Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chili Paneer

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Once again, Nur has decided to grace us with her awesome cooking skills. Enjoy!

I love Indian food, so I always I tell myself that one of these days I should try making Indian dishes from scratch. I ended up making chili paneer because I once watched my counterpart's mom make it last year. It's a stir fry with of paneer, chili, and bell peppers. She made this delicious recipe look so easy to make!

I don't have a copy of her recipe, but I was able to make up a recipe based on my online research. (Just as a warning, I didn't use exact recipe measurements because I'm so horribly lazy at measuring.) Now onward we go!

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Some versions of this recipe call out for a batter in order to fry paneer. However, my counterpart's mom simply fried the paneer in veggie oil. I did the same exact thing, which saved me the trouble of making any fancy batter.

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After the paneer was lightly browned, I set them on a paper towel to drain.

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I chopped some garlic, green jalapeno, red onions, yellow bell pepper, and red bell pepper. When I was searching for this recipe, the word capsicum kept popping up. I thought that capsicum was some kind of calcium and gypsum powder. Turns out that capsicum is just another name for bell pepper!

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After heating some oil at high heat, I then sauteed cumin seeds, garlic, garlic & ginger paste. The ginger and garlic combo smelled so good!

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After. I added jalapenos, onions, coriander powder, chilli garlic sauce, and some water to marry all the flavors. When the onions turned translucent, I added bell peppers, red chili powder, a dash of soy sauce, salt, and lemon juice. Wait! What is soy sauce doing in an indian dish?! Initially, I didn't know either, but many online recipes called out for it for this particular dish. Later I realized that the soy sauce adds depth of flavor which compliments the sweetness of the bell peppers.

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When the bell peppers started to soften, I stirred in the fried paneer and chopped cilantro.

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And that's it! Serve warm with basmati rice. Doh! I was so caught in cooking chilli paneer that I forgot to cook rice! Luckily, I usually have a stash of Trader Joe's garlic naan in the freezer, so I heated one up to eat with the chili paneer.

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This recipe is definitely a work in progress, but I am excited to tweak it more in the future!

1 package paneer, cubed (Nanak brand, available at specialty grocery stores or local indian markets)
5-6 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste (available in a jar at local indian market)
1-2 large jalapeno chilli peppers, chopped (can be substituted with serrano chilli)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp chilli garlic sauce (I used the vietnamese sauce found at local oriental markets)
2 medium bell peppers in any colors
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
salt, to taste
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 cup cilantro, chopped

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