Chilli Paneer – fiery hot succulent pieces of Paneer with a crunchy coating.
For me until a couple of years ago Manchurian , be it Gobi or Baby Corn , epitomised Chinese cuisine. I packed my bags and came to UK for a Master Degree and landed in a class room packed with all but English students.Yes there were Indians, Africans, Chinese, Arabs but not a single English student in my class.To be honest I was slightly disappointed and was saddened. I didn’t lament for too long and was quickly making friends with everyone. One of those miserable winter afternoon, I was sitting in the lecture theatre with a group of Chinese friends.I quickly used that opportunity to boast my knowledge of Chinese cuisine.I confidently popped the question “So how do you guys make Manchurian at home?”. My Chinese friend’s look said everything – he didn’t understand a word I said. I am not the kind who gives up , so I wrote down on a piece of paper – “Manchurian”. All of his brain cells failed to recognise it.He was also not the one to give up and quickly entered “MANCHURIAN” into his electronic translator and not really to my surprise(By then I had almost realised that I didn’t know a thing about Chinese cuisine) , even the electronic circuit bailed out .I had emptied the place before he declared “Manchurian is not Chinese”. With the aid of Google the ignorant me found out Manchurian , the staple served in Indian Chinese restaurants along with the many other regulars on the Menu card that are considered Chinese , by me at least, are believed to have originated in the streets of Calcutta. The use of Chinese seasonings and method of cooking makes it Chinese enough or more appropriately Indo Chinese.
This introduction was just to take you through a very popular Indo Chinese dish with Paneer – chilli Paneer.
- 250 gm of Paneer cut into bit sized pieces
- 1 cup Onion diced
- ½ cup Spring onion finely chopped
- 4-5 Green Chillies slit length ways
- 1 tbsp finely chopped Garlic
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
- 1 tsp Vinegar
- 2 tsp soya sauce
- A pinch of Sugar
- Salt to taste
- Oil for Shallow frying
- ½ cup All Purpose flour
- ½ cup Corn flour
- 1 tsp Soya Sauce
- ½ tsp Ginger – Garlic paste
- 1 tsp Pepper Powder
- 1 tsp Chilli powder
- 1 Egg
- Salt to taste
Make a thick marinade with all the ingredients listed under “For Marinade” . Place the Paneer pieces in the marinade, mix well and leave it aside for about half an hour.
Heat oil in a shallow pan . Fry the Paneer pieces (make sure the pan is not over crowded) until golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
For the sauce , heat oil (Use 2 tsp of oil from the left over oil used for shallow frying) in a wok. Add the diced onion along with the chopped garlic and saute on high flame for about 1 minute. Add the chopped spring onion whites and saute for further 1 minute. Mix vinegar with the red chilli powder to make a paste. Add the red chilli paste, soy sauce, sugar and combine. Add the fried Paneer pieces and mix carefully making sure Paneer is coated well with the sauce. Do a taste test at this stage and add salt if necessary.Cook on high for another 3-4 minutes and turn off the stove.Garnish with spring onion greens and serve hot. This is a great starter to get any party going.