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Close up shot of Kadai Paneer gravy served in small black iron karahi.
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4.74 from 15 votes

Kadai Paneer Recipe

Restaurant Style Kadai Paneer - Soft paneer cooked with bell peppers, onion, tomato and freshly ground homemade kadai masala. It's delicious, spicy and pairs best with naan and parathas.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Servings: 5
Calories: 363kcal
Author: Farrukh Aziz


For Kadai Masala

  • 2 tablespoons Coriander Seeds
  • ½ teaspoon Black Peppercorns
  • ½ tablespoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 4-5 Dried Red Chilies You can reduce it for lesser heat

For Gravy

  • 4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil divided
  • ¼ cup Onion
  • ¼ cup Tomato
  • ½ cup Capsicum
  • 1 tablespoon Butter Or Ghee
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • ½ cup Onion
  • teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger Juliennes
  • ¾ cup Tomato
  • teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
  • teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • ¾ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 3 tablespoons Tomato Puree
  • 100 ml Water You may add more for extra gravy or reduce for dry version
  • Salt To Taste
  • 3 tablespoons Cream
  • 300 gms Paneer
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar or Honey


To make kadai masala

  • In a pan, add coriander seeds, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks and dried red chilies.
  • Dry roast until it slight brown and releases nice aroma. Do not burn.
  • Transfer the dry roasted spices into mixer jar and grind it to a coarse powder. Set it aside.

Frying the vegetables

  • To begin with, in a kadai or pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil.
  • Add onion cubes, tomato cubes, capsicum cubes and fry on high for 1 minute only.
  • Then, transfer them onto a plate. Set it aside.

How to make kadai paneer

  • Now, heat oil and butter or ghee together.
  • Add cumin seeds and then fry for 20-30 seconds.
  • Then, add finely chopped onions and sauté until soft and pink.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and ginger juliennes. Fy for few seconds until raw smell goes off.
  • Then, add the ground or grated tomato and mix. Cook for 2-3 minutes on high heat.
  • Now, add Kashmiri red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, kadai masala powder and tomato puree. Sauté for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add water, and salt. Cook for another 4-5 minutes. Or until it starts releasing oil.
  • Then, add cream and mix, cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Now, add the roasted vegetable cubes and paneer cubes, mix.
  • Add little sugar or honey and cook for 1 minute only.

To give charcoal smoke (Dhungar)

  • Place small steel bowl or a piece of foil over the gravy. Put hot charcoal in the bowl.
  • Pour a teaspoonful of ghee or oil over the hot coal.
  • Immediately cover the kadai with tight fitting lid and let it rest for 4-5 minutes. This will help in infusing the lovely smoky aroma to the gravy.
  • Finally, open the lid, discard the coal and sprinkle some more ginger juliennes.
  • Dish out and serve hot kadai paneer with naan, lachha parathas or phulkas. Serve some onion rings or salad on the side.


I have used standard spoons and cup measures in this recipe.
Always dip paneer in hot water for 5-7 minutes before making the dish.
Modify the amount of chilies as per you taste.
You can add 1-2 green chilies for the spicier gravy.
Use tofu and cashew cream or coconut cream for vegan version. Skip butter or ghee and use vegetable oil.
You can make a big batch of kadai masala and store in clean airtight box for a month on counter and up to 6 months in freezer.
Increase the measures of spices in folds to make larger quantity of kadhai masala.


Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 238mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 966IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 328mg | Iron: 2mg