Kadai Paneer

Gone are the days when I used to make my own paneer. What I miss the most about not making my own paneer is using the whey to make drinks and use it as stock. Paneer is readily available and I like to buy the one in blocks so I can cut to my liking. This dish is rich and creamy, and I make no apologies for it!!

300 grams paneer cut into strips of 7 centimetres long by 1 centimetre wide

300 grams onions finely chopped

3-4 centimetres of ginger

3-4 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek available in Indian stores)

200 grams green pepper sliced into 5 centimetres long by 1 centimetre wide pieces

¼ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder

½ teaspoon hot chilli powder

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

6 tablespoons ghee

1 teaspoon honey

250 ml dairy cream

Salt to taste

1 quantity tomato sauce as per the recipe below

For the tomato sauce

3-4 centimetres of ginger chopped

400 grams of tinned tomatoes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Method for the tomato sauce:

Heat oil in a sauce pan and when hot add the ginger. Fry for 20 seconds or so and add all the tomatoes along with their juice. Add 500 ml water and bring up to the boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer gently for 30 – 40 minutes. Blitz and use for the kadai paneer.

ASSEMBLY & METHOD for kadai paneer

Heat a tablespoon of ghee in a sauté pan. When hot, add a third of the paneer pieces and fry until golden brown. Set aside and repeat the process with the remaining pieces of paneer.

Using a mortar and pestle, make a ginger garlic paste with the ginger and garlic.

Using a small fry pan, dry roast the kasuri methi until a very strong umami flavour emerges. When cool enough, using your fingers, crumble and make in to a fine powder.

Heat the remaining ghee in a kadai (deep fry pan). When hot enough, fry the onions until golden brown. Do not rush this process and it will take 15 minutes or so. Allowing the onions to fry slowly, adds sweetness to the dish. Then add the ginger and garlic paste. Fry vigorously for 30 seconds and then add the turmeric, both the chilli powders, and garam masala. Fry for a further 30 seconds. Then add the tomato sauce. Mix to combine and add the kasuri methi powder along with salt. Cover with a lid and allow to gently simmer for 5 minutes. Check for seasoning and add the honey. The sauce should be red, thick and flavourful. Add the green pepper slices. Mix to combine and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Then add the fried paneer pieces along with the cream. Let it all heat through and when you can see slight bubbles or after about 4 -5 minutes you can turn the heat off. Your kadai paneer is ready to serve with roti or poori. Serves 10.

Cooking notes: In my years of experimenting this dish, I realized that you cannot make a small quantity of this dish as it doesn’t work and the taste is not the same. I recommend you make this for a special celebratory meal or when you have guests.

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