It’s a long day at work and you finally get home. You are craving for something spicy to liven up your taste buds and the smell of hot kadai paneer greets you – perfection!
Kadai Paneer has been the favorite vegetarian dish for most South Asians for a while now and for good reason. Healthy, balanced and delicious, Kadai Paneer is the complete package. What makes it even more attractive is the relative ease with which it can be prepared. Before we delve deeper into how to cook this scrumptious delight, let’s take a look at the star of the show, Paneer.
What is Paneer?
Indian cottage cheese, popularly known as paneer, is made by adding acid to warm milk. Lemon juice is typically used to prepare paneer. Milk is warmed up in a large vessel and a few drops of citric acid, vinegar or yogurt is added to initiate the separation of curd and whey. Once the solid layer forms, a muslin cloth is used to drain out the excess water. The paneer is left in cold water for a couple of hours to enhance its consistency and texture.
Kadai paneer derives the latter half of its name from this chewy cheese. The former denotes the steel wok or kadai that is traditionally used to prepare this dish.
Kadai paneer is a fairly simple dish to prepare and requires some basic ingredients. The chief ingredients are as follows:
- Onions: Shallots are a quintessential part of any curry and helps to thicken it as well. So make sure to have some fresh ones around.
- Capsicum: Kadai paneer is not complete without some green bell peppers. If you’d like to add some color to it, feel free to add some yellow and red bell peppers in the curry as well.
- Tomatoes: Whole red tomatoes are what gives the dish its tangy taste.
- Spice mix: Now it’s time to get the heat in! You will need some coriander seeds, red chili, chili powder, turmeric and some garam masala.
- Other ingredients: Vegetable oil and some ginger garlic paste will not go amiss as well.
Once all the ingredients are prepped, it’s time to cook!
Step 1: Prepare the Kadai Masala
Add the coriander seeds and red chilis along with the other spices into a mixer-grinder. Continue grinding until it forms a semi-fine powder. Set it aside for now.
Step 2: Sauté Onions
In the Kadai, add 3-4 tablespoons of oil and gently heat for a few minutes. Drop the chopped and diced onions into the kadai and leave it on medium heat. Continue heating until they become translucent. Subsequently, add some ginger garlic paste.
Step 3: Drop the Tomatoes
Add the sliced tomatoes into the kadai once the smell of the ginger garlic paste has dissipated. Sauté for three to four minutes on medium heat until the consistency is more liquefied.
Step 4: Spice it up
Add the kadai masala and keep mixing the contents of the kadai. Continue sautéing until the mixture becomes a paste. Once this consistency is reached, add the capsicum and other bell peppers and let it sit on the flame for a few more minutes. Subsequently, add chilis, pepper and salt to taste. Touch it up with some garam masala at the end.
Step 5: Add the Star of the Show
Pour some water into the mixture paste and let it simmer for a bit. Add small paneer cubes to the gravy and mix well. Garnish the kadai paneer with some coriander leaves and kasuri methi. Et voilà! Your kadai paneer is ready to be served.
Rich in proteins, fats and essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus, kadai paneer is equally nutritious and healthy in addition to being a treat to the senses. It is also good for the digestive system and is a dish that can be readied with minimal effort. A personal favorite of many, kadai paneer is indeed a dish to relish!
Order the ingredients online now at Avion Mart