Kadai Paneer

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Been a very long time since I added any posts and perhaps it required pursuasion from interested folks for me to move into action! Ad wanted a healthy version of paneer and thought I could simplify it by adding fresh paneer without frying and also leave the option of cream to her. This dish gets its name for two reasons. Being a dish that can be stir fry or semi-gravy, it is cooked in a wok and also the spice used called kadai masala  is used for stir fry dishes in North Indian cuisine.

A typical kadai masala includes many spices (will post soon) but I preferred to make a less spicy one for paneer to retain the flavor and taste of paneer and bell pepper. Often I find posts that suggest coriander powder and chilli powder that I believe are redundant when adding fresh spices!

 

Ingredients  (for 3 servings)

  • Oil  2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder ¼ tsp
  • Paneer/Cottage Cheese  250 g (cut into cubes)
  • Green pepper (medium sized)  2 or 1 large (julienned into 1″ slices)
  • Onion (big)  1 or 2 two medium-sized ( sliced into 1″ pieces)
  • Chopped garlic 1 tsp (optional)
  • Ginger grated or julienned from 2″ piece
  • Tomato 2  large or 3 medium-sized (cut into 1″ cubes)
  • Kasuri methi  1 tbsp (crushed fine)
  • Salt  1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder 1 tsp
  • Kadai  Masala
  • Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
  • Dried red chilies 5
  • Pepper corn ½ tsp
  • Cumin seeds ½ tsp

Garnishing

  • Fresh coriander leaves  1 tbsp ( finely chopped)
  • Fresh cream 2 tbsp (optional)

Method

  • For the kadai masala dry roast all the spices  in the order chilies, coriander seeds, pepper corns and cumin seeds on   low flame and powder them  finely after cooling them.
  • Heat oil in the wok and add the cumin seeds and as they splutter, add the garlic and saute till the raw smell is gone. Add the sliced onions and saute till it starts turning translucent . At this stage add the grated ginger and  bell pepper juliennes and saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the turmeric powder, garam masala, salt and saute for another minute or two.
  • Add the tomato slices, place a lid on the wok and let the mix cook till the tomato softens and oozes out the juice. If need be add half-a cup of water. When nicely cooked, add the kadai masala and paneer cubes and cook for another minute or two.
  • Crush the dried methi leaves between the palms and add the fine powder to the paneer and stir well.
  • Switch off the flame and garnish with fresh coriander leaves and cream

Serve with rotis.

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Chef’s Note

  • I prefer a moist dish and do not add  much water. However, if one prefers a gravy type, add ½ cup water when the tomatoes are getting cooked.
  • Often tomato puree is used as in gravy dishes but in this dish, tomaoto cooked with bell pepper gives a nice texture and flavor.