Chilly Paneer is an all time favourite paneer starter dish. The dry version of the dish makes it a great snack to munch. The same dish can be converted into a gravy that can be a perfect accompaniment for Indian-chinese dishes like Fried Rice, Hakka Noodles, Schezwan rice / noodles.
Due to recent awareness, many people avoid having these dishes at the restaurant. The indo-Chinese version of Chinese is tangy and spicy. The flavours are prominent and most dishes substitute for a full meal. But the dishes slightly lost their value after it was found that restaurants and even local Chinese street food stalls used a copious quantities of MSG. MSG stands for Monosodium Glutamate which is a non-essential amino acid which is said to increase the meaty, savoury flavour. There was widespread news that MSG was harmful to health and came with side effects. Which is why, packaged fast food now have a mandatory ‘No added MSG’ written on them.
When you make Chilli Paneer at home, you can easily avoid adding this ingredient. Moreover, with some decent hacks, you can get the exact same taste without using MSG.
When making a Chinese dish, be sure to read the labels of the sauces you use too. Naturally brewed organic soya sauce is devoid of MSG but others may have it. Also check for added food colouring, especially if you plan to use a ready made flavour for Shezwan styles.
Other tips to make the dish taste great is by making the paneer super soft so that it melts in your mouth. While home made paneer cubes work best to give a good flavour, you can also use frozen paneer after it becomes soft at room temperature.
- Paneer 250 grams
- Onion 2
- Green Capsicum 1
- Green chillies 4
- Garlic 5 thick pods
- Ginger-Garlic paste 1 teaspoon
- Cornflour 2 tablespoon
- Green chilli sauce 1 tablespoon
- Red chilli sauce 1 tablespoon
- Vinegar 1 teaspoon
- Ajinomoto ¼ teaspoon (optional)
- White pepper powder 1 teaspoon
- Sugar ½ teaspoon
- Water 1 cup + 2 tablespoon
- Spring onion 1 teaspoon
- Oil as needed
Slice the onions, cut the paneer in long rectangular fingers and cube the green capsicum.
Slit the green chillies and crush the garlic pods roughly.
Mix together 1 tablespoon cornflour and little salt.
Apply 1 teaspoon Ginger-Garlic paste to the paneer fingers and let marinate for 10 minutes.
Heat some oil for deep frying the paneer fingers.Roll the paneer fingers in the cornflour so that they get coated all over.
Fry them in the hot oil till colour changes to golden brown.
Remove on kitchen paper towels so that excess oil is removed.
Now, heat a nonstick pan and add 1 tablespoon oil.
Add the crushed garlic. Fry for a few seconds till it changes to light golden brown in colour.
Toss in the sliced onions.Keep the flame low and let it cook till soft.
Add the green chillies and cubed capsicum. Stir fry them on full flame for 1 minute only.
The capsicum should remain crunchy, hence don't cook these too much.
Add the paneer fingers and season with little salt, white pepper powder and ajinomoto (optional)
Add the red chilli sauce, vinegar, green chilli sauce and the sugar.
Add 1 cup water and let it all simmer till half the water is evaporated.
For thick gravy
In a bowl,mix 1 tablespoon cornflour with 2 tablespoon water and whisk it well.
Add this paste in a steady stream and keep on stirring the paneer mixture gently.
The gravy consistency will thicken up.
Shut off the flame and garnish with green spring onion and serve hot.