This Chilli Paneer Dry celebrates some of the most popular Indian spices. The spices I am referring to are ajwain seeds (carom seeds), black peppercorns, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and cloves.
In this preparation, we make a fantastic masala paste with these spices. Paneer pieces are first fried in butter. They are then coated with the freshly ground masala with water. It’s simmered to a thick consistency making it a chilli paneer dry! It goes well with Indian bread like naan, roti, chapati, or paratha.
Paneer, the Indian cottage cheese, is a traditional ingredient in Indian cuisine. Paneer’s mild flavours and fantastic texture makes it an ideal vehicle to highlight some of the fabulous spice blends in the country. We have tons of classic preparations celebrating this wonderful ingredient. Paneer butter masala, shahi paneer, chilli paneer (Indo-Chinese style), kadai paneer, paneer tikka masala, etc. are some of the most famous delicacies.
When we are eating out at an Indian restaurant, we always order one of these dishes. We sometimes cook some of them at home as well! But I have always wanted to try out something that’s not a “regular” paneer dish. I have been experimenting with the ingredients, and this recipe is the result of many trial and errors.
Rooted in a traditional style, this spice masala is the hero of this preparation. We start by frying the spices in butter. The wonderful aromas they release, especially the ajwain (carom) seeds, is the highlight. Into this aromatic spice mix, we add some oil and fry onions with chilli powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder. We have to keep frying till the onions are almost crisp.
The crispy onions and fried spices is a tasty mix in itself. I struggled to resist the temptation to eat it all, and save it for the paneer!
Check out this recipe and give it a try! It’ll take you less than 30 minutes to make this dish from scratch.
Chilli Paneer Dry
- 200 grams paneer cut to small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds carom seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 3 cloves
- 1 teaspoon kashmiri chili powder
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 1 green chilli chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 inch butter
- Cilantro (Coriander leaves) to garnish
- Melt some butter in a pan.
- On a medium flame, fry the ajwain, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and cloves.
- Add some oil, wait for it to be hot and add the finely chopped onions.
- Stir well, and let it cook till the onions turn translucent.
- Add chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt, and green chillies.
- Mix well, and cook till the onions turn almost crispy. Switch off and let it cool.
- Once the fried mixture has cooled down, transfer it to a mixer jar.
- Blitz to a fine paste adding 1/4 cup water.
- Heat some butter in a pan, and fry the paneer pieces on a medium flame.
- Shake the pan to toss the paneer pieces around a get a good coating of butter.
- Fry the paneer pieces for a minute, Empty the contents of the blender to the pan, add 1/2 cup water, and mix well.
- Bring to boil, simmer for a couple of minutes and switch off.
- Garnish with some coriander leaves. Serve hot (that's a must) with some fresh Indian bread (naan, roti, chapati, or paratha).