15-Minute Kadai Paneer

A bowl of 15-Minute Kadai paneer, made in Instant Pot

Kadai paneer is a delicious & elegant Indian dish made with Paneer (Indian cottage cheese), peppers & onions.

I cook soft paneer cubes in a tomato gravy and season it with an aromatic Indian spice blend, called Kadai Masala.  This is a real crowd pleaser in most Indian restaurants and homes.

This is my take on a classic, which usually takes me double the time to make.

Here I have recreated the magic using easily available ingredients and cooked it in 15 minutes, hence the name 15-Minute Kadai Paneer.

This Indian recipe is on repeat menu in my home.  Our favorite way of eating this deliciousness it to roll this mix in a warmed whole-wheat tortilla and enjoy a quick and tasty Kadai Paneer Wrap.

One-Pot / One-Pan Recipe

15-Minute Kadai Paneer is one of the simplest Indian food recipes I make.

The 5 minutes of prep and under 10 minutes of cooking time makes it ideal for weeknights.  This easy to follow recipe comes together in ONE-PAN.

A wide Skillet or Fry Pan is all you need to make it.  You can even make this in your Instant Pot, using the SAUTE feature.

 

15-Minute Kadai paneer by Spice Cravings is a delicious & elegant dish made with Paneer, peppers & onions. Seasoned with fragrant Indian spices, this is a real crowd pleaser. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #curry #indian #SpiceCravings

What is a Kadai Paneer?

This dish is traditionally prepared in an Indian ‘wok’, called kadai, thus giving it’s name.

Kadai style of cooking is very similar to Stir-Fry method of cooking.  Fresh ingredients are lightly stir-fried and a master sauce is used to bind the dish together.

In this recipe, I blend crushed, or pureed, tomatoes with tomato paste and a touch of yogurt, and add it to the sautéed paneer and peppers.

The tartness in the yogurt cuts through the sweet and dense tomato flavor really well.  I season the mix with earthy and floral Indian spices, like garam masala, coriander powder and dried fenugreek leaves.

The result is a delicious entree with perfectly balanced flavors.

Many restaurants use heavy cream or a cashew paste to give a rich taste and finish to Kadai Paneer.  I prefer using Greek Yogurt, as it provides the same richness, yet keeps this dish light and healthy.

10-Minute Kadai paneer by Spice Cravings is a delicious & elegant dish made with Paneer, peppers & onions. Seasoned with fragrant Indian spices, this is a real crowd pleaser.

Variation: Kadai Masala Recipe

Like most Indian spice blends, there are a lot of variations in this recipe.

Typically, it includes dry red chili, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cardamom, fennel and one of the main flavor boosters, dried fenugreek leaves, also called kasoori Methi.

Most of these spices are included in my master spice blend, Homemade Garam Masala, so I just add the dried fenugreek leaves and create the kadai flavors in this dish, without any extra effort.  This shortcut is ideal for last minute and weeknight meals.

When I do have the time, here’s how I make Kadai Masala from scratch:

I toast the following spices in a skillet for 2 minutes, stirring in between.  Then, I cool these spices for about 15 minutes, and grind them to a semi-fine consistency, using my handy Krups Coffee Grinder.

15-Minute Kadai paneer by Spice Cravings is a delicious & elegant dish made with Paneer, peppers & onions. Seasoned with fragrant Indian spices, this is a real crowd pleaser. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #curry #indian #SpiceCravings

Customizing the quantity of sauce in 15-Minute Kadai Paneer Recipe

In this recipe, I have made a semi-dry variation of Kadai paneer.

To add more gravy/sauce in this dish, simply increase the quantity of crushed or pureed tomatoes to 1 cup, and add another tablespoon of Greek yogurt.  You’ll have a delicious rich sauce in the end.

Serving Suggestions for Kadai Paneer

This dish is versatile enough to be served as an appetizer or as an entree.  To serve this as an appetizer, I make mini-skewers using Cocktail Picks.

Here’s how I load each Cocktail Picks— onion, pepper, paneer, pepper, onion.  I serve this with Cilantro Chutney and it’s always a hit.

My kids loves wrapping some in a warm whole-wheat tortilla and enjoy it as a Kadai Paneer Wrap.

For a low-carb option, my husband and I love to have it with a large garden salad, dressed with fresh lime juice and chaat masala.

You can serve this with Cumin Rice, or Naan/Roti, serve it with a side of Cucumber Raita, and enjoy a delicious Indian Vegetarian meal.

 

Jeera Rice or Cumin Rice, is a popular Indian side dish where delicious and aromatic basmati rice is cooked with the nutty and earthy cumin seeds. It is one of the most popular accompaniment with Indian curries. Quick and easy recipe by Spice Cravings. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian #basmati #riceCumin Rice (Jeera Rice)

Cucumber Yoghurt Dip / Cucumber Raita, by Spice Cravings. Cucumber Raita is a yoghurt dip made by mixing together freshly chopped cucumber, cilantro, yogurt, salt, an Indian spice blend called Chaat Masala. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty
Cucumber Raita (Yogurt Dip)

Some more Popular Paneer Recipes

Instant pot paneer butter masala or paneer makhani is vegetarian variation of Butter Chicken. Start with paneer, Indian cottage cheese, and simmer it in tomato puree, season with toasted and ground garam masala and finished with a touch of heavy cream #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodiePaneer Butter MasalaPaneer Tikka masala- Instant potPaneer Tikka Masala
Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian Punjabi curry made by cooking soft paneer (Indian cottage cheese), in a healthy and tasty spinach gravy.  By Spice Cravings #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian #curryPalak PaneerAchaari Paneer Biryani- combining two popular dishes, Achaari Paneer and Biryani in one pot by Spice Cravings. Achaari paneer biryani combines paneer cubes (Indian cottage cheese), cooked with pickling spices, with biryani, which is rice cooked with Indian spices. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #indian
Achaari Paneer Biryani

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10-Minute Kadai paneer by Spice Cravings is a delicious & elegant dish made with Paneer, peppers & onions. Seasoned with fragrant Indian spices, this is a real crowd pleaser. #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #curry #indian #SpiceCravings

15-Minute Kadai paneer

15-Minute Kadai paneer is a delicious & elegant dish made with Paneer, peppers & onions. Seasoned with fragrant Indian spices, this is a real crowd pleaser.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 235kcal
Author: Spice Cravings

Ingredients

Instructions

Instant Pot (Using SAUTE Setting)

  • Turn on SAUTE. Wait till it reads 'Hot' and add oil and Panchpuran. Let it sizzle for 10 seconds, add ginger and garlic. Saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add cubed onions, peppers and paneer and saute for 1 minute. Add vinegar, salt and spices, and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, mix together, tomato paste, crushed tomato, yogurt and water. Add it to the pot and stir.  Cover the pot and cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn off Saute and garnish with chopped cilantro.  Alternatively, you can cook this on 0 mins Manual/Pressure Cook followed by a Quick Release (QR).

Stove -Top

  • Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Add oil and Panchpuran. Let it sizzle for 10 seconds, add ginger and garlic. Saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add cubed onions, peppers and paneer and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add vinegar, salt and spices, and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, mix together, tomato paste, crushed tomato, yogurt and water. Add it to the skillet and stir. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Notes

If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
 
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 612mg | Potassium: 265mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 7.5% | Vitamin C: 87.2% | Calcium: 30.7% | Iron: 6.1%
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: indian, kadai, masala, Paneer
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15-Minute Kadai paneer by Spice Cravings is a delicious & elegant dish made with Paneer, peppers & onions. Seasoned with fragrant Indian spices, this is a real crowd pleaser. #spicecravings #food #foodie #foodblogger #delicious #recipe #instantpot #recipes #easyrecipe #cuisine #30minutemeal #instagood #foodphotography #tasty #curry #indian #SpiceCravings

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