Chilli Paneer

Meera Sodha's take on a classic Indian street food dish combines the full-bodied flavour of paneer cheese with the spice of green chilli and the tang of spring onions. A perfect Indian vegetarian main course, or side dish to a meat curry.

Introduction

Every now and then, when we were growing up, Mum would find me and my sister wherever we were hiding in the house, whip us into the car and take us to Leicester on a sari shopping expedition. Our only consolation (aside from secretly unravelling beautifully folded saris in the shops) was a dish of freshly prepared chilli paneer from one of the nearby food stalls or cafés afterwards.

This dish is as popular with kids as it is with grandparents. Here’s Mum’s recipe for this spectacular street food.

Serves 4
Easy

Ingredients

1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
400g paneer
rapeseed oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 fresh green chilli, very finely sliced
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp sugar
4 spring onions, finely sliced into rings
lemon wedges, to serve

Instructions

Throw the cumin seeds into a pestle and mortar and roughly grind them to a coarse powder. Next
cut the paneer into 2cm cubes. Pour a thin coating of oil (2mm) into a large frying pan and bring it
to a high heat. Fry the paneer in batches, turning the pieces until golden brown on each side, and
transfer them to a paper-towelled dish. Watch out, as the paneer may spit; if so, half cover the pan
with a lid.


Put 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan, followed by the garlic, green chilli, cumin, black pepper and
salt. Sauté for around 3 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato purée and
sugar and stir, then put the paneer back into the pan along with a splash of water. Cover the pan
and simmer for a further 5 minutes.


Take the lid off the pan, add the spring onions and simmer until there is no water left. Serve fresh
and hot with a squeeze of lemon.

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