A classic paneer based dish. Whenever I think about posting this recipe, I see an update from one or another blog posting a kadai paneer recipe and I kept on postponing . I first got this recipe long long ago from a TV cookery show- it was actually a recipe for Kadai Vegetables. Those years, there were not much cookery shows as it telecasted nowadays. I remember the chef explaining so very well about the recipe and here it is today .
14 oz. paneer, cut into cubes
1 small size onion, diced
1 small size green pepper (capsicum), diced
2 bay leaves
For the base
1 large onion finely chopped
1 large size tomato or 2 small size tomatoes, chopped
2 large garlic pods, peeled
1 inch ginger, cut into small pieces
2 green cardamom
1 to 1 1/4 inch cinnamon
1 tsp. kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)-optional
1/4 tsp. ground garam masala (store bought/ homemade)
1/8 tsp. ground turmeric
1/8 tsp. or more kashmiri red chilli powder (optional)
Salt (as per taste)
2 1/2 tbsp. + 2 1/2 tbsp. oil
For the spice mix ( to be ground fine)
8 red chillies broken
1 1/2 tbsp. coriander seeds
1. Bring a pot of water with some salt to boil and switch off. Cut the paneer into cubes and plunge into the hot water. Let it sit for a minute. Drain, cover and reserve.
2. In a sauté pan, add the 2 1/2 tbsp. oil, and once it is hot, add the cardamom and cinnamon, followed by the finely chopped onion, turmeric, garlic and ginger. Sauté at low medium flame until the onion becomes translucent. Now add the tomato and salt.Sauté frequently, until the skin just leaves the pulp from the tomato and the oil starts separating. The longer it takes the tastier the base will be. Just few seconds before switching off the flame, add the garam masala and the kasuri methi. Allow the mixture to cool and grind into fine paste adding about 1/4 cup water (US standard measuring cup) (Make sure it is still thick, no where in the process, the mixture should be thin and runny).
3. In the same pan, add 2 tbsp. oil, add the bay leaves, followed by the ground paste. Add even more water (little though- 1/8 cup or little more) as the mixture is cooking again at low flame. Bring in the onion, green pepper (capsicum), ground spice mix (as needed), kashmiri chilli powder (if needed and for the color) and final touch of salt (if needed). Do not allow the content to become dry. While the mixture becomes thick, add the paneer cubes. Gently spoon the gravy over the paneer. Serve it hot with rotis/ phulkas.
- i)The raw flavor in onion should be gone, but should be crunchy enough,ii)the green pepper should retain its color and crunchiness ,iii)the paneer should not be over cooked and broken,iv)there should be some gravy left,along with these vegetables and paneer – This is how the final dish should be .
- The paneer can be shallow fried before adding to the gravy – which I never prefer .
- Kasuri methi can be skipped, but it brings lots of flavor when added .