Have you ever noticed that most cultures have some amazing version of fried cheese? This Indian-Chinese hybrid version is one of the most glorious things you could ever imagine because it’s not just fried cheese, but fried cheese coated with one of the tastiest and most savory sauces ever concocted.
This vibrant dish is vegetarian, and is often served as an appetizer because of the richness of the paneer. However, chilli paneer is also pretty terrific as an entree, especially if you are a cheese lover. This dish would be a lovely addition to a dinner party. It’s beautiful, fragrant, and so tasty. Besides, who doesn’t like fried cheese?
1 c. paneer, cut into small cubes
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. flour
¼-½ c. water
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. red chili sauce
2 Tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
½ c. water
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 onion, diced
¾ c. bell pepper (any color), diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
One bunch of green onions, sliced
1 serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Mix cornstarch and flour in a bowl (from the paneer ingredient list), along with the salt and pepper. Add water until a batter is formed. It should be of medium thickness and easy to stir.
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Test to see if the temperature is high enough by dropping a little batter in to see if it fries up quickly. If not, wait for the oil to heat up a bit more.
Coat the cubed paneer in the batter and drop it into the oil, making sure to keep the pieces separate. Fry until the paneer is golden brown on all sides. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
There should be about 1 Tbsp. oil left in the skillet at this point, but if there’s more than that discard the excess; or if there’s less, add a little more. Add the onions, green onions, bell pepper, and serrano to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
While the veggies are cooking, mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and the cornstarch and water in a separate bowl. Add the sauce and the cornstarch/water mixture to the veggies and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened a bit.
Add the paneer into the skillet with the veggies, coat with sauce, heat through, and serve. Enjoy hot!