Kadai Tofu/Kadhai Tofu/ Tofu and Green bell pepper cooked in Spicy Tomato Gravy

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Don’t expect to encounter this dish if you planning to visit Indian restaurant.  Originally this dish is made with Paneer, Indian Cottage Cheese; which you will encounter in the restaurants.    We grew up eating lot of veggies, both from garden and vendors, so paneer was a very rare commodity in my house. I don’t think my mother ever cooked paneer. But nowadays everybody is using paneer as it is easily available in the market to.
My hubby rarely asks me to cook anything with paneer.  Whenever he tells me to prepare some dishes with paneer (which rarely happens) I make homemade paneer, as I found the store bought ones to be very hard. I was planning to make Korean noodles dish Japchae for long time, so when we last went to Hong Kong market on the family tour; I told my hubby that I needed only a few items from the store. So he took a shopping basket instead of cart. I was like a kid who is at the toy store, putting lots of stuff in the basket thinking I will make rice, this I will make sauce, this I will make dumpling etc. My princess joined in the fun; she also started putting the stuff into shopping bag.  The basket turned to very heavy and ended up getting a shopping cart in the end.  I also bought a pack of tofu, and my hubby already given a warning, you can buy everything, but make sure that you make something with it and not to end I throw anything in garbage saying that it already past expiry date.
With tofu, my plan was to put it in noodle, after looking some recipes in You Tube.  This afternoon I got a temptation to make this kadai tofu.   There are lot of variation in recipes, and I also looked up websites of  Indian cooking expert’s and  found out that everyone is doing whatever according to their own version. I read that it is called kadai paneer because, firstly it made and served in Kadai ( a small wok), secondly it is made with  crushed red chili ,whole coriander seeds and kasturi methi leaves ( dried fenugreek leaves) , tomato and onion is cooked until it fall apart  and also spiced up with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves. Bell pepper is cooked in such a way that it should cook fully but at the same time retain its crunch. Paneer should be coated with gravy in the end.  I cooked it without adding any water. But in the restaurant versions they add cream.  Initially I was planning to add heavy cream but when I finished making the curry, it tasted delicious even without adding cream so skipped that part.
This kadai tofu, is delicious, you can try this chapathi or roti. Here goes my recipe.
First gather  ingredients
Dry roast coriander seeds and red chili  for 3 minutes and ground them into powder and set aside.
Heat oil in  a kadai/wok and add  spices,  then onion and green chilies and ginger-garlic paste.
 Add tomato and  when cooked and become soft and mushy add turmeric powder,  ground   coarse red chili- coriander powder, cumin powder, salt, crushed  kasutri methi leaves and garam masala  and cook.
Then add chopped capsicum/green bell pepper and cook  until it is crunchy by not soft. Then add  tofu and  slightly coat with spicy garvy. Finally garnish with coriander leaves.
Enjoy with Chapathi or roti.


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Kadai Tofu/Kadhai Tofu/ Tofu and Green bell pepper cooked in Spicy Tomato Gravy

Swathi  @ Zesty South Indian Kitchen





  1. In a small skillet, dry roast red chili and whole coriander seeds for about 3 minutes and using a coffee grinder, grind it into a coarse powder and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in thick bottom pan or kadai and add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf.
  3.  After one minute add chopped onion and green chili and fry for about 4 minutes.
  4.  To this add ginger- garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes.
  5.  Add chopped tomato to the above mixture and cook for about 15 minutes of until it become soft , mushy and cooked well.
  6.  To the tomato-onion mixture add, turmeric powder, coarsely ground red chili-coriander seed powder, cumin powder, salt. crushed kasturi methi leaves( dried fenugreek leaves) and garam masala and cook for about 3 minutes.
  7.  To the above mixture add chopped bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes or until it cooked well but retain it crunch.
  8.  Add cubed tofu and gently mix everything so that spicy gravy get coated to tofu pieces.
  9.  Finally add chopped coriander leaves and switch off the flame.
  10. Enjoy with roti/ chapathi.


  1. Instead of Tofu, try with Paneer if you want Kadai paneer.

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  1. says

    As a kid I had paneer a lot because my parents did not cook meat that often. I like the way you have used tofu in place of paneer. I replace it, too.

  2. says

    hi swathi first time to your space. thanks for visiting my space.

    the first photo is beautifully lit. also dry roasting the red chili & coriander and then powdering them takes the kadai preparation to another level.

  3. says

    hi swathi- we use a lot of tofu in our cooking- both as dishes, soups and even desserts. somehow yours have different ingredients-i am tempted to try out cos of the spice varieties you use. have a nice day

  4. says

    Hi Swathi, thanks a bunch for welcoming me back and for the sweet comment dear. I have never tried tofu yet… ur step by step pics is tempting me to try it…lovely pics.

  5. says

    hey swathi i saw your pic on foodgawker & i was so pleased. it is your first photo too. congrats girl. i know how it feels when your photographs are accepted. you surely can do really good photography because i can see that in your photographs.