Paneer Chilly Recipe

Indo-Chinese Paneer recipe, with soft paneer is fried in a spicy batter and the fried paneer is tossed in hot and sweet sauce with crunchy veggies

You have to agree that the best of paneer chilly is enjoyed in the smallest of restaurants or eateries. It’s hard to replicate that taste, isn’t it.

As much as we (women) would love to go out and explore things in public spaces, there is something that pulls us back. And I wish to speak about that today. It’ll be obvious to many, but it wasn’t very evident to me until I pondered on the subject and read about it.

Let me begin with giving a background of the thought I’m going to share. When the lockdown was imposed in the country, my conversation with my parents made me realize that it was mostly men who were venturing outside their houses even during the lockdown and the police had to resort to force to contain them. When the lockdown was being gradually relaxed, again they were mostly men who couldn’t sit at home even for limited hours. And it got me thinking what was it that got men to be obstinate about loitering.

The answer to that was simple- a habit that was nurtured very carefully throughout their lives. Within no time it was clear to me that women seldom do that. While men hanging out at paanwalas, chai tapris, corners of the road is a familiar sight, women do not.

You will regularly find men lounging at a park bench, riding on a bike aimlessly, wandering the streets late in the night, but it’s a rarity to find women do that. And to think about it, being idle and taking strolls in the open is so necessary for thinking or for rejuvenating.

We don’t have to be taught this by anyone but every girl figures out sooner than later that she must walk a straight line between home and school, home and office, not venture out alone in the night, have all the reservations in place while travelling solo, cover her breasts with her dupatta or files in public when wearing a deep neck top.

All this because public spaces are not safe for us. But instead of making public spaces safe for us, we are taught to not use these spaces. 

When this thought was clear, I spoke to few friends and looked up the internet for literature on this. I was recommended by a friend to read this book called Why Loiter written as a culmination of a research project by Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan and Shilpa Ranade. This theory has been carefully dissected in the book and they argue how women have a right to loiter. Needless to say, it made for a fantastic read and I urge you to give it a read if this subject interest you.

I’ll leave you with a quote from that book:

Imagine our streets full of women talking, strolling, laughing and gesticulating. Imagine parks and beaches dotted with young women sitting alone. Imagine street corners taken over by older women reflecting on the state of the world. Imagine maidans occupied by women workers planning their next strike for a raise in minimum wages…. If one can imagine all of this, one can imagine a radically altered city.

 Recipe Notes:

  1. You can prepare the recipe to step 5 and continue from step 6 before serving.

Moving on to the recipe:

Course: Vegetarian Appetizer

Cuisine: Indian Chinese

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: 10-12 cutlets

Ingredients:

For the paneer balls/ cubes:

  • Paneer- 250 gms (cut in medium size pieces)- preferably homemade
  • Maida- 2 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp rice flour
  • Cornflour- 2tbsp
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ egg (if you eat eggs or it can be substituted with a pinch of baking soda)
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp red/green chilli sauce
  • ½ tbsp soya sauce

Base of the paneer chilly:

  • Garlic- 1.5 tbsp, chopped
  • 1 Green chilli, sliced (adjust according to your taste)
  • 2 small Capsicum, diced in 1” pieces
  • 5 onions, quartered and layers separated
  • 1 spring onion, chopped (separate the green and white portion- we use the white for making the base and green for garnishing)
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 1 tbsp dhaniya leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

For the sauce mixture:

  • 2 to 3 tsp Green chilli sauce (adjust according to your taste)
  • 1 tsp Red chilli sauce (adjust according to your taste)
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • ¼ tsp freshly crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar/ sweetener
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • Salt
  • Some water for mixing (around ¼ cup or less)

 Instructions:

Preparation

  1. Mix together all the ingredients mentioned under paneer balls/ cubes. Add water gradually to make a batter of thick coating consistency. If using egg, don’t add water. Add more egg white to get the desired consistency. If you are using fresh paneer, make small balls as you’d make for koftas. Dip paneer pieces in the batter and deep fry in hot oil until edges are golden.
  2. Mix all the ingredients mentioned under sauce mixture and keep aside. Add little water to mix everything

Cooking

3. Heat oil (I use sesame oil), add chopped garlic, green chilli, red chilli, stir fry briefly

4. Add, white portion of spring onions, capsicum and onions, stir fry for a couple of minutes, till slightly tender. Don’t cover the pan or wok. We need vegetables to stay crisp.

5. Add salt, pepper and sauce mixture. Mix well.

6. Add fried paneer. Toss well to coat the paneer pieces with sauces.

7. Garnish with sesame seeds, dhaniya and spring onion.

Thanks for reading !!