243. dry chilli paneer

March 22, 2013mayurisjikoni
Blog post

Not like Open House

Open House, an Indian restaurant in Nairobi makes the best chilli paneer. It is so famous that the chilli paneer has landed up on the dining tables all the way in UK. Quite a few restaurants in India get the chilli paneer just right, perfect, delicious etc. To get decent chilli paneer in Mombasa is like looking for a needle in a haystack. A few days ago, we had chilli paneer as a starter during our Lions meeting. It was bland and without any appealing factor to it. Most of us ate it because we were hungry.My friend requested that I try out the recipe at home and blog it. So I have tried out the recipe at home and realized that to make it tasty, you just need to use a lot of the fresh ingredients…. loads of chillis, ginger, garlic and you get a tasty starter. Still, mine is nothing near to the one at Open House. Some day will actually try and get the secret recipe from my sister in law who is the co owner of Open House. As the name suggests, it has to be slightly chilli. The only ingredient missing from the photo is spring onions. I just couldn’t find any at the market or the greengrocers.

chilli paneer with dark soy sauce

2 to 3 servings

1½ cups(250 g) of paneer cubes or sticks (cottage cheese)
1 medium green capsicum or green pepper, cut into chunks or thick slices (approx. 1 cup)
1 medium onion. peeled and cut into chunks or thick slices (approx. ½ cup)
4 to 6 green chillis, sliced
6 to 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 inch ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp coarse pepper powder
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp cornflour
4 tbsps water
2 tbsp chilli sauce
2 tbsp tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 tsp good vinegar (cider, rice etc)
2 tbsps oil
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp salt

For the batter :
2 tbsp plain flour
1½ tbsp cornflour
a generous pinch of soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
½ tsp salt
4 tbsp water

oil for frying

for garnishing
¼ cup chopped spring onion

  1. Heat the oil for frying in a wok, frying pan or a karai.
  2. Mix the ingredients for the batter. Make sure there are no flour lumps.
  3. When the oil is hot,(a small piece of paneer put in the oil, should begin to sizzle immediately) add half the paneer into the batter.
  4. Coat each paneer cube or stick with the batter and drop it into the hot oil. Put as many sticks or cubes  as you can but do not overcrowd the pan or wok.
  5. Fry till it is light brown in colour.
  6. Remove the paneer into a colander.
  7. Repeat with the remaining paneer.
  8. Keep the fried paneer on the side. If any are stuck together, just separate them.
  9. Take a cup or small bowl and mix the soy sauce, chilli sauce,tomato sauce, salt, pepper, vinegar, sugar, cornflour and water. Keep it ready on the side.
  10. Take a wide pan and heat the 2 tbsp of oil. When it becomes hot, add the sesame oil.
  11. Add capsicum, onion, garlic, green chillis and ginger and stir fry over high heat for a minute or so.
  12. Add the fried paneer sticks or cubes and mix well.
  13. Add the sauce mixture and mix well.
  14. Garnish with chopped spring onion and serve immediately.
Tips :
  • I will use dark soy sauce next time as the light one didn’t add the required colour to the dish.
  • Adjust the amount of chillis according to your taste and on how hot the chillis are.
  • For a more saucy chilli paneer, double the ingredients of the sauce mixture. (refer to step 9)
  • The paneer can be fried ahead and kept till required. 
  • Prepare the batter when required. If it rests, the batter becomes gluteny and results in chewy fried paneer.
  • After adding the sauce, if the mixture gets too thick, add a tbsp or 2 of water.
  • Use red, orange or yellow pepper if you like.
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