Sonali shares the recipe of one of the most popular Indian dishes, Kadai Paneer, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
It is sometimes difficult to decide what to cook for dinner. To make things easy, I have started meal prepping at the beginning of the week. I buy the produce and the groceries keeping the list in mind. That way I do not have to worry about wasting too. This Kadai Paneer is what I make mostly on a Monday night for meatless Monday dinner menu and the recipe comes out quick.
Kadai Paneer as the name suggests is cooked in a kadai or Indian wok. Kadai is a kitchen essential in every Indian home. It is a versatile utensil, where you may cook, stir fry or even deep fry food.
This is an easy recipe and is done in no time. Goes great with any Indian flat pieces of bread. A colorful dish with bold Indian flavors makes it a hit at the dinner table. A must try vegetarian recipe if you haven’t tried it already.
Preparation Time: 15 Mins
Cooking Time: 15 Mins
250 gms Paneer /Indian cottage cheese
½ red bell pepper /capsicum
1 medium onion
1 small tomato
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1-2 dried red chilies
1 teaspoon whole garam-masala
½ teaspoon red chili powder
½ teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ teaspoon sugar (optional- to balance the taste)
½ teaspoon chaat masala powder (optional)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking
2-3 sprigs of fresh cilantro/coriander
1-2 green chilies
At first cut the paneer into bite sized cubes. Place in a bowl with hot water, cover and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile prep the vegetables. Cut the green and red bell peppers in cubes. Cut the onions into squares. Slit the green chilies and finely chop the fresh cilantro. Blend the tomato in a blender and set aside.
Lightly roast the whole garam-masala, cumin, coriander and dried red chilies until aromatic. Cool and coarsely grind in a mortar and pestle.
Heat oil in a pan and add the 1 teaspoon of the coarsely ground spice powder. Let it splutter for half a minute and then carefully add the ginger and garlic paste. Cook the masala for 2 minutes at medium heat until the raw smell is no more. Add the pureed tomato, salt, turmeric, red chili powder, sugar and chaat masala if using and cook until oil starts to separate. Add the chopped onions and bell peppers and mix well with the masala. Reduce the flame and cover for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the cover and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the water from the paneer and add it to the spice mix. Stir gently. You may add 2-3 tablespoons of water if the masala seems too dry. Reduce the heat and cover.
Cook for 3-4 minutes. Switch off the flame. Check for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and slit green chilies.
Serve with paratha, naan or pulao. Enjoy!
Soaking the paneer in hot water makes it soft. If you are using homemade paneer, you may skip this step. Make sure you do not overcook the bell peppers. It should be still crisp and hold its shape.
Photos by the author.
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Sonali Chakraborty is a food blogger, self-taught food photographer and stylist. She is a true Bong at heart. She loves to travel and listens to music.