I pretty much watch every video Padma Lakshmi posts on Instagram, and so I was craving paneer pretty badly and threw this solo dinner together in less than 30 minutes. I highly doubt my take on this popular Indo-Chinese dish is anywhere near as tasty as Padma’s fresh, handmade paneer, but it was close enough to perfect for me (plus the leftovers were fantastic for lunch the following day)!
1 small block paneer, cut into bite sized cubes
1 bell pepper, trimmed, seeded and rough chopped
1/2 red onion, skin removed and rough chopped
2” piece fresh ginger, skin removed and minced
1 red jalapeño, trimmed and sliced on the bias
1 tbsp Kashmiri curry powder
1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
1 tsp 5 spice powder
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp EVOO
1 tsp agave syrup
1/4 cup cornstarch
salt and pepper
In a large mixing bowl combine the cornstarch, curry and chili powder, a pinch of salt and generous amount of black pepper. Toss the cubed paneer in the seasoned cornstarch then set aside.
Heat a wok over a med high flame then add the sesame and olive oil. Heat until the oil just starts to shimmer. Fry the paneer in batches until golden and slightly crispy on the edges, about 3 – 5 minutes per side. Set the paneer aside on a clean surface.
To the same wok, add the ginger, onion, jalapeño, and green bell pepper. Stir fry until the vegetables are slightly softened and fragrant, about 3- 5 minutes. Add in next the soy sauce, agave, and 5 spice powder. Reduce until the sauce has slightly thickened about 5 additional minutes, or per your preference. Stir the paneer back in and toss until well coated in the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve the chili paneer immediately with rice or naan.