Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kadai Paneer

This dish is a must entry in the menu card of most of the restaurants serving Indian food(Not sure about their kitchen though!!).The question is how many restaurants serve the authentic kadai paneer? Can we recall a restaurant where we can proudly say, I had the best kadai paneer there. The sad note is, restaurants quoting “Authentic Punjabi Food” also fail to give tastier kadai paneer. As I understood from a friend of mine, kadai paneer is prepared by adding freshly powdered green cardamom, bay leaf, coriander seeds, and red chillies to get an authentic taste. But, most of the restaurants seem to use the same creamy gravy (oily!) prepared for other dishes & just throw in vegetables required.
What I want to say all kadai paneer lovers is, “Don’t go by the name, by the ingredients or by the fancy name”. This dish does not require any special ingredient & is very easy to cook. So, cook it at home & enjoy the dish. It tastes so authentic that you can fool people by saying you put hours together to prepare this delicious dish. Same happened to me few years before. I prepared it during my hubby’s relative’s visit & it was a big hit at our family. Many of my aunties, cousins took the recipe from me & all started cooking it. It had become my signature dish for couple of months. The highlight of Kadai Paneer is “the crunchiness of capsicum & softness of cottage cheese with lightly infused gravy”


Ingredients:
Indian Cottage Cheese: 200gms (Cut into ½ inch sized cubes)
Green Capsicum: 2 nos (Cut into ½ inch sized squares)
Tomatoes: 3 nos
Onion Paste: 2tbsp (I added finely chopped onions here)
Garlic: 3 pods (minced)
Coriander Seeds: 1tbsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Red Chillies: 2 nos
Red chilli powder: ½ tsp
Garam Masala: ½ tsp (optional)
Bay leaf: 1 no
Green cardamom: 2 nos
Oil: 2 tbsp
Butter: 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds: ½ tsp
Salt: According to taste

Method:
  • Blanch the tomatoes & chop them into small pieces.
  • Make a coarse powder coriander seeds & red chillies.
  • Heat oil in a broad pan, when oil is hot, add cumin seeds, followed by coarse powder of coriander & red chillies. Saute it for 30secs. Add onion paste & garlic. Saute till garlic turns golden brown. Add the tomatoes, little salt, red chilli powder, bay leaf & cook the tomatoes on a low heat for 15-20 mins.
  • Meantime, heat the butter in another pan, when butter is hot, add coriander seeds powder followed by paneer cubes, sauté the cubes for 1-2 minutes. Then add capsicum & sauté on a medium flame for 3-5 until the capsicum is cooked & yet maintain its crispness.
  • When the tomatoes start leaving out oil & are cooked till soft, add whole cardamom & garam masala. Saute for another 3-5 minutes on low heat.
  • Remove the bay leaf, cardamom from the gravy before serving. Add the sautéed capsicum & paneer 10 minutes before serving the dish for paneer to absorb the gravy.
PS:

  • The main idea is to keep the capsicum crisp & paneer firm. Hence, donot keep capsicum & paneer in gravy for a long time. The paneer gets crumbled & capsicum becomes soft.
  • Do not try to skip, the addition of whole cardamom as it adds a nice flavor to the dish.

Blog Events: Goes to "MFT:Cheese" event hosted by Poornima Nair of Tasty Treats & to Bindiya who originally started the event.