Make this most popular restaurant style Kadai Paneer curry at home by following this easy recipe. This fried paneer butter masala is finger-licking good!
A vegetarian meal that's delicious, spicy, and pairs best with Indian flatbread and rice.
Fan of Indian Cottage Cheese
If there is one paneer dish that gets made regularly in our house then it has to be Palak Paneer!
Just to shake things up a bit, I wanted to try some other recipes using this delicious ingredient.
That is how Restaurant Style Achari Paneer Masala and Peshawari Paneer Chole recipes were created and added to our weekly rotation menu!
Then I discovered this South Indian version of Kadai paneer and have been a fan of this curry ever since!
But first, what is paneer?
It's a form of fresh cheese commonly used in Indian cuisine. It is an unaged, non-melting soft cheese made by curdling milk using lemon juice or vinegar.
It does resemble tofu but has more fat in comparison to it.
Especially for vegetarians, it is a good choice because it's loaded with healthy fats, proteins and are very low on carbs.
Since it is made from dairy, it's extremely delicious to taste and can even be eaten uncooked. It is light on the stomach and is extremely versatile in cooking.
It has a soft, chewy, milky, dense texture and is very delectable to taste.
There are many recipes available online that call for this Indian cheese and I have nearly tried them all.
But when it comes to a spicy, tangy, luscious gravy dish, I seem to have settled on this recipe. That's because it has a perfect blend of flavors that suits my palate.
You can call it Paneer Butter Masala or Paneer Ghee Roast as well. No matter what name you give it, this is one vegetarian dish that you must try if you love this Indian cheese!
Why make it
- It's a great vegetarian meal that can be served any day at any time.
- The entire recipe from start to finish takes about an hour.
- Uses simple flavorful ingredients available in any pantry.
- It has a new and different flavor thanks to the unique spice blend and usage of ghee.
This mildly spiced yet tangy Paneer curry is finger-licking good! It's different because of the way it is cooked and the spices used.
Here is what you need to make Paneer Kadai Masala.
Paneer - This Indian cottage cheese which is very similar to tofu is made from milk. You can easily find it in Indian grocery stores, on Amazon, or make it at home.
I will share the recipe to make it at home soon, but for this recipe, store-bought paneer will work well.
Bell pepper - They bring a certain sweetness and crunch to the dish. Use any color.
Ghee - This adds so much flavor to the dish. But if you are vegan, then use coconut oil or any other cooking oil/vegan butter.
Here's how to make it
This recipe is divided into 3 parts. First, we need to prep the Indian cheese. Here is what you need to do for that.
2 - Cut the paneer in any shape you want (I have cut them in cubes) and add them to the bowl.
3 - Coat the cubes well with the spiced yogurt mixture and marinate it for 30 minutes.
Take the fried paneer onto a plate and keep it aside for now. Also, reserve the leftover yogurt mixture.
While the cheese is marinating, prepare the masala for this gravy.
7 - Next you need to add the coconut and roast for another 2 minutes or until the coconut turns light brown.
8 - Take it all out onto a plate and let it cool down completely. Then transfer it to a blender and grind it into a smooth creamy paste by adding little water.
Now it's time to assemble this paneer butter masala.
9 - Use the same pan in which you fried the cheese earlier. In the remaining ghee, add the ground masala and fry it for 3-4 minutes.
10 - Then add the chopped bell pepper and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes.
11 - Add the leftover yogurt mixture to the pan as well. Mix and continue to cook till it comes to a boil. Add salt and sugar to balance the sourness and spiciness.
12 - Lastly add the fried paneer cubes and mix them into the gravy. Kadai Paneer is ready!
Serve paneer ghee roast hot after garnishing it with some fried curry leaves or coriander leaves.
The other way to serve them is to simply roll it up in a tortilla or paratha and enjoy it! It tastes yum!
Top tips, recommendations, and suggestions
Here are some tips to make this Kadai Paneer gravy even more delicious!
When preparing the yogurt marinade, you can use ginger-garlic paste instead of onion and garlic powder. For authentic Indian taste, use organic ghee.
If you are using frozen paneer, keep them immersed in hot water until soft, and then use it in the recipe.
For the masala, you can skip the oil and dry roast the ingredients. The dry roasted ingredients will give it an equally delicious flavor profile.
You can use tamarind pulp, extract or paste if you don't have tamarind. For coconut, you can use freshly grated coconut, dry shredded coconut, or coconut flakes.
Be careful to not burn the whole spices when roasting them. When you grind the masala paste, add enough water to help grind it to a smooth creamy consistency.
If you want, you can fry curry leaves before adding the ground masala to the pan for a more authentic flavor.
The consistency of the paneer butter masala is a personal choice. You can thin the gravy by adding some water.
Instead of dried red chilies, you can use red chili powder or paprika.
Can you make this vegan?
If using mushrooms, no need to marinate it. Just mix it in the yogurt mixture and fry. Instead of frying the tofu in ghee, use vegan butter, coconut, or vegetable oil instead.
Can you freeze this?
While this prepared Paneer Curry stays good in the fridge for 2-3 days, you can freeze it as well. I would suggest you freeze the gravy separately.
Then as and when you need to make this Kadai Paneer, you can thaw and heat the gravy and add freshly fried paneer to it.
My favorite recipes with Indian cottage cheese
- Paneer Cheese Corn Balls
- Thai Mutter Paneer
- Paneer Veggie Pizza
- Chilly Paneer in Tomato Capsicum Gravy
- Spinach and Paneer Puffs
If you’ve tried this Kadai Paneer recipe or any other recipe on the blog please let me know how it went by commenting below, I love hearing from you!
To prep the paneer
To prepare the ground masala
To assemble the gravy
- 1 Bell pepper chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2-3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
To prep the paneer
- Add yogurt in a mixing bowl. To that add spice mixes like turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Mix it all together.
- Cut the cheese in any shape you want (I have cut them in cubes) and add them to the bowl.
- Coat the cubes well with the spiced yogurt mixture and marinate it for 30 minutes.
- Heat ghee in a pan and shallow fry the cubes till they turn light golden. Do not over-fry as it can become rubbery fairly quickly. Take the fried paneer onto a plate and keep it aside for now. Also, reserve the leftover yogurt mixture.
To prepare the ground masala
- In a pan, add oil and once it's hot enough, roast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and fenugreek seeds for 30-40 seconds or till it releases a nice aroma.
- Then add tamarind, dried red chilies, and garlic. Continue to roast these for 1-2 minutes or till the garlic turns golden.
- Next you need to add the coconut and roast for another 2 minutes or until the coconut turns light brown.
- Take it all out onto a plate and let it cool down completely. Then transfer it to a blender and grind it into a smooth creamy paste by adding little water.
To assemble the gravy
- Use the same pan in which you fried the cheese earlier. In the remaining ghee, add the ground masala and fry it for 3-4 minutes.
- Then add the chopped bell pepper and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the leftover yogurt mixture to the pan as well. Mix and continue to cook till it comes to a boil. Add salt and sugar to balance the sourness and spiciness.
- Lastly add the fried paneer cubes and mix it into the gravy. Kadai Paneer is ready!
- Serve paneer ghee roast hot after garnishing it with some fried curry leaves or coriander leaves.
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