Paneer 65by Leena Kohli (@leenakohli)
Paneer 65 is a popular Indian dish believed to have originated in Chennai. It is a vegetarian take on the famous Chicken 65, which is a spicy and crispy appetiser that is loved by many. Paneer 65 is made by marinating cubes of paneer (Indian cottage cheese) in a mixture of spices, yogurt, and cornflour, then deep-frying until they are crispy and golden brown. The dish is usually served with green chutney or tomato ketchup. Many people enjoy paneer 65 as a starter or snack, but it can also be served as a main course with rice or naan.
- 400gPaneer (Indian CottageCheese) (cubed)
- 1tspsalt (as per taste)
- 2 1/2tbspKashmiri Chilli Powder
- 1/2tspGaram Masala
- 1/2tbspRed Chilli Flakes
- 1tbspCoriander Powder
- 1tspCumin Powder
- 1/3cupCoriander leaves (chopped)
- 1/3cupCurry leaves (chopped)
- 1tbspGinger Garlic paste
- 3tbspLemon Juice
- 1/3cupRice Flour
- 3sprigsCurry leaves
- 2Dry Red Chillies
- 1tbspGarlic (chopped/crushed)
- 1/2cupOnion (chopped)
- 2Green Chillies (chopped)
- Oil for frying
Cut the paneer into cubes and place them in a mixing bowl.
Add salt, Kashmiri chilli powder, garam masala, red chilli flakes, coriander powder, cumin powder, chopped coriander leaves, and chopped curry leaves. Toss the paneer with these spices to ensure an even coating.
Next, add rice flour and cornflour to the bowl, and once again toss the paneer cubes to coat them evenly.
In a separate bowl, combine curd, ginger garlic, and lemon juice.
Pour this curd mixture into the bowl of paneer, mixing well to coat the paneer cubes evenly. Let the mixture rest for at least 30 minutes.
Heat oil for deep frying in a pan or kadai over medium-high heat for deep-frying. Test by dropping a small piece of marinade into the oil; if it sizzles and rises to the top, the oil is ready.
Drop each coated paneer cube and gently drop them into the hot oil, ensuring they are spaced apart to prevent sticking. Fry the paneer cubes in batches. Reserve any leftover marinade for later use.
Allow the paneer to fry for a few minutes. Then using a slotted spoon, flip the paneer cubes to fry the other side until golden brown and crispy, avoid excessive browning. Place the fried paneer on paper towels to blot any excess oil.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the curry leaves, dry red chillies, chopped garlic. Stir for few seconds.
Add the chopped onion, and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
Add chopped green chillies, salt, and sugar to the tempering mixture. Stir well.
Now, add the reserved marinade (if any) to the tempering mixture and cook it for a few minutes. Add a little water, if needed, to maintain the consistency of the sauce.
Add the fried paneer cubes to the tempering mixture and toss them until they are well coated.
Garnish with coriander leaves, squeeze some lemon juice and serve hot. Enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
Make sure the oil is hot but not smoking when you start frying.
Fry the paneer cubes in batches. Overcrowding can reduce the oil temperature and make the paneer less crispy.
Adjust the spice level according to your preference.
This recipe yields 4-6 servings, depending on the portion size.
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