Chilli Paneer

26 Mar

We are a set of 4 desis in almost adjacent houses, and we meet on various occassions, at the drop of a hat – if there is none, we create one. To cut a long story short, we have forged great friendships over the years and I am really grateful for having such great friends/neighbors. Couple of weeks ago, we decided to meet for a farewell dinner for my friend’s mom who was visiting them from Chennai. It was my turn to host and I decided on the cuisine and menu too – it was to be Chinese, or rather Desi-chinese – every true-blooded Desi that I know loves Desi-chinese and am yet to find one who doesn’t. This was to be a potluck pary and Gobi Manchurian, Chilli Paneer, Hakka Noodles and Veg. Fried Rice were on the menu. I chose to make Chilli Paneer.

This dish, a deadly combination of paneer cooked in desi-chinese style, is something that I have always liked and wanted to make. This party provided the perfect opportunity to try it out. Tarla Dalal has a great recipe for chilli paneer and I also found Sig’s Chilli Chicken recipe quite interesting. I kind of married the two and made my own recipe – don’t we all do that?

Chilli Paneer

Take about 3 cups of 1/2″ strips of paneer and marinate it in a batter of cornflour (1/2 cup) and whole wheat flour (1/2 cup), 1 tbsp soya sauce, pinch of baking powder, 1 tsp of chilli powder, salt and water in a mixing bowl. Let this marinate for about 1/2 hour. Instead of deep frying, which is what both the original recipes suggested, I shallow-fried the paneer. I did this in 2 batches and each batch used up about 1.5 tbsp of vegetable oil. In terms of oil consumption, I don’t know if this is better than the deep-frying option, as I did not compare the two procedures, but I felt good about not deep-frying and even better there was no compromise in the taste due to this modification So, let’s proceed on to shallow-fry the paneer in a non-stick skillet (very important!) till it is about golden brown on all sides. Set this aside in a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. There will be some batter remaining in the mixing bowl – DO NOT throw this away.

Next, slice about 2 onions and 3 capsicums. Also, mince (or grate) 1″ Ginger, 2 Green chillies and 2-3 cloves of Garlic. In a wok or a non-stick skillet, add about 2 tbsp of oil, saute the 3 Gs and onion, till the onion is almost translucent. Add the capsicums now and cook till it is crunchy but has a bite. Now dilute the marinate batter with a lil bit of water so that it is in a pouring consistency. Add this batter to the wok. If you don’t have any remaining batter, prepare some using 1 tbsp of corn flour and 1 tbsp of whole wheat flour, add 1/2 tsp of soya sauce and 1/2 tsp of chilli powder and mix it with water. Add the sauteed paneer pieces to the wok.

Cook this on high and stirring occasionally and carefully so that the paneer pieces are not broken, till all the liquid is absorbed. This can be served hot as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to a desi-chinese spread.


Posted by on March 26, 2008 in Cooking, Desi Chinese


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12 responses to “Chilli Paneer

  1. Laksh

    March 26, 2008 at 4:05 AM

    wowo!! you are making my mouth water. don’t think I will have the enthu to make this. will count on you making this for me when you visit me 🙂

  2. Apar

    March 26, 2008 at 4:46 AM

    Mouthwatering like Laksh said 🙂 Btw, in many recipes where we have to shallow fry or deep fry paneer, I have just coated it with a light layer of oil, grilled and used it. Uses way less oil than either of the frying methods.

    True – but with the marinate, this becomes a little tricky. Hence tried to sautee, will see if I can grill it next time. -A-kay

  3. Anu

    March 26, 2008 at 8:28 AM

    I was lucky enough to try it!!…this was a good one A-Kay (sound like a hip-hop artist). Everything was just right….

  4. Madhuram

    March 26, 2008 at 10:19 AM

    Hi A-kay,

    Thanks for visiting my site. This is my first time here also. Gosh! you have a very good vocabulary and style of writing. I have a lot to learn from all you guys.

    Thanks for the recipe. My husband loves chinese food and hates paneer, so I’m gonna try this with extra firm tofu. He’s a big fan of tofu, hope he will like this dish.

    Thanks Madhuram for stopping by. I don’t eat eggs too and hence, I am always on the lookout for eggless recipes, so loved your site. You can also try this recipe with Cauliflower. Tofu sounds yummy too, let me know how that turns out – we are tofu-lovers too. -A-kay

  5. sreelu

    March 26, 2008 at 11:39 AM

    A-kay, Indo chineese is my favorite too, chilli paneer looks great.Have you tried desi chinese at Tempations in MV comes very close to India taste

    Yes – I have and love the food there. When we meet next time, we should plan to go there, perhaps. – A-kay

  6. Jayashree

    March 26, 2008 at 2:37 PM

    Like all true blue desis, I too love indo-chinese fusion food….your chilli paneer looks perfect.

  7. Roop Rai

    March 26, 2008 at 10:46 PM

    came here through Laksh’s blog, but woo hoo, this recipe is impressive. I am bookmarking it. I hve paneer in fridge but how many different kinds can you cook paneer? Done the karahi paneer, palak paneer, matar paneer, paneer/veg biryani, paneer pakore … thanks for a brilliant new idea! :)) but like laksh said, enthu seems to be missing.
    note to self: get a big screen lcd and full on speakers when buying a house!

    yes, that might help force me into the kitchen. 😛

    great blog.

    You missed out paneer paratha – another great way to use paneer 🙂 Thanks for stopping buy. Regarding enthu, I alternate between a crest and trough – every enthusiastic phase of cooking is followed by an absolute resistance to enter the kitchen. -A-kay

  8. Anu

    March 27, 2008 at 11:29 AM


    thanks for stopping by my blog….good luck with the root canal next month…I am still in a lot of pain….noticed that you live in Santa Clara, so do I ):

  9. Madhuram

    April 8, 2008 at 1:18 PM

    Hi Akay, I tried chilli paneer yesterday and it came out very well. I tried it with paneer itself, instead of tofu, because my mother in law likes paneer very much. Since she is leaving for India this friday ore paneer mayam dhaan veetula.
    Thanks for the recipe.

    Glad that you tried and liked it. Paneer mazhai-ya veetla, was your husband ok with that? (I remember you mentioning that he is not a big paneer fan). – A-kay

  10. Madhuram

    April 9, 2008 at 6:58 AM

    Yes, he had very little, that too just beacause it had the oriental flavor. But he wanted seconds for the Bausndi.

  11. Madhuram

    April 9, 2008 at 7:00 AM

    Have you tried making paneer at home using 2% or 1% milk? I have to give it a try. My husband is very diet conscious, he avoids paneer because of the fat content.

    I haven’t tried with 2% but tried with 1% with much less success. I think you need atleast full-fat milk to make good paneer. -A-kay

  12. Madhuram

    April 28, 2008 at 11:06 PM

    Hi Akay,

    I recently came across this

    Arundathi mentions that she made paneer with non fat milk. Hope it will work out for us too.

    That is awesome Madhuram. Let me try making paneer with low-fat milk then – that will be really nice. Thanks for sharing! – A-kay


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