Kadai Paneer or Karahi Paneer is a famous Paneer gravy recipe and is one of the most common dishes ordered in an Indian restaurant. It is spicy and delicious and is best paired with Lachha Paratha or Naan. I have a secret technique to make this dish just like your fav restaurant or Dhaba.
Here are some more Paneer Recipes, that are famous in North Indian Restaurants – Paneer Tikka Masala, Lahsooni Methi Paneer, Paneer Masala, Restaurant Style Palak Paneer, Paneer Pasanda and Restaurant Style Paneer Tikka Masala.
About This Recipe
Kadai Paneer is one of the most popular Paneer Recipes from the northern part of India.
You will find this delicious recipe on the menu of almost every North Indian Restaurant. But let me tell you, this is a super simple recipe that takes minimal everyday ingredients and can be made at the comfort of your home.
Bite from crunchy capsicum and the melt in mouth Soft Paneer pieces surely marks its place in a delicious tomato-onion based gravy.
To give it a unique flavor, coriander seeds and dry red chilies are dry roasted and then powdered and added in the gravy that adds to the color as well as the taste.
Also if you want that Restaurant Style taste, I have a simple trick for you. Smoke the Kadai Paneer gravy! More about it in the post below 🙂
This dish is,
- Easy to make
- High in Protein
- Just like the restaurant one
- Perfect for every day & festive meals
Paneer – You can either use homemade paneer or can use the store-bought one too. I have mentioned below how to prepare Paneer at home.
Capsicum – To add some crunch along with the soft texture of Paneer, we will add some green bell pepper or capsicum in the dish.
Kadai Masala – This recipe uses a special masala, which is called as Kadai Masala. In this Kadai masala, coriander seeds and dry red chilies are dry roasted and then ground into a fine powder.
Whole Spices – We will temper this delicious semi gravy curry with whole spices such as cloves, black cardamom, black peppercorns, and cinnamon stick.
Spice Powders – Along with the Kadai masala, we will add minimal spice powders such as Kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala powder, and salt. Kashmiri red chili powder gives a nice color to this Kadai Paneer.
Tomato – We will use both finely chopped tomato and tomato puree, which along with tanginess adds a great texture too. I prefer using store-bought puree as it is more concentrated. You can use tomato paste as well but reduce the amount slightly.
Oil – You can use any vegetable oil to make this dish. You can even use butter, ghee, or olive oil to make it.
Other – Apart from the above-mentioned ingredients, we will need some more which will add to its taste – onion, green chili, ginger-garlic paste, and lemon.
You can also add some Kasuri Methi at the end, for extra taste and flavour.
If you want to make it rich, you can add in some fresh cream at the end and give it a mix.
To make the Kadai Masala, I just use 2 ingredients, Coriander Seeds and Dry Red Chillies. Dry roast both the ingredients until aromatic and then grind them into a fine powder.
You can also add green cardamom, cloves and fennel seeds in the masala, it adds a distinct flavor to the same. If you are adding the same, dry roast them too before adding in the masala. If you are adding these ingredients too, you can skip adding garam masala in the recipe.
This Kadai Masala is so good, that it can be used in other Curries and Sabzi too. Therefore make a big batch and store in a glass container.
Step by Step Recipe
Dry roast coriander seeds and 2-3 dry red chilies till slightly browned and a nice aroma starts to come.
Grind to make a slightly coarse powder.
Heat oil in a pan.
When the oil is hot, add the remaining dry red chilies, cloves, black cardamom, black peppercorns, and cinnamon stick. Fry for 20 seconds.
Add onion and fry till translucent.
Add green chilies and ginger garlic paste. Fry till onion turns golden brown.
Now add tomato puree and tomato and fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add the ground masala powder, salt, Kashmiri red chili powder, and garam masala powder.
Add half cup water and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Now add capsicum and paneer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add more water if the gravy is too thick.
Cook until oil starts to separate from the sides. Add ghee and lemon juice and mix well.
Secret Technique for Smoky Flavor
I realized that it is the smoky flavor that is there in the restaurant-style kadai paneer recipe that is lacking in my homemade recipe.
So this time, I smoked my gravy with some flavorful smoke and the result was superb.
It came out just like my fav restaurant and now I can make it anytime in the comfort of my home with the best of ingredients.
Do not skip this smoking step if you want that restaurant like taste in your homemade Kadai Paneer curry. But if you are in a hurry and want to make it without smoking, go ahead. It will still taste very good.
The dry roasting and then grinding of coriander seeds and dry red chilies give this recipe a unique flavor too.
It is an altogether awesome experience to eat Karahi Paneer with some piping hot naan or parathas.
To add a smoky flavor in Kadai Paneer, heat a piece of coal for 5-6 minutes directly on flame using a stainless steel tong till it is red hot.
Keep a piece of aluminum foil over the curry and keep the piece of coal over it. Pour 1 tbsp ghee on the hot coal and immediately close the lid for 15-20 minutes. Open the lid, remove the coal, and give the curry a stir.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kadai Paneer is a spicy gravy recipe that uses a lot of spices to give it a robust bold flavor.
However, Paneer Butter Masala is sweetish creamy cashew nuts and tomato-based curry which uses mild spices and nuts.
The gravy is much subtle and rich and is slightly on the sweetish side. Kadai Paneer has capsicum added in the gravy along with paneer to give it that crunchy bite however in Paneer Butter Masala, it’s only the paneer.
Shahi Paneer as the name suggests is a rich and creamy curry that is made using almonds and cashews without the use of tomatoes which is flavored with everyday spices, whereas Kadai Paneer is made using a freshly roasted masala that adds a unique flavor in the same.
Also, Kadai paneer has Capsicum as one of the main ingredients, which is not used in Shahi Paneer.
Making paneer at home is quite easy and you can be sure of what goes into it.
With just 2 ingredients at hand, you can make delicious homemade paneer.
Check the recipe here.
So, make this yummy restaurant style Karahi Paneer Recipe pretty soon and gobble it on the go! Here is how to make it.
Kadai Paneer Gravy – If you like your Kadai Paneer to have more gravy, then you can follow this recipe to the T. You can increase the quantity of water if you like your gravy to be dinner.
Kadai Paneer Dry – To make this version, just cook the masala as mentioned in the recipe and don’t add any water. Just add the veggies in the masala and give it a good mix. This one is also apt to pack in your Lunch Box with some hot Tawa Parathas.
Vegan – To make the Vegan version of the same, you can replace Paneer with Tofu and avoid adding ghee in the recipe.
This curry will last in the fridge for 2 to 3 days when stored in an airtight container. Reheat it in a pan or microwave, until nice and hot.
If you are planning to freeze. I will recommend you to freeze the gravy along with Capsicum and without Paneer in a freezer-safe container. While serving, thaw the gravy and add soft and fresh Paneer Cubes while reheating. Serve hot.
You can make the gravy a little thinner and serve it with Steamed Rice, Jeera Rice or Veg Pulao.
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Kadai Paneer Recipe
- 3 tbsp Coriander seeds
- 5 Dry red chili
- 3 tbsp Oil
- 2-3 Clove
- 2 Black cardamom
- 5-6 Black peppercorns
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- ½ cup Onion (Finely chopped)
- 2 Green chilli (Slit into half)
- 2 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
- ½ cup Tomato (Finely chopped)
- ¼ cup Tomato Puree
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1 tsp Garam masala powder
- 1 cup Green capsicum (Cut into cubes)
- 250 g Paneer (Cut into pieces)
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Dry roast coriander seeds and 2-3 dry red chilies till slightly browned and a nice aroma starts to come.
- Grind to make a slightly coarse powder.
- Heat oil in a pan.
- When the oil is hot, add the remaining dry red chilies, cloves, black cardamom, black peppercorns and cinnamon stick.
- Fry for 20 seconds.
- Add onion and fry till translucent.
- Add green chilies and ginger garlic paste.
- Fry till onion turns golden brown.
- Add tomato puree and tomato and fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the ground masala powder, salt, Kashmiri red chilli powder and garam masala powder.
- Now add half cup water and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add capsicum and paneer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add some more water if the gravy is too thick.
- Cook until oil starts to separate from the sides.
- Add ghee and lemon juice and mix well.
- For smoky flavour, heat a piece of coal for 5-6 minutes on flame till it is red hot.
- Keep a piece of aluminium foil over the curry and keep the piece of coal over it.
- Pour 1 tbsp ghee on the hot coal and immediately close the lid for 15-20 minutes.
- Reheat before serving.
- Serve hot with phulke, naan or laccha paratha.