The kadhai or karahi, a large rounded pan ideal for stir-frying, is India’s answer to the wok. Paneer is of course, a curd cheese with a mild taste and firm texture popular in India. Put the two together and you get this quick vegetarian stir-fry, which is fast becoming an Indian staple as people work longer hours but still demand fast, tasty food.
Though I confess to being a confirmed carnivore, I would eat this delicious dish any day, and I think you’ll dig it as well!
1 Tbsp. ghee or corn oil
1/2 Tsp. crushed dried chilies
2 red or yellow peppers, seeded and cut into strips
1 red onion, sliced
1 lb. 5 oz. (600 g) paneer, cut into batons
2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 Tsp. dried fenugreek leaves, crumbled
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and julienned
Basic kadhai sauce:
1/3 cup ghee or corn oil
1 oz. garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. coriander seeds, coarsely pounded
8 red chilies, coarsely pounded in a mortar
2 onions, finely chopped
2-inch piece ginger, finely chopped
1 lb. 10 oz. (750 g) fresh ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
2 Tsp. salt
1 Tsp. garam masala
1 1/2 Tsp. dried fenugreek leaves, crumbled
1 Tsp. sugar (optional)
1.) Start by making the sauce: Heat ghee in pan and add garlic. Stir, then add coriander seeds and red chilies. When they release their aromas, add the onions and cook until golden. Stir in ginger, green chilies, and tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and cook until all excess moisture has evaporated and the fat starts to separate out. Add the salt, garam masala, and fenugreek leaves and stir. Taste and add sugar if needed.
2.) For the stir-fry: Heat the ghee in a kadhai, wok, or large frying pan. Add the crushed chilies, pepper strips, and red onion. Stir and sauté over high heat for under a minute, then add the paneer and stir for another minute.
3.) Add the sauce and mix well. Once everything is heated through, check for seasoning, adding salt if required. Finish with fresh cilantro, fenugreek leaves and lemon juice. Garnish with ginger and serve with naan or rice.