Mughlai Kadhai Paneer

Spicy paneer cooked with tomatoes, ginger, chilli & peppers

Kadhai Paneer

Paneer is one of the popular vegetarian ingredients not just across homes in India but also at street stalls and restaurants. A lot of households make their own and once you’ve tried homemade paneer you’ll never go back to shop bought. Although now most stores stock up on good quality paneer too. Its fresh, crumbly and quick to cook. The moist chunks are great in curries and for a bbq as they soak in the flavour of the spices it cooks with. For vegetarians this Indian cheese is a good source of protein. One of my favorite dishes is this Mughlai style Kadhai Paneer cooked with tomato, ginger, whole spices and peppers.

The dish is rustic with the peppers and onions diced along with the paneer. Also roasting the spices give a gorgeous also grinding the spices to a coarse mix lends a bite to the resultant dish. Take your time with cooking the tomatoes as the curry thickens the flavour gets richer which helps coat the paneer chunks well. I also add some tomato puree with the fresh variety for added colour and consistency. You can leave out the the kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) although they finish the curry with a delicious flavour. Served with naan and pickled onions this makes a perfect meal.


  1. In a dry frying pan add the kadhai masala spices and heat over a low flame. Give the pan a shake every few seconds. Roast for a 2-3 minutes. Cool and grind to a coarse powder and set aside

  2. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree to a blender and blitz to a smooth paste

  3. In a heavy bottom non stick sauce pan or kadhai heat the oil over a medium flame. Add 1 tablespoon of the ground kadhai masala and fry for a few seconds. Add the onions and fry for 12 minutes. Make sure to stir well and scrap the bottom of the pan

  4. Add the garlic and continue to fry for a minute. Add the tomato paste and fry over a medium heat for 12-14 minutes. You want the sauce to reduce slightly and thicken. Add the kashmiri chilli powder and turmeric powder stir well for a minute

  5. Kadhai Paneer (3)

    Now turn the heat to a low setting and add the yoghurt a little at a time. Stir well continuously for 4 minutes

  6. Turn the heat back to a medium and add the water followed by the peppers and red onion and fry for 6-7 minutes. Add another tablespoon of the kadhai masala and crushed kasoori methi. Season to taste

  7. Add the paneer and stir well coating the paneer in the gravy. Cook for 3 minutes as the paneer begins to soften. Turn the heat off and garnish with ginger and coriander. Serve with naan and salad

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