30 min Dhaba Style Kadhai Paneer

30 min Dhaba Style Kadhai Paneer

Paneer is one of the most popular ingredients in the Indian cuisine. Also, known as the Indian Cottage cheese that is soft yet firm, it easily adapts in any dry or gravy preparation and is loved equally by mean and non-meat eaters.

Kadhai Paneer is a favorite in our household. Cubes of onion and peppers are simmered in a semi spicy/tangy tomato gravy making it a great base for the cheese. I often prepare this dish during weeknights as it comes together very quickly. Since it is not too saucy, we usually pair this up with Naans or Rotis, the healthier option. You can serve this with a side of a simple salad and Raita, a refreshing yoghurt preparation typically flavored with some vegetable or fruit.

Paneer poses numerous health benefits and can be easily prepared at home. Packed with potassium that boosts good heart health. It is also rich in protein, calcium and folate and has properties that help you feel fuller for longer, thereby aiding weight loss. 

How to make paneer:

I promise to share a detailed recipe in a separate post. But, basically, milk is boiled and then curdled using a sour agent like lime juice, yoghurt/curd or vinegar. The loose cheese is then bound in a muslin cloth and weighted down, until it firms up. The whey that is left behind is extremely nutrient dense. It is a versatile liquid that boosts immunity, aids digestion and helps muscles. It can be added to juices and shakes, used in place of broth and also during baths to soften skin.

I usually use Brar Malai Paneer. I find it a lot softer than its counterparts and is readily available in Indian stores. Some people boil or saute their paneer in advance to make it softer before adding to the dish. I directly add it to my prepared gravy or preparation and have never felt it made any difference.

I always keep Paneer handy in the freezer and thaw it the day of the cooking. If it is a last minute need, I typically boil it for 3-4 mins in the microwave. Sometimes I have found that microwaving to thaw it quickly makes the paneer texture slightly chewy. But it is not too bad.

My kadhai paneer recipe is not very spicy (especially if you omit the green chili) and can be enjoyed by kids as well. If you desire, you can add some yoghurt and water, to make it more saucy and serve it with rice as well. Give this one a try – it is one of my favorite ones and is sure to please you!

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30 min Dhaba Style Kadhai Paneer

30 min Dhaba Style Kadhai Paneer

  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4


Cubes of paneer cooked with onions and bell peppers in a semi spicy gravy perfect with rotis or rice.


  • ¼ cup Cashews
  • 3 Tomatoes (or you can use a 14oz tomato puree can)
  • 1 Green chilli (optional)
  • ¼ cup Coriander + some for garnish
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • Whole Garam Masala (1 Cardamom, 1 inch Cinnamon, 1 bay leaf)
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 cubed Red onion
  • 1 cup cubed Green or Red Bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Garam masala powder, adjust to taste
  • 2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Amchur powder
  • 1 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Kastoori methi
  • 8 oz cubed Paneer (about 2 cups)


  1. Soak cashews in 1/2 cup of hot water and set aside for 5 mins.
  2. Puree tomatoes, green chilli, cashews, coriander leaves and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a deep saute pan on medium heat. Once hot, add whole garam masalas and cumin seeds.
  4. Once the cumin seeds sizzle, add onions and saute for 2 mins.
  5. Add ginger garlic paste and bell pepper and saute for 1 min.
  6. Add the prepared puree, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt and mix well. Now, cover with a lid as it may splutter.
  7. Once the gravy comes to a boil, reduce the heat and mix well. Now let it simmer for another 10 mins.
  8. Add garam masala, coriander powder, amchur powder, ketchup and kastoori methi. Mix well and Cook covered for 2 mins.
  9. Add ½ cup of water if you are finding the gravy on the drier side.
  10. Once the gravy has reached your desired consistency, add the paneer pieces and make sure the gravy is coating them well. Cover with lid and let it cook on low for 5 mins.
  11. Turn off heat, mix well and garnish with coriander and cream (if using).
  12. Serve kadhai paneer with warm rotis or rice.


  • If you are using canned tomatoes, skip the amchur powder as the canned tomatoes can be a little sour.
  • You can completely or partially skip the whole garam masalas if you don’t have it handy
  • You can omit the ketchup, but it adds a little sweetness that compliments the spices nicely.
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Main Entree/Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: kadhai paneer, paneer sabzi, paneer gravy, quick paneer, vegetarian curry, kadai paneer, karahi paneer, restaurant style paneer, homemade paneer, how to make paneer, dhaba style paneer, garlic naan

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  • Reply
    Mandeep Grewal
    October 3, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Excellent receipe and the spice level is good for everyone. I prefer my dishes a bit more spicy. This is definitely a new favourite.

    • Reply
      October 3, 2020 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you so much! Yes, kept it a tad less spicy so that everyone can enjoy 🙂 Please give other recipes a try too!

  • Reply
    October 2, 2021 at 12:33 am

    Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.

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