Friday, February 22, 2013

Kadai Paneer

If you have never heard of or eaten paneer before, let me tell you, you have been missing out. Paneer is an Indian cheese and it is a very versatile ingredient. It is a dairy product, and is a good source of protein for vegetarians.

Paneer has a special place in my family. My mother makes some of the most delicious paneer dishes, her palak paneer (paneer in a spinach sauce) is world famous. The first time my husband visited Chennai (my hometown) my mother had made it, and he couldn't believe how good it was. It is luckily my husband's favourite ingredient too, its right up there with chicken. 

Yes yes he is a meat lover and I am a veggie lover and we live very harmoniously (well almost always). I think the best thing about our relationship is that we have always given each other the space to be an individual and be the unique personalities that we were always meant to be. I often get asked, isn't it hard? Or a non vegie friend may try to sympathize for my hubby, saying he's deprived (you dont cook no meat, what!!!). We usually laugh it off because we have never really found it to be an issue. We are both foodies, and love trying new restaurants as much as we love cooking at home. He's really sweet and always looks for the vegetarian dishes on the menu first, making sure I always have a choice (I am a lucky girl) my main concern with his food is making sure everything is free range and sustainable. Eating well and eating healthy is as important as eating right which means eating produce that is sustainable and not harming the environment.

I think its great to be different and have different beliefs as long as we have a common goal - our happiness before mine or his. What can I say it (we) just works!

This dish is one of my favourite Paneer dishes (well I have a lot of favourites) It is earthy, fragrant, beautifully bronze with hidden white and green jewels. Kadai Paneer is a spicy combination of green bell pepper and paneer in a spicy sauce cooked in a kadai  (wok).  Its best served with tandoori roti or parathas.


Serves 4


250-300 g Paneer - cut into cubes
2 Capsicum - cut into cubes
6 cm piece of Ginger - make a paste, and a little julienne for garnish
6-7 cloves Garlic made into a paste
1 Onion - finely chopped
3-4 tomatoes pureed
1 Green chilli - finely chopped
2-3 Kashmiri dry red Chilli (use less if you dont want it too hot) dry roasted and ground
11/2 tbsp Coriander Seeds - dry roasted and ground
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
11/2 tbsp Kasuri Methi (Dry Fenugreek leaves)
2-3 cardamom pods
4-5 cloves
1/2 cup Fresh Coriander leaves- dry roasted
2 tbsp light cooking Cream (optional)
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
Salt to taste


Kasuri Methi /Fenugreek


In a wok heat the oil, add the cardamom and cloves to perfume the oil Let the cardamom start to colour then add the onions and cook till transparent. Add the green chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Add the ground coriander seeds and kashmiri red chilli and mix it well. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the salt and the tomato puree and cook till the oil separates. 

Add the capsicum and cook for another 5-7 minutes.Add the paneer to the wok. Add a the cream or milk and cook for 5-10 minutes till the paneer is tender. Add the kasuri methi and mix everything well. 

Garnish with coriander leaves and julienne ginger. Serve with rotis.

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