Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kadhai Paneer


So these were my Mothers Day Gifts. Mission accomplished. But the "cheapo" that I am, I plan to trade half of the Pier 1 gift card for a HomeGoods one, that will get me a lot more with the same amount.

A sweet pea plant, hand made cards, hand made frames and...

I know, I know its the sentiment that counts and not the gift and I do apply that principle for all others except the parent and D. You see if someone close like my family is giving me an expensive present, I would rather see the money well spent. With others I am polite.

But sometimes the gift giving especially for Kid's birthdays goes a bit out of hand, both ways when you are the giver or the receiver. While giving the budget seems to constantly increase with the years and with Big Sis S's class of 15 kids, having a birthday party almost every month sure puts a strain on the purse strings. The receiving scene is not too happy either with lots of gifts which the kiddo exactly doesn't need, given that she is not the kind who plays extensively with toys.

Really what do you do with a gift especially kid's toys(which just grows and grows) that you don't think your kid will play with at all ?

I could be like my Mom who wrapped up the nth La Opala coffee mugs that I got for my wedding and gifted it to neighbor 2's niece's sister-in-law on her marriage. The relations were far flung and the gift was sure to submerge in a deluge of more such coffee cups.

Or I could be like this friend who presented us with a pretty gift with words as to why she thought this would be perfect for us. Later when we took out the gift from the box, tucked in its warmth was a card blessing a certain bride and groom on their marriage.Given that neither us nor the friend were recent new brides, I can only say the gift had a long lineage.

Truth be told I have done that at times but with a close network of friends it is a dangerous thing to do and so the gifts keep piling up in the basement. With the kid's toys I don't want to do it because I feel people do spend time and money and some thought buying them so you can't just give them away.
Seriously tell me what do you do ? Do you donate, recycle gifts, do what ?


Since S has declared her love for paneer, we get a block for her almost every other week. We ate paneer in moderation before, maybe once in two weeks and that was it. Now with the deluge of paneer I thought of trying a Kadhai Paneer. I am not too fond of bell pepper with chicken or fish and Kadhai paneer is not exactly my favorite item on the menu. But this might be a good way to get those anti-oxidant loaded bell peppers into Big Sis S I thought.

So Kadhai Paneer it was and I followed the recipe from Fun'n'Food this time with certain changes to my taste. It is a very simple recipe with little time needed and simple ingredients. It tasted pretty good and looked pretty too.


Kadhai Paneer

Prep: Cut almost 12 oz of Paneer in small cubes. There were about 2 cups of paneer cubes.

The Nanak brand of Paneer I usually buy is pretty soft by my standard and I don't fry them. If your paneer is hard sitting in the refrigerator microwave for a few seconds to make it soft or if your paneer is the tough variety, fry lightly and dunk in salted warm water

Chop 1 medium red onion in big chunks and also de-seed & chop 1 medium Bell pepper in big chunks

Start Cooking

In a Kadhai or Frying Pan heat Oil

Flavor the oil with 1 clove of garlic minced

When you get the flavor of garlic add the onion and saute till translucent. While frying the onion add little sugar about 1/4 tsp

Add the bell pepper and saute. Cover and saute till capsicum is soft

Add 1 tsp of ginger paste and then 2 tsp of garlic paste. With a sprinkle of water saute for a minute or half

Add little turmeric, 1/2 tsp of Cumin powder, 1 tsp of Red Chilli powder and 1/4-1/2 tsp of Garam masala powder

Fry the masala again with sprinkle of water for 2-3 minute or till the masala has coated the onions and pepper nicely

Add 1 cup of tomato puree and 1 & 1/2 tsp of Kasoori methi. Add salt to taste. You may need to add little water(I added 1/2 cup) depending on if you want gravy or not. Note: I made the puree with canned tomatoes and so mine wasn't super thick kind, you can use canned or fresh tomato puree

Add the paneer cubes and simmer at medium heat till the gravy thickens and the paneer and bell pepper is cooked. Check to see if the seasonings are correct and adjust accordingly

To enhance the taste add 1/2 tsp of ghee and mix well before taking of the heat

Trivia: Green capsicum is the least mature type and has a fresh ‘raw’ flavour. Red capsicum is basically a matured or ripened green capsicum and is distinctively sweeter. Yellow and orange capsicums are similar in taste to red capsicum, although not quite as sweet. All of them are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A


  1. Such an agony with so many gifts. I do a combination of donating (duplicates), re-gifting(to far flung friends), returning (if gift receipts are provided). Sometimes with close friends, I tell them truthfully that I have stuff thats brand new that we wont ever use and they are welcome to have it. When giving, gift cards are the best but I find them restrictive at times.
    Why is giving cash so tactless in the U.S? In India it was such an acceptable norm.

  2. Gift cards are good but when it is a kiddie b'day party and the daughter is the primary invitee who gives the gift, a gift card doesn't seem appropriate, does it ?
    With others, gift cards at times takes away the sentiment of gift giving and doesn't impart the warmth.

    Very confusing situation

  3. I hear you - I think the return gifts are even worse - I mean status obsessed Delhi parents often give return gifts which are more expensive than the gift we have given - AND they dont interest my daughter in the least!

    I definitely recycle - since I have friend's kids in other cities there isnt much chance of a goof up, so thats a relief...

  4. Hmmm.. I donate my old toys. Keep a few new ones for the Christmas toy for tots.. if they come with a gift receipt & the toy is not to be used, return it..& yes i have recycled a few.. which works out better for me than open them & have them mess up my home of turn the attic into a junkyard. With DD1 these days, most of her friends ask what she wants, so its easy..either gift card, or books or something she will need/use.
    i have started giving more gift cards as gift of general stores like Target or Mall certificates.. save me time, saves them trouble..

    I am also not too fond of panner, but make this when i have guests. my kids love paneer too. I make it at home in bulk & freeze them tho they do not look as pretty & clean cut.

  5. Sandeepa, I agree, with DD we have grown out of that since she asks her friends what they want and if it is her birthday most of her friends ask her which is a big relief.

    DD2 we are in the same boat. I have thought a million times to request a no gift but the kids (DD and DD2) look forward to that eagerly so we are kind of stuck.

    In my opinion gift cards are the best, they will be put to the best use, as opposed to buying a gift which is of no use.

    I am not font of Kadai panner but the kids love it so I cook it more or less the same way.

  6. Hi Sandeepa,
    The gift's u've got are so cute :)

    It's an interesting read..recycling or donating gifts is a debatable topic! it'll run parallel ..both have their pros and cons. Donating is a better option I feel... coz it has lesser risk involved, recycling if noticed can be quite an embarassment :)My Amma too believes in I feel very embarassed by this,her funda is simple if we don't have the need for it,why not pass it on as a gift. I used to be like aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...AMMA! am out of here, do what pleases u :)

    Gifting cash is also a head ache theses brings back a lot of luggage and headache especially with relatives :) gift card is a very sensible thing to give according to me, there's always an option of choice for the person we gift it to, hum bhi khush...vo bhi the long run nothing to be worried about :)

    Love the gorgeous looking kadhai paneer. It's a capsicum flavour dominating dish.The paneer too gets a brush of strong capsicum flavour, I love it completely. S hates capsicum and I just love it!!:)opposites attract ;)

  7. I usually donate toys, but recycling never did here :)
    Sometimes, the toy is only played just for few min, and my son never touched again, I keep in my luggage for my next India trip!
    Gift card is only appropriate after certain age :)

  8. Hmm I love the combo of bell pepper and paneer :)

  9. Lovely Gifts!! My Son got me a beautiful flower pot.
    Awesome looking kadhai paneer.
    Most of the gifts My son gets on his b'days are not apt for him. So I try to use them for regifting;)

  10. Kadai paneer is looking so good .. First time here and loved ur space...wonderful blog.

  11. Perfectly cubed paneers and the gravy is tempting!!!

  12. you won't believe how long this dish has been running in my head. i have to make it soon!

  13. There was actually a card for somebody else in your mother's gift?! I agree .. dangerous. I don't like paneer and bell pepper too ... but then amar barite bor bole je praniti ache taar jonne banatei hoye. :-)

  14. I love, love Home Goods too! Love their stuff and especially the fact that the merchandise changes so often. Perfect for someone like me who keeps changing stuff around the house!
    Oh, the woes with gifts! Haven't experienced that witl Malvika yet but I'm sure once she starts school, there will be more such woes.

  15. Forgot to mention the dish. Love kadai paneer and your version looks great, San!

  16. Interesting read, this used to happen every year on Diwali, what with a gift and mithai box going to all neighbours and family and then getting mithai boxes with someone else's tag underneath:)
    All I can say is that I'm glad that we don't have to do that anymore:)

    Kadhai paneer looks nice.
    My son loves Paneer too,just wish he felt the same way about tofu

  17. i am a blog hopper and one day i stumbled upon here to find myself mesmerized by galaxy of delicacies. ur husband is one lucky man I tell you. your recipes are worth trying. later.

  18. Oh wow beautiful gifts....Kadhai panner looks spicy and yum...

  19. I recycle those mug sort of gifts - you get them for weddings and housewarmings. I recycle clothes gifts too. Sometimes, it's hard, though - you think it's easy to give away clothes that you don't like to someone else but it's hard to palm off something you don't like on to somebody you like :-)

  20. We have a policy in th family. Unless its an adorable/useful gift we try to give it to people who would really relish it and use it and we conciously don't recycle to known people. For example I give them to my maid or a person who runs a charity institute who will really relish and use the gift. Kadhai paneer is in my list to try and this rings a reminder bell now!

  21. Lovel recipe..I love paneer..but unfortunately the husband hates it :( So whenever guests are at home..I make it in bulk and and eat the leftover for lunch dinner and breakfast. :)
    Back in Kolkata, during Bijoya Dashami or Diwali,we recycled sweets to neighbours..but of course we always used plates ;)

  22. Thanks Everyone I see this is a global problem :) Liked the idea of regifting to charity, just hope they don't have too many like my basement situation.

    Yeah, so I guess situation was like this "Someone was given a wedding gift with the card" --> recycled it to my friend who never opened the gift --> she then recycled it on to my Mom

    The card was within the actual box which contained the tray, you know how we don't open the final box anymore if we think it is not worth it. So no one had seen the card with all that warm blessing until my hapless Mom

  23. sweetie, sentiments do count but we r all humans and I can totally empathise with ur feeling of wanting to get few gifts and being pampered once in a while. glad u had lovely mother's day with little girls :)

  24. recycle if its a duplicate of something we have or is a decent toy/book but my kids are already too old for it.

  25. it really is looking great far as the gifts are concerned like your mom my mom also repacked anf regifted most of my wedding gifts. I mostly shared my birthday presents with my friends and cousins and now i like to donate them to some orphanage.

  26. Sandeepa,
    kadai paneer amar O bhalo lage khete..dekhe khob lobh lagche..ratri E brishti porchilo ..aamara (fil,mil and my daughter) Khichuri khe-chi ..eyita dekhe jibhe jol asche..
    hugs and smiles

  27. Recycling of gifts? never heard of..i would probably use the safer option ie donating them..kadai paneer looks deliciouyl inviting :)

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  33. Great Site. Was added to mybookmarks. Greetings From USA.

  34. Thank you. Loved your recipe, and everyone in my family all was worth it :) I tweaked this recipe a little. Initially I added dried garlic in the oil with whole jeera and garam masala, and then cut the garlic in halh. Khub bhalo hoyeche. Thanks again.

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  37. Sandeepa, it took me 3 years to psot a comment on this recipe (height of being a late bloomer!) I love this recipe and been cooking this since an year. I posted it on my blog today. Please have a look.

  38. Hey what a nice blog, really enjoyed reading it, ahappy new year to you.

  39. I agree its the sentiment that counts and not the gift, nice blog.

  40. wow won't believe how long this dish has been running in my head. I just have to make it soon!

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  43. This is what i was looking for long time..Thanks a lot..

  44. Wow nice dish, i love paneer kadhai... Thanks so much for sharing. I certainly appreciate the effort! keep up the good work!

  45. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  46. very nice dish, it's a favorite for birthday celebrations and also provide beautiful birthday wishes for the special day..

  47. omg i love karahi paneer..... my favorite dish...

  48. it my favorite dish for my birthday wishes celebrations


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