Chilli paneer

Chilli paneer is an indo-chinese vegetarian dish and is a popular starter in India. Paneer is coated with corn flour, fried in oil and then tossed with sauce. You can prepare chilli paneer in dry form or gravy form. In this I have used tomato puree and tomato sauce. In some recipes I have used chilli sauce and vinegar, which I will be sharing with you soon. This recipe is a semi-dry form of chilli paneer, which is spicy, sour and tasty. You can serve it as a starter or with fried rice or noodles. If you look at my previous recipes, I have made chilli chicken and other indo-chinese recipes with the same ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Paneer (cottage cheese) – 275 gms
  • Corn flour – 3 tbsp or more (for coating)
  • Sauce

  • Oil – 2 1/2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Onion (chopped) – 1
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 3 tsp
  • Green chilli – 3
  • Sugar -1 tsp
  • Chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Crushed chilli powder – 1 tsp to 2 tsp
  • Tomato puri – 2 tbsp
  • Water - 1/2 cup or 100 ml
  • Tomato sauce – 4 tbsp
  • Soya sauce - 1 tbsp
  • Water – 1/2 cup again
  • Salt as required
  • Capsicum (square cut) – 1
  • Onion (square cut) – 1

Method

  • Chop the onions and keep it aside.
  • Cut onion and capsicum into square chunks.
  • Cut paneer into pieces, whatever size you like (rectangle or square cut).
  • Coat paneer pieces with corn flour and keep it aside. It should be dry.
  • Dust the excess corn flour from the paneer pieces and fry it in oil until light golden in colour.
  • It gets cooked soon. You can deep fry or shallow fry with a few tbsp of oil.
  • After frying, the paneer becomes a little crispy, but soft from inside.
  • After frying, put this in a plate and keep it aside.
  • Sauce

  • Take a pan or any wider vessel, heat oil, add cumin seeds. When it splutters add onions and fry until soft and light brown in colour.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste and sugar, stir for 30 secs. Add all the spices like chilli powder, crushed chilli powder, tomato puree and stir quickly so that spices are not burnt. Mix well.
  • Add water and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and spices are cooked well.
  • Add tomato sauce, soya sauce and green chillies. Mix well and put more water.
  • Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until you get a sauce consistency.
  • It should not be thick or thin. Add chopped onions and capsicum and salt. Stir well, cook for few minutes.
  • The capsicum and onions should be cooked but not very soft.
  • When the consistency of the sauce is to your liking, simmer and add paneer pieces. Mix well.
  • When the paneer pieces are blended well with the sauce, you can switch it off after 5 to 10 mins.
  • You can see that it starts leaving oil on top.
  • In between check it by tasting and see whether if anything has to be added in the sauce.
  • The sauce will be reddish in colour and it is tasty also.
  • Serve with naan, fried rice or roti (chapathi).

Notes

  • You can avoid corn flour if you want to. You can add the paneer directly to the sauce.
  • Whenever I cook paneer, I put the paneer pieces in warm water for sometime and then place it on the tissue paper to absorb all the water. Only after this I add to the curry or any sauce. This makes the paneer soft.
  • Most people add vinegar in chilli paneer, but its optional.
  • You can reduce chillies and other ingredients according to your taste.
  • If it is dry you can add water according to the consistency you need for the sauce.
  • Always add paneer to the sauce at last. Otherwise it will become soft. So prepare the sauce, keep it aside and then while serving add panner and serve.

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