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.

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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”]
  • 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
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 flatbreads & a salad.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.

64 thoughts on “Kadhai Paneer & Triangle Paratha (Flatbread)

  1. 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!

  2. Anna Johnston – Canberra – “I am a Fun Loving, Adventure Seeking, Enthusiastic, Super Positive Aussie Gal & creator of The Hospitality Guru! I’m a Chef, a Teacher, Trainer, Functions, Wedding & Event Architect; General Manager & all round Nice Girl who loves nothing more than great food paired with wonderful wines & beers.”
    Anna Johnston on said:

    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! 🙂

  3. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles – San Francisco Bay Area – Kelly Mulcair is an evidence based holistic nutritionist living in Northern California
    Kelly on said:

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

  4. Faith (An Edible Mosaic) – I’m Faith and I blog at www.AnEdibleMosaic.com where I share my recipe collection of international favorites and updated American classics, with an emphasis on seasonal dishes. I focus on real foods that sustain body and mind, bring people together, and make a house a home. Come check out my mosaic of recipes.
    Faith on said:

    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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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 😉

  8. 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 🙂

  9. aldentegourmet – I'm a whole foods maker + refined sugar-free mum that loves nourishing food, road trips, summer scarves + photography.
    Aldy on said:

    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 🙂


  10. Shumaila – Shifting to a mining town post marriage has by default made me a housewife (or as people nowadays like to say a "homemaker"). This blog is about the experiments I take upon everyday to keep myself busy. With a passion for all things sweet, mostly I talk about baking, but as a newly wed, this blog is also about my journey from a novice housewife, who previously never worked around the house to one who runs the reins now!
    Shumaila on said:

    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!

  11. bilbaobab – Juliana Loh is the Founder of JLoh Communications Ltd offering a suite of specialised services in Marketing Strategy and Social Media, with a focus on China and the Asia Pacific region. www.julianaloh.com Connect on TW: @bilbaobab IG:@chickenscrawlings
    baobabs on said:

    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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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)

  16. 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! 😉

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

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  24. Tanvi,

    May I know which brand cast iron skillet you use?

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