No-fry Chili Paneer
Get ready for the mouth-watering fusion of the spicy Indian and heavenly Chinese cuisines – the delectable Chili Paneer!
Dive straight into this perfect main course, combining soft paneer with bold flavors.
What is Chili Paneer Exactly?
Chili Paneer fuses the spicy warmth of Indian cuisine with the vibrant flavors of Chinese cuisine.
It typically consists of paneer cubes, which are a kind of non-melting cheese common in South Asian cuisine, cooked in a sauce infused with various seasonings and vegetables.
Starting with paneer, it’s often coated with a flavorful batter and then fried till it’s crisp. The paneer is then tossed in a medley of aromatic sauces and sautéd with vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, ginger, and garlic.
Today, we are going to cook a no-fry version of this popular dish.
Green and red chilies can be added, according to personal preferences for heat. To achieve the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, and tangy, ingredients like soy sauce, red chili sauce, and tomato ketchup are commonly used.
The beauty of Chili Paneer lies not only in its bold flavors but its versatility; it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone appetizer or coupled with staples like rice or noodles for a main course which is my preference.
The variations on the dish are nearly endless, as the intensity and exact flavor profile can be easily adjusted to suit individual tastes and dietary needs.
The result is a vibrant, mouth-watering delicacy that leaves a lasting impression on the palette.
Ingredients at a Glance
Unleash the gourmand within you by whipping up sensational Chili Paneer right at your home. Unravel the secret behind this cross-cultural delicacy that brings the zest of India and the charm of Chinese culinary arts into your kitchen.
Let’s get started by preparing the list of ingredients you will need:
- Paneer: Savor the richness of about 1/2 pound (250 gms) of paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes. Tofu can serve as an effective vegan substitute.
- Onion: One large purple onion, cut into cubes, provides a savory backdrop.
- Bell Peppers: A dash of color and crunch comes with bell peppers. Use one each of red, green, and yellow, cut into 2cm cubes.
- Green Chilies: Offer heat to your dish with 7 to 8 green chilies. Slit them lengthwise. Red chilies can be an alternative. Adjust according to your spice tolerance.
- Garlic: For an aromatic note, add 10 to 12 large finely chopped garlic cloves.
- Ginger: Incorporate warmth with a 1-inch knob of ginger, finely chopped or grated.
- Sesame Oil: The soul of this dish lies in its oil. Use 4 tablespoons of sesame oil or any other neutral oil. Shy away from mustard or coconut oil for this recipe.
- Soy Sauce: Enhance umami flavors with 2 tablespoons of a good quality, naturally brewed soy sauce.
- Red Chili Sauce: Add some heat with 2 tablespoons of Chinese red chili sauce. Do resist the temptation to substitute with hot sauce.
- Ketchup: Weaving in the characteristic sweetness to our Indian Chili Paneer is approximately 4 tablespoons of tomato ketchup.
- Sugar: Add a counterpoint to spice with 1 tablespoon of regular granulated sugar. If avoiding sugar, honey or monk fruit serves as an excellent alternative.
- Red Chili Powder: Boost the vibrant color of your dish with ½ teaspoon of red chili powder.
- Salt: Given that many of our key ingredients carry inherent salt, adding salt should be done after a taste test towards the end. If required, add up to 1/4 teaspoon or to suit your taste.
- Water: Bind all the flavors together with ⅓ cup of water for the sauce.
How to Make Chili Paneer
Follow this simple recipe to create a masterpiece in your kitchen.
- Warm up your wok or a deep, spacious pan, pouring in your preferred oil. Heat it until you notice a gleaming shimmer on the surface. Add a trio of aromatic elements – chopped ginger, garlic, and green chilies into this sizzling mix. Sauté for a couple of minutes, until you no longer catch the raw essence of both ginger and garlic.
Proceed by introducing your tricolor bell peppers – the radiant red, the grassy green, and the sunny yellow to the pan. Maintain a high heat and allow them to mingle in the pan for about two minutes — take care to avoid overcooking, preserving the crisp texture of the peppers.
Pour in the soy sauce, red chili sauce, and tomato ketchup, blending everything together seamlessly.
Advance to the next step by incorporating chili powder and sugar, sautéing the mixture over a high flame for roughly 30 seconds.
Time to introduce the star attraction – the paneer cubes. Stir them in, ensuring the sauces evenly coat each piece. Toss in the cubed onions and combine everything. Continue sautéing for an additional 2 minutes on high heat. Pause to evaluate the dish’s seasoning, adding salt to taste, if necessary.
For those seeking a dry Chili Paneer, there’s no need to introduce water. But, in the quest for a luscious gravy, incorporate around ⅓ cup of water to the mixture.
Blend in all the components, allowing them to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat. Serve piping hot with rice rice or noodles and, if desired, garnish with a sprinkling of chopped spring onions.
- Substitute paneer with tofu for a vegan version of this recipe.
- You can pan fry the paneer beforehand or coat it with cornflour and deep fry it.
- In the seasoning stage, you can vary the proportions of salt and sugar and sauces to your taste.
- Look for Chinese red chili sauce on Amazon. You can also add Chinese green chili sauce to this recipe.