Paneer 65

Paneer 65 is a classic Indian recipe. There are many reasons as to why the recipe is named as it is. One reason suggests that this recipe used 65 different chilies. Another suggests that there are 65 small cubes of paneer. The recipe has small pieces of fried paneer, with a spicy sauce. The dish is usually done dry(stir-fried with sauce) instead of being submerged in it. This dish is great for big party appetizers and will add another unique recipe to your culinary repertoire. I love this dish for so many reasons. It is spicy, crunchy and extremely addictive. 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • For the Paneer
    • 500 grams paneer, chopped into 1 inch pieces
    • ½ cup flour
    • 5 tbs cornstarch
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 3 cloves grated garlic
    • ½ tb grated ginger
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • ½ – 1 cup water
    • Oil for frying
  • For the sauce:
    • 2 tbs oil
    • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • ½ tb ginger, finely chopped
    • 2 dried chilies
    • 2 thai chilies, finely chopped
    • ½ onion, sliced
    • 2 tbs szechuan chili sauce
    • 1 tb ketchup
    • ½ cup yogurt
    • 1 tsp cornstarch
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Lime and cilantro to garnish

Procedure:

  • For the paneer:
    • In a large bowl, combine the all the dry ingredients and whisk to combine
    • Add enough water to form a loose batter
      • It should be the consistency of a crepe batter
    • Add the paneer cubes and mix to thoroughly coat the paneer in the batter
    • Preheat your vessel for frying to 350 degrees fahrenheit
    • Fry the cubes in batches, making sure to drain the excess batter off before frying
    • Fry for 3-5 minutes or until golden
    • Drain on a cooling rack to prevent the cubes from getting soggy
  • For the sauce:
    • Preheat a large wok set to high heat until almost smoking
    • Add the oil and the sliced onions to the pan
    • Cook for around 30 seconds and add the chilies(dried and fresh), ginger and garlic and continue stir frying until the vegetables are fragrant and cooked
    • Add the sauces and continue stir frying for another minute
    • Mix the yogurt and the cornstarch and add this mixture into the wok
    • Cook this mixture until it thickens and is extremely fragrant
      • Your kitchen should smell amazing at this point
  • Assembly:
    • Add the fried paneer to the sauce along with salt and pepper
    • Mix to combine and serve immediately and garnish with lime and cilantro

Chef’s notes:

  • Make sure you cool the fried paneer on a cooling rack so it stays crispy. I have found the paneer to be noticeably crispier if it is cooled on a rack rather than paper towels
  • If you can’t find extremely fresh paneer, soak the paneer cubes in warm water for un to an hour. This will make the cubes much more moist

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