Chilli Paneer

For those of you who know me, will know that this is one of, if not my favourite dish, and one that I have made many times. It is such a good recipe that it got me through my 3 years at university while living out, and in that time, I have refined it to the point where I consider this my signature dish.

While this may seem like a complicated recipe and there are many steps, as you practice and make it several times you will get the hang of it. Within Indian cooking a lot of recipes are not very specific in their instructions and measurements, it is all about the feel and quantity that you have. But with a little help anyone can make this delicious vegetarian item for dinner. For the vegans out there however unfortunately for you this recipe is not for you due to the paneer, and for this dish there really is no alternative.

Ingredients:

  • 500g of Paneer
  • 2 Peppers
  • 1 Fennel
  • 1/2 Stick of Celery
  • Rapeseed Oil
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 2 Cloves
  • 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 50 – 100g of Butter or Coconut Cream
  • Fresh Chillies (depending on the level of heat that you want)
  • Sugar
  • Red Chilli Powder
  • Turmeric
  • Ground Coriander and Cumin Mix
  • Garam Masala
  • Fresh Coriander
  • Lime Juice (to taste if desired)

Method:

  • As usual to start you want to prep the contents, finely slice the fennel into long strips, finely dice the celery, in the meantime have a large pan with rapeseed oil in it at a medium heat warming up with the star anise and cloves in it.
  • Once the oil is hot and bubbles are forming on the star anise and cloves, put in the fennel and fry until soft, a few minutes later put in the celery, we do this as this as the finely diced celery will take much less time to soften, and we do not want it to burn.
  • Then add in the chopped tomatoes, and the spices, a generous amount of salt and pepper, 2 tsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of chopped chillies, 1 – 2 tbsp of red chilli powder, 2 tbsp of ground coriander and cumin, 1 tbsp of garam masala, 2 tsp of turmeric, the butter or coconut cream and mix well. On a low simmer let this thicken and for the oil to rise.
  • While the sauce is thickening prepare the paneer into large slabs and the peppers into large chunks if you have not already. Also chop up some coriander for extra freshness.
  • Once the sauce has thickened, add in the paneer, peppers and coriander and add in some water, just enough that the paneer and peppers begin to float and mix this together.
  • Let this then cook until the sauce is thick, and the paneer pieces are golden/orange in colour.
  • Serve and enjoy with your favourite type of bread whether that is chapattis or naan bread, the choice is yours!

There we have my signature dish, while it may not be the most traditional way to make this dish, it’s my way and I think it is delicious and that is the beauty of food that I have found, the freedom to make exactly what you like! I look forward to hearing how you get on with this recipe.

See you soon!

Sattvic Comforts

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