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A couple of weeks ago the ladies in our apartment decided to have a Chinese potluck. They asked me to make Chilly Paneer. Although I have been relishing it at various parties I had never really tried my hand at it. I just knew that this dish is dry and can be eaten as a starter.

I was confused about how to maintain that perfect texture of paneer. Those of you who have experimented with paneer will be aware of how difficult it is to cook paneer cubes well till inside as well as have them firm on the outside.

After interviewing a whole lot of people I found the trick. Its called ‘half-fry’. Here you need to shallow fry paneer fingers till they are exactly half done and pull them out.

Paneer’s behavior :

1) Deep frying paneer makes it go hard and brown.

2) Grilling paneer directly on  tawa / hot plate will make it stick to the bottom

3) Cooking paneer directly without frying makes it brittle

If you follow the technique of shallow-fry and half-fry you can be sure to get cubes that will not break till you want them too, yet they will be soft enough to relish. Try it out when you have guests over next. You can eat Chilly Paneer with noodles/ spaghetti, as a starter or even with rotis!

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup paneer chopped into fingers
  • 2 capsicums, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
  • 1 slit green chilly
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 2 teaspoons maida / all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chilly sauce
  • Pinch of Black pepper powder
  • Maggie tastemaker cubes (optional)
  • Spring onions (to garnish)
  • Oil to fry

Procedure :

  1. Dust paneer fingers in a mix of cornflour, maida, pinch of salt and maggie tastemaker cubes. Let it rest for 1 hr.
  2. Heat oil and shallow fry paneer. Ensure it doesnt become brown, half fry till its firm and take it out.
  3. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a wok. Add slit green chillies, finely chopped garlic, onions and saute.
  4. Now add capsicum slices and cook till it turns tender.
  5. Add the half-fried paneer fingers to the mixture. Also add black pepper powder, chilly sauce, soya sauce to this mix and cook for 5 more minutes on medium heat.
  6. Turn off the heat and garnish with spring onions.

Please note :

  1. If you are using a tastemaker like maggie it will mostly contain salt in it. Hence, please add very little salt (if required) to the paneer while marinating.
  2. You can start cooking the capsicums in a wok. As and when the paneer is fried you can directly take it out into the wok and continue cooking. Parallel processing will save you some time.
  3. Dont let the Garlic go brown while frying, else the taste will change.