Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paneer Chatpata (Hot and Sour Paneer)

This was one of those moments where my mind and my hands went over the spice rack with total abandon and out came this dish, which I personally prefer to have as an appetizer along with some good single malt. Of course we ate it along with chapatis and dal! But you know what I am talking about :-)

We had a block of paneer (cottage cheese sitting in the refrigerator) and I just picked it up for a Sunday quick lunch fix. I also made another favorite of mine, eggplant masala that I shall post shortly.

Wife loved it, what else do I need? How can I describe the taste? It is spicy, tangy and crispy, more like an Indian and Asian fusion. Hope you enjoy it.

400 gms Nanak Paneer
3 tbsp + 1 tsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp chick pea flour
1/2 tsp Shan Tandoor Chicken powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chili powder 30 gms Chinese Hot Chilis diced into really small pieces
130 gms green bell pepper diced into really small pieces
5 tbsp oil
4 tsp Asian chili sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar

1) Cut the paneer into 1/2 inch size pieces. Clean the hot chilis and the green pepper and dice them into really small pieces. Set all aside. Please have all the ingredients ready since there are a lot of them, and you don't want to miss any of them.

2) In a small mixing bowl, mix the flours, red chili powder and tandoori masala.

3) In a non stick pan, pour 3 tbsp oil. As it gets hot add the hot chilis and green pepper and cook on medium heat for a few minutes till the water from the pepper evaporates. Add the paneer pieces now and mix well.

4) Roast the paneer for a while till the sides starting getting slightly golden. At this point add the flour/chili/tandoori masala mix and salt (please add salt by taste. Although I have measured the salt, remember Shan tandoori masala has some salt in it as well). Mix everything well, making sure you coat the paneer pieces with the flour and tandoori masala mix.

5) Add 2 tbsp oil. Lower the flame to medium low, moving everything around so as to not burn anything. After the flour has cooked well, and the chilis/pepper and paneer are nice roasted with golden sides, drizzle around the Asian chili sauce, soy sauce and vinegar. 

6) Mix everything well for a few minutes till all the water from the sauces just disappears. Turn off the flame and transfer the contents to a serving dish. You are done.

7) Important: Ensure that you stop the cooking process just in time. If you cook it till its very dry, then the moisture from the paneer is lost and it doesn't end up tasting good.

8) Serve with single malt whiskey, or with rice and dal and just top it on a fresh green salad. Yum!