I’ve made chilli paneer before but always with gravy. During my recent trip to Canada, I learned the secret of making a dry and crispy version from my dear friend Rosie. The trick is to never put fresh tomatoes as they contain lots of water. Instead, use tomato ketchup!
I know it sounds weird, but once cooked, the ketchup brings all the ingredients and tastes together into an Indian-Chinese fusion meal. Trust me and Rosie.
If you don’t have paneer, my daughter uses tofu instead. Make sure to buy the extra-firm kind and to soak up as much water as you can using paper towels. The more water absorbed, the less it will stick when cooking. Cut the tofu into cubes and cook as below. You can also choose to include red or yellow bell peppers to make the dish more colorful. Just keep in mind, all the peppers should be added at the very end so they remain crisp and do not overcook.
This meal can be served as an appetizer or a side for lunch or dinner. I’ve had it separately as a meal or with a light salad on the side.
- 3 large green peppers, diced
- 1 lb paneer or tofu, cut in cubes
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/3 cup tomato ketchup
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or any cooking oil of your preference)
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Heat the oil in the pan and add in cumin seeds on high flame. Once the seeds stop fluttering, add in paneer or tofu and let it cook until light brown. Keep stirring as it does stick to the pan!
- Add onions and stir.
- Add chili powder and salt. Continue stirring.
- Add peppers, stir and immediately add in ketchup. Cover the lid for 3-4 minutes on low heat.
- Change the heat to high flame and stir. You’ll see the water being evaporated. Remember, don’t overcook as the peppers are great with a bite.
Serves: 5-6 people