekend was an exciting time for my blog. A number of friends, colleagues and family members told me that they regularly try out my recipes and wait for new posts on the blog. Well, that was a pleasant surprise as I always thought no one really tries out a recipe (liking and commenting is a lot easier). This feedback has certainly got me motivated and all charged up to bring some discipline into my blogging routine and I will try my best to be more regular with my posts.
One of the popular requests was for paneer recipes. When talking of paneer recipes, Kadai Paneer is my favourite, it being such an awesome medley of contrasting flavours. Cubed paneer and capsicum are tossed in a hot tomato gravy seasoned with crushed coriander seeds and finished with a generous sprinkle of dried fenugreek leaves, the aroma of the spices is sure to tantalize your senses!
Traditionally, all Kadai recipes use a spice blend made from coriander seeds and Kashmiri red chillies – this makes the basic kadai masala. However, I prefer not to blend red chillies with coriander seeds as sometimes the result can be too hot especially if kids are eating. Instead, I add the red chilli powder later.
You will find that some ingredients are common across most of my paneer gravies: cashew-tomato puree, 3Cs powder and dried fenugreek leaves. Hence, I suggest you to have them ready in your kitchen as we are going to do many more paneer recipes together. Skipping any of the ingredients will make a difference in the flavour.
Please excuse the poor lighting in the photos. It was a very cloudy, rainy day in Sydney.
Let’s get started!
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
- 2-3 Capsicums (a mix of red, yellow and green is visually appealing )
- 250g Paneer (cottage cheese)
- 2 medium onion
- 2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 8-10 cashew nuts
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds(moti saunf)
- 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
- 1 tsp 3Cs spice powder (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon)
- 2 tbsp butter (optional)
- 1 cup full cream milk or 3 tbsp fresh cream
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Spice powders: turmeric, red chilli
- Salt as required
- Bring a pan of water to boil. Add the tomatoes. When the skin starts peeling, remove from the water and let it cool. Peel the skin.
- Soak the cashew nuts in warm water for 10 minutes or boil them with tomatoes.
- While tomatoes are boiling, dice the capsicum and paneer into cubes. Also, finely chop the onion.
- Soak the paneer cubes in warm water to make them soft. I never fry the paneer as it changes the texture and also adds calories. Feel free to fry if you like to.
- Blend the tomatoes and cashew nuts into a puree.
- Blend the coriander seeds into a coarse powder. If you can handle the heat, you can blend 2 Kashmiri red chillies with it. I usually skip the chillies. The powder has to be coarse to get the right flavour and aroma.
- Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. When hot, saute the capsicum lightly until soft but crunchy.
- Add some salt. Remove from oil and keep aside.
- In the same pan, add more oil. When hot, add 1 tbsp coriander seeds powder and fennel seeds.
- Once they start the sizzle, add cumin seeds and 1 tsp 3Cs spice powder.
- When they brown slightly, add ginger garlic paste and cook well until the raw flavour is gone.
- Next add the chopped onions, salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric. A little extra turmeric powder gives a nice colour and flavour.
- Cook until the onions turn brown.
- Add the cashew-tomato puree and cook until the oil separates.
- Add 1/2 tsp red chilli powder.
- If you want to make it rich, you can add butter at this point. This is optional and skipping it does not make a big difference in taste.
- Add 1 cup of milk and mix well so that it does not curdle. You can add fresh cream instead. I usually prefer to add milk in all my gravies as cream is not always available in the fridge.
- Check the salt and next add the capsicum and paneer. Do not cook capsicum in the gravy for too log as it will lose the crunch.
- Finish with dried fenugreek leaves. Always rub them between your palms before adding.
Kadai Paneer from your favorite restaurant is ready. Serve it with Lachha paranthas or Naans. Add Dal Makhani to the menu to complete the restaurant experience. See the Recipe here: Dal Makhani