This is my ‘weekday easy’ Kadai Paneer recipe! With the right ingredients, this is a easy throw stuff in one pan and cook together kind of recipe. Paneer, fresh fenugreek leaves and bell peppers are a match made in culinary heaven. It made my kitchen smell like home, which is the definition of comfort food, right? It’s also packed with flavors and healthful. All around win!
This recipe can easily be made vegan by swapping tofu for paneer. I’ve tried that and it tastes just as good!
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried red chillies (this is for flavor, there’s no heat since we’re keeping them whole)
1 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1″ piece ginger, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed to room temperature
1 green + 1 red bell pepper, diced
3 tsp coarse kosher salt (make sure yu adjust your salt depending on the kind you use)
1 block paneer (14 oz), cubed into bite size pieces
(Tip; run your knife under scalding hot water for a few seconds, wipe clean and use that to chop through the paneer block. the hot knife goes through like butter, makes it much easier to get even whole unbroken paneer pieces)
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 cup fresh fenugreek leaves (I buy them frozen from my local Indian store)
(Tip: you could use dried fenugreek leaves, but only about 2 tbsps)
Heat a large deep skillet over medium heat, add the oil and cumin seeds. As soon as the cumin seeds start toasting slightly add the red chillies and all the spice powders. Fry for a couple of seconds, and drop in the garlic and ginger. Saute about a minute and add in the onions.
Cook until the onions are golden and slightly browned, around 7-8 minutes. Add the chopped tomato and peas. Add 1 tsp salt, and cover and cook about 5-6 minutes over medium heat, until the tomatoes have softened. Add in the peppers, let cook for about 2 minutes. Add the pieces of paneer, remaining salt, cover and cook another 5 minutes. This helps the paneer become really soft and creamy.
At this stage, sprinkle the garam masala and fenugreek leaves, and mix all together evenly. Let this sit together over medium heat for another 8-10 minutes. This ensures all the flavors meld together, and helps the paneer absorb the spices. Also make sure you are tossing the mixture around gently every few minutes so they don’t stick to the bottom.
Turn off the heat and serve hot with your favorite bread or grain. This tastes amazing with soft and fluffy hot rotis/chapatis, or of course with basmati rice.
I personally eat this with cauliflower rice keeping the healthful theme, and it tastes amazing!