Kadai Paneer

Kadai refers to a cooking vessel, not an ingredient. Similar to a wok, a kadai (aka karahi) is a deep. round, pot with a flat bottom. Today they're made of cast iron, stainless steel, copper, or nonstick materials. If you don't have one, a wok or large skillet will do the trick.

cast iron pan of Kadai Paneer
Photo: Jason Donnelly
Start To Finish Time:
40 mins
4 cups


  • 1 tablespoon ghee

  • 1 recipe Paneer or Pressed Tofu, cut in 1 1/2x3/4-inch pieces

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 fresh serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped*

  • 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • 4 teaspoon Masala

  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • Salt

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

  • Naan or hot cooked basmati rice (optional)


  • 2 quart (8 cups) whole milk

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • ¼ cup lemon juice or white vinegar

  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • 2 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cumin seeds

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

  • 2 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds

  • 4 whole cloves


  1. In a kadai or wok heat ghee over medium. Add Paneer; cook 6 minutes or until browned, turning once. Remove from kadai.

  2. For sauce, add onion, ginger, garlic, and serrano pepper to kadai. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes and Masala. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in bell pepper. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes more or until pepper is tender. Season to taste with salt.

  3. Serve sauce topped with Paneer and cilantro. If desired, serve with naan.


  1. Rinse a 5- to 6-qt. stainless-steel or enamel Dutch oven with water (this will help keep the milk from scorching). Add 2 qt. (8 cups) whole milk and 1 cup half-and-half. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Heat over medium-high 12 to 15 minutes or until mixture reaches 180°F, stirring and scraping bottom of pan with a rubber spatula. Reduce heat to medium-low. Gradually add 1/4 cup lemon juice or white vinegar, stirring gently 1 minute or just until curds form (do not stir too much or curds will become rubbery). Remove from heat. Line a large colander with three layers of 100%-cotton cheesecloth and set over a large bowl. Drain hot milk mixture through colander 30 minutes; discard liquid. Gather edges of cheesecloth and lift curds. Twist ends of cheesecloth and press curds with a rubber spatula to remove excess liquid. Sprinkle curds with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt. Place curds, in cheesecloth. on a plate and shape into a square (it doesn't have to be exact). Fold cheesecloth tightly around curds and top with a second plate. Weight down by adding a pot or a few unopened cans of food to plate. Chill 1 to 2 hours. Remove cheesecloth and use paneer immediately, or store in refrigerator up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.


  1. Heat a 10-inch dry skillet over medium. Add spices. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant, shaking skillet occasionally. Cool slightly. Finely grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Store at room temperature up to 3 months. Makes about 6 Tbsp.

Pressed Tofu

Drain a 14- to 16-oz. pkg. extra-firm water-packed tofu. Fold two paper towels into quarters. On a plate layer tofu between paper towels. Weight it down by placing a second plate on top and adding a pot or a few unopened cans of food to the plate. Let stand 30 minutes, replacing paper towels if they get completely wet.


Chile peppers contain oils that can irritate your skin and eyes. Wear plastic or rubber gloves when working with them.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

483 Calories
27g Fat
42g Carbs
20g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 483
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 77mg 26%
Sodium 886mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Total Sugars 35g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 50.8mg 254%
Calcium 683mg 53%
Iron 2.6mg 14%
Potassium 1220mg 26%
Folate, total 55.8mcg
Vitamin B-12 2.3mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.5mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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