A shallow-fried paneer with sweet bell peppers and spicy chilies to balance the cheese. Enjoy as an appetizer or a side dish with gravy.
By Nandita Nataraj
If there is one thing that we order every time we eat out, it is a chili paneer. This is one dish that is a favorite with both adults and children alike. A fusion, Indo-chinese dish that can be made dry or with gravy. The dry version can be had as a starter or appetizer. The gravy version however, is more of a side dish. And it goes exceptionally well with fried rice and noodles.
My version of chili paneer tastes just like one that is served in restaurants. I decided to shallow fry the paneer in sesame oil as shallow frying provided the same texture. I also skipped the Ajinomoto. The sesame oil lends a nutty and authentic Chinese flavor to the dish and it made the chili paneer absolutely delectable.
- All purpose flour- 2tbsp
- Corn flour- 2tbsp
- Salt- ½tsp
- Freshly ground black pepper powder- ½tsp
- Paneer- 400gms, (14 ounces) cubed
- Sesame oil or any other oil- 2tsbp+more for shallow frying
- Butter- 1tbsp
- Garlic- 3cloves, chopped fine
- Salt to taste
- Shallots- 6-8, peeled and quartered
- Green chilies- 4-5, chopped fine
- Green bell pepper- 1 med sized, deseeded and cubed
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper powder- ½tsp
- Sugar- ½tsp
- Soya sauce- 1tbsp
- Rice vinegar- 1tsp
- Water- 2tbsp
- Spring onion greens- 1tbsp to garnish
- Mix the plain flour, corn flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add a few tbsps of water to make a thick paste. Dunk the cubed paneer in the batter and let it stand for 30mins.
- Shallow fry the marinated paneer in oil till the paneer is crisp and brown and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil and butter in a separate pan and add the chopped garlic and fry for a min.
- Stir In the chopped shallots, green chilies and bell pepper and fry for 2-3mins.
- Add the salt, pepper, soya sauce and vinegar and fry for a min.
- Add 2 tbsp of water and the fried paneer, mix well and simmer for couple of minutes. Garnish with spring onion greens and serve immediately.
The paneer can be replaced with equal quantity of hard tofu for a vegan version.
If you like your chili paneer to be more gravy like, then add one-third cup of water or stock. And add a paste one tbsp of corn flour mixed with two tbsp of water to thicken the gravy.
Nandita was born, bred and spread in India, but right now lives in Tanzania where her quest for simple and exotic pleasures of food led to the creation of the blog Paaka-Shaale. She believes that food is not just a means to feed a body. But it is also meant to appeal the mind and satiate the soul.