Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kadai Paneer

Kadai Paneer... Ah, the wonders of Punjabi food. Paneer is called Cottage Cheese in English and it is super tedious to make. But I love paneer and unfortunately don't have the luxury to go out and buy it. Once, I bought a packet of paneer from an Indian store but it was awful. The way to make paneer is heat a gallon of milk. Just before the milk begins to boil and bubble, turn the heat off and pour in a cup of lemon juice (1 lemon) mixed with water. When you add the lemon, the milk begins to curdle. So basically you force the milk to go bad :p... Then strain it out on a cheese cloth. Tie up the remaining solids and leave it overnight with a heavy vessel pressing over it. In the morning, all the leftover water would've strained out and you'll be left with a sold, round piece of cheese! Cut it up into cubes and put them in the freezer. 

I absolutely love kadai paneer and here is my take on this dish. I hope you like it as much as I do :)


500 grams of Paneer (Cottage Cheese), cut into 2 inches pieces 
3 tbsp oil 
2 bay leaves
2 inch stick of cinnamon 
2 cloves
4 peppercorns
2 dried red chilies
2 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, sliced 
1 Roma tomato, chopped
4-5 tbsp tomato sauce
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped of shredded
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 
Half a green chili (or Serrano pepper), chopped
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp paprika
Salt to taste


1. Heat oil in a deep pan (kadai). Once the oil is hot, add bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, dried red chilies broken into two, cumin seeds and crushed coriander seeds. Sauté for 30 seconds.

2. Add onions, green chili, ginger and garlic. Sauté for a couple of minutes.

3. Now divide the pan and add the tomatoes on one side. Cook the tomatoes until they begin to disintegrate.

4. Once the tomatoes begin to turn into a paste, mix them into the onions and add tomato sauce.

You can skip the sauce and add 4-5 tomatoes instead. I like putting the sauce in because it gives a nice color to the dish and adds a thick gravy.
5. Now add the bell pepper with coriander powder and paprika.

6. Add a tsp on salt and half a cup of water. Cover the lit and let it cook on medium heat for about 4-7 minutes.

 7. Meanwhile, fry the paneer in another pan. Fry them until they are golden-brown on all sides. 
If my mum were to make this in India, she would leave the paneer in warm water to make it soft because paneer should be soft. But I made this at home so it was super super tender. If I had put it in warm water, it would just fall apart. So I fried it enough to make sure it stayed intact. Otherwise, if you have the luxury to buy your paneer, then you should make sure it is soft enough before adding it to the vegetables.

8. Add the paneer to the veggies. Check if you need to add more water. We don't want it to be a curry but there should be enough paste to coat all the pieces of paneer and some remaining. Taste check and add salt accordingly.

9. Cook for about 3-5 minutes and you're done! :)

You can have it with roti, naan or even rice. 


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