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Most weekday evenings are spent rummaging the fridge and kitchen shelves for a quick and tasty snack. On days when biscuits and chivda just don’t cut it, it is time for a super tasty paneer snack that is easy to make. What makes this amazing is that Paneer 65 can be a snack, an appetizer or starter.
Panner or cottage cheese is quite easy to make at home. Most Indian households boil regular milk and then curdle it using an agent like lime juice or vinegar. The process separates the milk solids from the water which is then hung in a muslin cloth to fully drain. This paneer is then kneaded thoroughly into a dough. It can then be cut into cubes and stored in the freezer to use when you want. If you don’t want to go through this process, ready-made cubed paneer is easily available from brands like Amul from their frozen foods section.
- 200 grams Paneer
- 60 grams Curd (5 to 7 heaped tablespoons)
- 1 tbsp Besan
- 1 tbsp Corn Flour
- 2 tbsp Rice Flour
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 ½ tsp Ginger-Garlic-Green Chilli Paste
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- Salt to taste
- a few drops Orange Food Colour
- Oil as needed
For the gravy
- 2 medium-sized Onions
- 8-10 Fresh Curry Leaves
- 4 Whole Red Chillies
- 1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 2 tbsp Water
Prepare the marinade for the paneer by taking rice flour, besan, corn flour, and curd in a deep bowl.
Add Ginger-Garlic- green chilli paste. Put seasonings like salt, red chilli powder, and sugar.
Add the lemon juice and edible orange color. Add more curd if the batter is too thick.
Whisk it well. and add the paneer cubes and mix gently so that they are coated evenly.
Keep in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Deep fry the paneer cubes till well fried.
To make the gravy
Slice the onions thinly.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.
When they crackle, add the curry leaves, red chill ( broken into pieces ) and sliced onions.
Saute till golden brown in color and add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a couple more minutes.
Season with salt, red chilli powder, and garam masala powder.
In the bowl in which the paneer had been marinated, add 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well and add to the onion mixture.
Check and adjust seasonings if need be. Put in the fried paneer cubes and let simmer for a minute.
Shut off the flame and garnish with green coriander leaves and serve hot.
Why is this recipe called Paneer 65?
In this totally yummy in the tummy recipe, we use Paneer as the base. But do you know why it has ‘65’ in the title? The interesting story goes that a hotelier cooked up a dish – Chicken 65 – to denote that 65 Chillies were use in the dish making for every kilo of Chicken it super spicy. Only people with a ‘macho’ attitude could eat it. Some chefs believe that the first version of the dish was cooked with 65 ingredients making it a tough one to make.
Though our dish is called Paneer 65, we neither have 65 chillies or 65 ingredients. We just have a name that makes the dish sound interesting. In fact, Paneer 65 is among the favourites when you have kids in the house as it is entirely up to you on how many chillies you use in the dish. You can also reduce the quantity of ginger and garlic to reduce the spiciness of the dish. The element of yogurt in coating batter makes it smooth and gives it a perfect flavour.
In addition to using onions, you can also use capsicum to make the dish interesting and give it a better taste. Because the dish is fried, it is best served hot. But you have guests coming in later then you can keep the dish ready and use an air fryer to re-heat it, which enhances its crispiness.
Marinate the paneer for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour so that paneer absorbs the flavor of the spices.
You can add as much chilli as you feel but if you wan to name this dish as “Paneer 65” then it should compulsorily be hot and spicy.
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