Kadhai Paneer & Triangle Paratha (Flatbread)


Thousands of miles away, when you cook food which you ate back home – on family picnics, long drives, with friends, at birthdays parties & weddings, there is a certain sense of overwhelm which grasps me.Does it happens to you too? – tastes which remind you of good times spent.One such memory is eating at dhabas in and around Delhi.Dhaba is indian equivalent of a diner, very popular amongst drivers and long distance travellers for quick & inexpensive food.If you ask me the best places to eat in Delhi, I will recommend most of the dhabas on the outskirts of the city and some in Old & central areas.

The typical setting of a dhaba is not fancy,very basic, you might or might not get cutlery or tissue paper, but you are sure to find food made with love and bursting with authentic flavors.Mostly you would be eating on reusable stainless steel plates, you may get mineral water,there might be mosquitos during summers and monsoons [grin],AC is out of question,if it’s a popular place – you ll get chairs else enjoy seating on a cot & don’t shy away from humming old hindi film songs playing on the radio…the food is glorious,the atmosphere – intoxicating! When my dad used to work outside Delhi, most of our summer vacations were spent on road trips. I remember that we used to plan our visits such that we can have dinner at our favorite dhabas which dotted the interconnecting highways.As I write this, my mouth is already watering at the thought of food served - dal makhani [ lentils], palak paneer [ spinach & cheese curry],  kadhai chicken served along with hot& fluffy butter dunked tandoori rotis [flatbreads] straight out the the clay oven, jeera [cumin] rice & a BIG glass of lassi or chaas [ salty buttermilk] during summers or masala chai during winters.Here you don’t kill yourself over worrying about calories or hygiene, its the zesty experience which matters!! The recipe in this post is one which you will find at almost every dhaba in north india – trust me the very mention still stirs the emotions of best family times :)

“Kadhai” is an indian wok.It is one of the most indispensable utensil in an Indian kitchen..be it for making quick stir fry, curries, shallow or deep-frying or simmering stews.Its shallow & less heavy as compared to dutch ovens and something I just can’t imagine my without.A dish which is made start to finish in a “kadhai” gets its name from there & is Indian answer to a stir fry. However, you do not compulsorily need a kadhai to make this recipe :) The point to keep in mind is that since it’s a quick cooking method, you can make a kadhai with almost anything under the sun.The recipe is very simple, you can prepare & store the kadhai sauce in advance & add whatever you wish to it- from chicken to cauliflower to fish to vegetable medley .Today I chose paneer [Indian Cottage Cheese] which is the most popular of all kadhai preparations in northen India. A typical addition to any kadhai is lots of bell peppers – of all colors, choose any you like.The dish is bursting with indian flavors, mostly made semi dry, is really one of the most colorful curries around & is really simple to whip up.

Although kadhai tastes awesome with naan bread, tandoori roti or even rice, in my home we are used to eating it with tawa parathas or skillet cooked flatbreads.Since childhood , I have known parathas in this triangle shape right from dinner plate to lunch box.Infact my granny was very particular about how neat a triangle you are able to roll out.I hope my pictures of the steps will help you in that regard :) This triangle paratha has layers , is soft & flaky coz its brushed with oil/ghee inside – I can have few of these straight from the skillet on its own- Love the aroma of steam which escapes when you bite the layers. You can add chopped chillies, herbs, spices etc to make your own variations.

Below are both the recipe :-

Printable Recipe

Kadhai Paneer

Ingredients:- [Serves 2-3]

[ You can replace the paneer with any boneless meat or vegetable of choice]

  • 1 lb / 1.5 kg Paneer,cubed or cut in strips  [ Indian Cottage Cheese available in all indian stores, recommended brand “Nanak” or can be made at home.You can refer this recipe for homemade version]
  • 1 tbsp canola/corn/vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-sized each of red & green bell peppers, seeded [ Cut in strips or diced]
  • 1/2 cup onions, thick sliced [ optional]
  • Salt to taste [ if required]
  • Fresh chopped Cilantro for garnish
  • Fresh lime juice
Basic Kadhai Sauce Ingredients [ Can be made fresh or well in advance.For storing, put in dry-air tight containers & freeze.Thaw 1-2 hours before you need]
  • 1/3 cup mustard/canola/corn//vegetable olive oil
  • 3/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 3-4 fresh tomatoes [ any variety which is slightly sour, chopped fine to yield 1 cup]
  • 1.5 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground with mortar pestle or in coffee grinder
  • 7 dry red chillies, coarsely ground with mortar pestle or in coffee grinder [adjust to taste]
  • 3 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp brown sugar [ adjust to taste, do not skip]
  • 2 tsp kasuri methi crushed with hand [ dried fenugreek leaves,do not skip, makes all the difference in the taste, available in all indian stores under "Peacock" brand]
  • 2 tsp salt

Method:-
Make the kadhai Sauce:- [ Makes about 2.5- 3 cups] 
  • In a kadhai or any heavy bottomed cooking pot, heat the oil on high heat.Once the oil is smoking, reduce the heat to medium.If using mustard oil, it is important to cook it to smoky point at the start of cooking to do away with the raw smell.
  • Add the chopped onions and cook on medium heat till golden brown in color.
  • Next,add the grated garlic & ginger and saute for about 2 minutes till you smell the aroma.Next add the chopped tomatoes,coarsely ground coriander & red chillies,green chillies,turmeric and cook on medium heat till you see oil separating at the sides of the pot.About 5-8 minutes.
  • At this point add the kasuri methi, garam masala, salt & brown sugar,stir well cook for 5 minutes more on medium heat.
  • Above is the basic kadhai sauce, if you want to store it for later use, let it come to room temperature and refrigerate for using within 3-4 days or freeze up to a month.
  • Making Kadhai Paneer :- For the stir fry, on high heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadhai or a cooking pot.Add the diced bell peppers & onion slices [ if using] to the oil and saute for 3-4 minutes.This saute time depends on how tender you like the veggies. Next, add the paneer and saute for another 1 minute till paneer sarts to become light brown.Be careful while stirring after you have added paneer because it softens quickly & crumbles easily in heat. Add the sauce and mix well.Check the seasoning and let simmer for 2-3 minutes till everything is heated well.
  • Remove from heat,squirt some fresh lime juice & sprinkle chopped cilantro.Serve warm with parathas [ recipe below] & a salad.

Tawa Paratha
Ingredients  [Makes 6-8 parathas]
  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour [atta]
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp water [ Adjust as required, See notes in the method below]
  • 1/4 tsp Nigella/cumin/ carom seeds [ Totally optional but these give a nice flavor, substitute with any spices or finely chopped herbs you like]
  • 2 tbsp ghee [clarified butter]/ canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup flour for dusting
  • Ghee/Canola Oil for skillet cooking
Method:-
  • In a large bowl, add the flour,salt,nigella & carom seeds and oil.Rub well with your palms & fingers to mix properly. Note:-You can do the same thing in food processor with the flour- knead attachment. Pulse 8-10 times to mix everything.
  • Start with 1/4 cup if water whether kneading by hand or food processor.Slowly mix the water in the flour and keep on kneading softly.Note:- Different brands of flour need different quantities of water.Refer package instructions or eyeball the water quantity.Keep on adding water slowly & knead to make a smooth & pliable dough. Once done, cover the dough with a damp cloth or cling film and let rest for 20 minutes.

  • Divide the rested dough into equal portions and roll between your palms to make smooth balls.Let the balls sit covered while you roll them.
  • On medium heat, put a tawa/griddle/cast iron skillet/non stick pan to heat up.
  • While the tawa is heating, flatten out a single ball on a flour-dusted surface. Sprinkle some flour on top of the ball.Using a rolling-pin, roll the ball into a circle 2.5″ in diameter. Brush a little ghee/oil on the rolled out circle.After brushing the ghee, fold into a semi-circle.

  • Brush the ghee on the semi-circle and fold again to form a triangle.Sprinkle the top with more flour and carefully with the help of rolling-pin, roll out until its 1/8″ thick. Note: While you are rolling out, you will need to flip over, dust flour etc and be gentle to keep the shape intact.

  • Spread some ghee/oil on the heated tawa/griddle.Carefully lift the rolled out dough with your hands and place on the tawa.Let cook for 2 minutes on medium heat and then flip over using a spatula.Using a spoon,spread ghee thoroughly on the first side while the second side is cooking.Flip again and repeat brushing ghee on the second side.Cook both sides till you see small brown specks and smell the aroma of escaping steam from the layers of the paratha while cooking.In some cases the paratha will fluff up while cooking..Dont worry it happens :) be careful of the escaping steam though.

  • Once cooked & golden on both sides, remove from pan using a spatula & transfer to cooling rack to cool slightly so that they don’t become soggy while you store them in a box lined with dry cloth or paper sheet.

  • Though these parathas are best enjoyed straight from griddle to plate, store covered until ready to serve.

  • You can enjoy them with a curry, pickle or dollop of butter.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.
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Comments

  1. I learned alot from this interesting post. Excellent tutorial and mouthwatering photos

  2. Tanvi, as always, what a delicious recipe. I don’t think I’ve tried Paneer before, and lately I’ve seen this ingredient a lot and I’m very curious. It’s interesting that you fold the flatbread first, then roll. It’s so much fun to look at how you cook because it’s different from Japanese food! Thanks for your detail post!

  3. you’re paratha looks so pro and expertely done, i’m a huge fan of indian breads and will for sure add this to my arsenal!

  4. OH YEAH! This is brilliant, beautiful pictures, I can taste it just looking at it. :) Im going to whip up a batch on the weekend, thanks for the great step by step, sure makes it easier when you know exactly how it is supposed to look. Yummo! :)

  5. Aww I totally know that feeling! What a great recipe :)

  6. Everything looks delicious! My sister’s in town and she loves Indian food. I’ll have to make this for her!

  7. YUMMMM!! Looks gorgeous. And I’m going to try this paratha….soon :)

  8. Heavenly…so fantastic looking! Thanks for the great detailed instructions too!

  9. Your ingredients are always so gorgeous and fresh looking and your posts clearly and well illustrated. Just beautiful!

  10. I am always a big fan of your pictures. They make my day :) I always have Kadhai Paneer when I go to an Indian resturant. It tastes just amazing but after seeing yours, I bet yours taste is out of this world Tanvi.

    Have a great week ahead.

  11. The flatbread look absolutely amazing girl. and I adore the Kadhai Sauce. I always learn a new Indian dish when I come here and I so greatly appreciate it.

  12. The dhaba sounds a bit magical, a little like stepping back in time, simpler but with good food!
    And your parathas look so good. The step by step pictures are making me hungry.

  13. Beautiful – everything looks absolutely delicious. The flatbreads are to die for…

  14. oh my goodness… i love flatbreads…. these look FABULOUS tanvi!!!

  15. Bookmarked and will be cooked SOON! I love the memories you shared, Tanvi! I got really hungry reading this last night: going along with your family road trips and enjoying your favorite stops! My son and I love Indian food, though he’ll argue that he loves Indian food MORE.

    Thank you for the beautiful instructions. This is something for me and the little boy to do together ;-)

  16. Tanvi, I love paneer, and love the way you prepared it, perfect paired with the parathas…great pictures as always.
    Hope you have a wonderful week ahead :-)

  17. My-Oh-My…This looks simply beautiful Tanvi! I’m a fan of flat-breads and I bet it taste deliciously great with the paneer! Gorgeous step by step pics as always–My mouth is watering now – I want one :)

    Hugs,
    Aldy.

  18. Oh, that is one droolworthy meal! Everything looks perfect and so scrumptious. I could eat that very day. Wonderful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  19. I love dhaba food. Your pictures made my mouth water and your post wants to make me go back to india and attack all dhabas!! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Those parathas look out-of-this-world amazing!

  21. i have a similar madhur jaffrey recipe for the paratha..its a fav of ours.

  22. OMG, this looks amazing!!!! Stunning photos and comprehensive step by step recipes. LOVE LOVE paratha and paneer (although I never successfully made either!) Thank you for sharing

  23. Drroooollling! Oh my! This all looks sooo fabulous!

  24. I love your step-by-step photos–all are gorgeous! This sounds so delicious, and I completely agree with you about eating food that reminds you of certain memories.

  25. Thank you everyone for stopping by! :)

  26. Tanvi,
    What a great recipe and photos! It reminds me of my MIL’s recipe. Miss her cooking so much :)

  27. Your paneer and flatbread look fabulous! What I wouldn’t give for a tandoori oven but it’s probably not in the cards anytime soon. Good to know that your flatbread can be made in a cast iron skillet.

  28. wow I adore Indian meals like this :-)

  29. These look so good! Love the photos too… SO simple and beautiful!
    I made triangle parathas last night with some simple aloo sabji and i simply love them! It’s amazing how just by a couple of added steps our humble roti turns into something so amazing!
    all the talk on dhabas and delicious food is making me very very hungry!

  30. I wanna grab some paratha now and dip in that Kadhai Paneer

  31. I *just* bought a cast iron skillet- how perfect!

  32. Even though I’ve never had this dish before, it looks like the ultimate comfort food to me. That bread…and those beautiful paneer cubes. Oh I couldn’t be happier! (Well…I would be if it were sitting in front of me right now)

  33. drooling! food at dhabas are unforgettable, no frills but super delicious. and look at your and your own 5 star restaurant over here-amazing parathay and karahi. Your husband is one lucky fellow!

    PS- I can barely make a round paratha and look at your triangles-very advanced! ;)

  34. Absolutely love the combo. Triangle parathas were the only parathas we knew growing up, so cherish it all the time :)

  35. The flat bread looks perfect! And I can imagine how tasty it would be with the aromatic paneer – sounds delicious!

  36. Because I come from a place with a large Indian immigrant population I love coming here. Your recipes are always so familiar yet different. This would be comfort food for me.

  37. Aweee..already had my dinner…am still hungry ;)

  38. Scrumptious! i’d love to sit down for a meal if this’s what you serve! The pictures are so colorful and gorgeous — love your grey background and styling too.

  39. I love the look of the paneer and oh those parathas are to die for. My mum used to make those flaky parathas. I miss em. Your post makes me nostalgic :-) I am bookmarking the recipe for paneer to try out! Thnx Tanvi!

  40. loved this great combo..I am otherwise is not not big paneer fan but i love this dish in particular.

  41. Both your paneer and paratha look so yummy — I only wish I were having this for dinner!

  42. Wow this looks amazing. Such a great recipe and photos. Your recipes are always so familiar yet different. This would be comfort food for me.

  43. Bloghoped from pinch of love and am loving ur space….beautiful clicks with yummy recipes…sure to visit often :)

  44. Nishath says:

    It looks yummy….Right now I am going to try it..Thanks

  45. Namagiri says:

    Tanvi,

    May I know which brand cast iron skillet you use?

Trackbacks

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