Kadai Paneer – Indian cottage cheese in tangy, spicy tomato gravy

My oldest tyke turned 15. A year shy of the quintessential mark of a rebel.. But hey I don’t think a particular year turns the page.

I sometimes think this boy was born as an old soul in a young body. Sigh !

Or maybe just maybe the single liners or the dry remarks are just a genetic influence that has been passed on … Ahem Ahem !

 But this child still has the glint in his eyes when looks forward to certain favorites. This being one of those on his list.. Happy Birthday A1 and may you be blessed with the best of health and happiness always ..

An awesome spicy and tangy gravy of Paneer and bell peppers and onions served with flat bread  ( rotis or Naans) or fried puffed breads ( Pooris) and piping hot Jeera rice.

Kadai Paneer - Indian cottage cheese in tangy, spicy tomato gravy

Cooking time : 30-40 min  Serves : 6


  • 16 oz paneer : Cut in 1.5 inches lengthwise
  • Bell peppers  ( green , colored mix) : 3-4 cut in thick strips
  • Red onion : 1 big, cut in big fat strips
  • Ginger garlic paste : 1 tsp.
  • Roma tomatoes : 8-9 , pureed
  • Cumin (Jeera seeds) : 1 tsp.
  • Garam Masala : 1 tsp.
  • Kasuri methi leaves (dry) : 1 tsp, crushed
  • Melted butter : 3 Tbsp.
  • 2 to 3 tbsp oil or ghee or butter
  • Fresh Coriander leaves : chopped fine , 1/4 cup
  • Salt : 1 tsp + to taste

 Kadai masala: Dry roast, cool and fine grind

  • Coriander seeds : 1/4 cup
  • Dry red Kashmiri chilies ( low – medium heat) : 6

Optional :

  • Kashmiri chili powder : 1 tsp.


  • In a big wok or Kadai and add 3 Tbsp. of butter or ghee ( clarified butter ) if using and heat it.
  • Add in the Cumin seeds and let it sputter.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste , fry it for a minute or two.
  • Now add in the cut onions and sauté till translucent.
  • Add the Garam masala, fine ground Kadai masala and Kashmiri chili powder ( if using) and stir for a min or two. Essentially cooking the masala combination.
  • Now add in the pureed tomatoes , stir well , cover and let it boil for about 7-10 min. By now the gravy will acquire  deep red hue from the combination of Kashmiri chilies and the chili powder if using and the tomato puree. That is the color you would typically look out for.
  • The butter would separate and you would see it glistening on the sides, plus there would be a reduction in the gravy volume as well.
  • Add in 1 tsp. or so of salt and about half a cup of water only if you think the gravy is too thick.
  • Add in the chopped bell peppers  and simmer in this for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Add in the crushed Kasuri Methi leaves and the Paneer strips and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

 Notes :

  • Adding the red Kashmiri Chili powder is not necessary but it gives the beautiful hue to the gravy.
  • Don’t feel like making the Kadhai masala fresh?  Go ahead and  substitute with just Kashmiri Chili powder  and 3 -4 tsp of dry dhania powder and adjust the masala to taste. It should be close enough, but if you could take an extra 5 to make the masala fresh.
  • The bell peppers need to retain the part crunch , hence they are added a bit later in the prep.
  • This recipe uses a lot of tomatoes. Don’t have any on hand? Just substitute with canned as per the directions on it.

Kadai Paneer - Indian cottage cheese in tangy, spicy tomato gravy

 This was a part of the lovely birthday dinner served along with pooris , Peas and Carrot simple Pulav , Mixed  Masala Dal and Baingan Bartha.


And dessert of course was the super delish Guava Ice cream!

Moong Dal Stuffed Paratha ( Flat breads stuffed with awesome spiced Moong Dal mélange)

Of Ninjas, Parathas and More..

A3 ( my youngest) can be a bouncy ball of energy! Do imagine this wiry 6 year old with enough spunk to get you grinning through the day, devoted to his older brother and coddled by his sister. This little tyke can keep himself entertained through the day without much . When he did turn 6, my neighbor and awesome friend, SP dropped in to wish him and presented him with his much coveted TMT wares. That’s it guys, we struck gold ! Which also means we were subjected to the glory of the teenage mutant ninja turtles morning, noon and night.. For a short time, atleast!

Well, we rediscovered it a few weeks later and A3 was in his full on glory. So mommy dearest, decided to make protein loaded dinner to fuel up the imaginations some more..

Protein power for the little one
Protein power for the little one

Moong Dal Stuffed Paratha ( Flat breads stuffed with awesome spiced Moong Dal mélange)

Prep time : 35 min  – 50 min            Cooking time : 30- 45 min          Serves : 4-6


For the Stuffing:

  • Skinned / yellow Moong dal : 1/2 cup
  • Whole green Moong dal : 2/3 cup
  • Potato : 1
  • Grated ginger : 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric : 1/2 tsp
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp
  • Green chillies or chilli powder : Added to taste and spice level
  • Coriander – Jeera powder : 1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder (Optional) : 1 tsp.

For the Dough:

  • Whole wheat flour: 3 cups
  • Ajwain : 1 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder / haldi : 1/2 tsp
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.
  • Oil : 1-2 Tsp.
  • Very warm water : 1 cup + as required

Prep work :

For the stuffing:

  • Boil or pressure cook the dals and the potato.
  • Mash them all together with the spices and make 12-14 round big lemon sized balls/globes out of these.

For the Dough:

  • Knead the flour to get a nice soft pliable dough. Oil the surface of the dough and rest it for atleast an hour.
  • Make about 12-14 sized big globes out of these and keep them covered.

Making the stuffed parathas:

  • Roll out the dough globe ( by dipping it into the flour if required . Usually dusting the surface of the workspace does the trick ) to  about 5 inches in diameter or so.
Delicious stuffing
Delicious stuffing
  • Place the smaller globe of stuffing mix in it and cover it . The idea is to tent it beautifully and seams need to be overlapping .
  • Roll it out gently to get a nice big sized disc of about 10-12 inches of size. Make sure the stuffing does not split out the sides 🙂
On the griddle !
On the griddle !
  • Heat a flat griddle, and shallow fry it with a tsp of oil on both sides.
Cooking away!
Cooking away!
  • Serve the sizzling hot brown flat bread stuffed with yummy goodness of lentils with a dollop of butter, a side of yoghurt and some delish tomato pickle.

Pack on the protein power!

Waiting to be devored!
Waiting to be devored!
[yumprint-recipe id=’22’]