Kadai paneer is a delicious Indian-style curry that uses Indian cottage cheese called paneer, bell peppers and other fresh herbs and spice powders. Ready-made paneer is easily available at most Indian grocery outlets.
You can also make fresh paneer at home by adding a spoon of lemon juice or citric acid to a liter of boiling milk. The curdled milk must then be strained and the resulting cottage cheese must be tied in a muslin cloth to drain off water.
Kadai paneer is a blend of bell peppers and paneer in rich tomato gravy. Kadai paneer is mostly served with plain rice or Indian breads such as roti, naan, kulcha, etc. This article tells you how you can cook this simple yet delicious dish at home.
2 cups paneer or Indian cottage cheese cut into cubes
1 spoon fresh ginger garlic paste
1 spoon crushed dried fenugreek leaves or kasturi methi
2 onions finely chopped
1 spoon cumin seeds
2 spoons paprika powder
2 spoons coriander powder
1 spoon Garam masala powder
Fresh cilantro finely chopped
1 spoon fresh cream
2 cups fresh tomato puree
½ cup bell peppers diced
Salt to taste
2 whole red chilies
A pinch of sugar
4-5 spoons oil
1 cup water
Begin making kadai paneer by first making the gravy. For this, take oil in a pan and when it gets heated add the cumin seeds. Let the cumin seeds crackle and then the whole red chilies. Let the whole red chilies simmer in the oil for 2 seconds. Next, add the chopped onions. Sauté the onions till they turn translucent.
Next add the fresh ginger garlic paste and sauté it well with the onions till the raw smell of the ginger and garlic disappears. Add the dried fenugreek leaves by slightly crushing them, sauté them well with the onions. Next add the tomato puree to the onions. Sauté for a few seconds and add the spice powders. Starting with paprika powder add the coriander powder, garam masala powder and salt.
et the tomato puree cook for a while. Keep stirring constantly to ensure that the gravy does not get burnt. Once the gravy starts leaving the edge of the pan this is an indication that is cooked completely. To make the gravy richer and more flavorful, you can add cashew-nut paste. Make this paste by dissolving few cashews in warm water and then blending them to a fine paste.
Add a pinch of sugar to offset the slightly sour taste of the tomatoes. After this add the chopped bell peppers. Add one cup water and cover with a lid allowing the bell peppers to cook with the gravy and spices. After 5 minutes when the bell peppers are half cooked, add the diced paneer pieces.
Cover with the lid and let the paneer simmer with the bell peppers and the gravy for 5-7 minutes. You can check the amount of liquid and add more water if needed. Once the dish is ready remove from stove and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish delicious kadai paneer with finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and fresh cream. Serve hot with rice pilaf or buttered naan or kulcha.
Photo Credit: Manjulaskitchen.com