Chinese Starters are always a hit among kids and adults in any party. I love anything in Chinese from the Starters to the Main course if prepared in the right way. While my most preferred Chinese starters would be Babycorn Manchurian and Gobi Manchurian, but Chilli Paneer is a great appetizer to serve as finger food in parties compared to the other two. Big Chunks of Paneer coated in a batter and deep fried and sautéed with other peppers and sauces to make it extra tasty. Chilli paneer tastes best when it is served piping hot and also when prepared extra spicy, but when serving it for kids you can reduce the spice level by avoiding the chillies in the recipe.
Today I am posting a Dry version of Chilli Paneer which is served as an appetizer, one can prepare a gravy version of chili paneer as an accompaniment with Chinese fried rice or Chinese Hakka Noodles. I have mentioned a few variations in the notes section , you can go though it and adapt the changes according to your wish.
I usually do not prefer to deep fry the paneer pieces and hence I always adapt a shallow fried version where you can fry them on a tawa with little oil or you can add paneer cubes directly without any frying. It tastes nice either ways, but the deep fried version definitely tastes better.Also for blog I wanted to post the original version so I followed the deep fried version.
I have stopped eating Indo-Chinese outside mostly because of the usage of Ajinamoto(tasting salt) in the Indo-Chinese dishes. If I have to eat in a Chinese restaurant I always request for not using the ajinamoto in our dishes. I enjoy eating Chinese at home as I have the full control of the ingredients that go into the recipe. Usually one believes that one cannot prepare restaurant style Chinese at home, but if one knows the flavors well one can still recreate the Restaurant style Chinese dishes at home. One such ingredient is Celery which brings out the flavour in Chinese dishes just like in the restaurants. As it is difficult to have it all the time in our pantry, one can use either dried celery or the thick stems of coriander which works beautifully too in bringing out the flavors. Try this Restaurant style Chilli Paneer recipe and I bet that you will never think of using Ajinamoto in Chinese dishes again and still enjoy the best flavors in it.
If you are interested check out other Indo-Chinese recipes in my blog.
Chilli Paneer Dry | Dry Chili Paneer Recipe:
Prep time:20 mins | Cooking time: 25 mins | Total time:45 mins
Cuisine: Indo-Chinese | Category: Starters/Appetizers
200 gms Soft fresh Paneer(Cottage Cheese)
2 medium Capsicum or colored Bell peppers
1 large Onion
for the batter:
1/4 cup All purpose flour
2 tbsp. Corn flour
1/4 cup Water, approx
1/4 tsp Pepper powder
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste, optional
Salt to taste
2 tbsp All purpose flour, to dust
Oil, to deep fry
4-5 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4" Ginger, finely chopped
2-3 Green(or red) chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp Celery(or thick Coriander stems), finely chopped
1 tbsp Vinegar
1 tbsp Soya sauce
2-3 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
1 tbsp Red Chili Sauce or 1-2 tsp Red Chili paste
1/4 tsp freshly ground Pepper
Salt to taste
2-3 tbsp Oil
- Remove the stem and seeds and the white internal layer of capsicum (or bell peppers) and cut into 1" cubes and keep aside.
- Cut a large onion into large 1" cubes and separate into layers.
- Cut paneer into 1" squared and keep it aside. Roll the paneer pieces in dry flour so that they will become dry.
- Take a bowl and add corn flour,all purpose four, ginger-garlic paste(if adding),pepper powder and salt and add 1/4 cup of water and mix it nicely to form a thick coating batter, beat the batter nicely with out any lumps. Do not make this batter thin as it will not hold the coating. So add the water in stages to get a thick coating consistency.
- Heat oil in a deep curved pan for deep frying.
- Dip the paneer cubes in the maida batter and deep fry until they turn light golden brown in color. Do not clutter the pan with more pieces.You can even deep fry for but long but I love the paneer pieces really soft so I fry until light golden in color. Drain the paneer pieces on to a kitchen napkin.
- Heat oil in a deep wok and add finely chopped ginger, garlic,celery and green chillies and fry until light brown in color.
- Add diced capsicum(or bell pepper) pieces and fry on high flame for 1-2 mins until the capsicum pieces slightly wilt. Add diced and separated onions and fry on high fame for a minute. Do not let them fry for long and loose the crunchiness of vegetables.
- Reduce the flame or remove the wok from heat and add vinegar, soya sauce, tomato ketchup, red chili sauce(or paste), salt and pepper. Remember that all the sauces contain some salt, so do not add more salt. Return to heat and mix all the sauces nicely on low flame for a minute.
- Add the fried paneer pieces and increase the flame and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until they become piping hot.
Serve it hot. You can even thread a capsicum, onion and paneer pieces on tooth pick and serve as appetizer in parties.
- The batter consistency is very crucial, if you make it very thin it will not coat the paneer pieces. The batter should not be very thick else it will make it like pakora. The batter should be of right consistency to coat the paneer pieces.
- You can add a pinch of cooking soda to the batter if you want to make it very crispy.
- If you like you can add finely chopped sping onion greens at the end.
- I did not add Ajinamoto (Chinese salt) in the recipe for health reasons. If you want you can 1/4 tsp of Ajinamoto which gives a restaurant style taste to any Chinese dish.
- The addition of Celery adds a very nice restaurant style taste to Chinese recipes. You can even add dry celery and in case you do not have it add finely chopped thick coriander stems. They add lots of flavour and make your Chinese dish extremely tasty just like in the restaurants.
- You can skip deep frying the paneer pieces and either you shallow fry it on tawa with less oil or you can add paneer pieces directly to make chili paneer.
- For Vegan version, paneer can be replaced with Tofu in the recipe.
- This is the dry version of chili paneer. If you like it a gravy kind you can 1.5 cups of water at the end and add a mixture of 1 tbsp of corn flour diluted in 1/4 cup of water and stir it nicely and let it boil until it thickens.Also season it accordingly.It would be a great combination with Fried rice or Noodles.