If there is one thing that we order every time we eat out, it is the 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.
A couple of years back, I used to make chili paneer during every weekend. But after Purvi's birth, I somehow stopped making it. Maybe, it was because we were so used to eating the lip smacking chili paneer in our favorite restaurant. Who would want to toil in front of the stove when your favorite dish is just a phone call away. But off late, I have become wary of chili paneer from the restaurant. I am not saying that it doesn't taste good anymore. It tastes just as great. However, it leaves us feeling bloated and uncomfortably heavy. I am not sure if it was the saturated fat that is used or the ajinomoto. Both of which are extremely harmful. As a mother, I couldn't watch Purvi eat her favorite chili Paneer which was filled with unhealthy stuff. That was when I decided to start making the chili Paneer at home again.
My version of chili paneer tastes just like one that is served in restaurants, but it was way healthier. 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.
I served this chili paneer to Purvi and her best friend and both girls absolutely loved it. It was heart warming to see them gulp down the dish with exclamations of YUM!!! in-between.
Chili Paneer recipe:
Preparation time: 20min+marination time
Cooking time: 20min
All purpose flour- 2tbsp
Corn flour- 2tbsp
Freshly ground black pepper powder- 1/2tsp
Paneer- 400gms, cubed
Sesame oil or any other oil- 2tsbp+more for shallow frying
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- 1/2tsp
Soya sauce- 1tbsp
Rice vinegar- 1tsp
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 sesame oil can be replaced with any other oil. But sesame oil lends a unique nutty flavor to the dish.
- 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.