I think Paneer chili is the best example of how we can do a change over to our most favorite item into another and still love it more. Paneer, of course, has caught everybody's fantasy and has been a ruling ingredient in every home. I haven't come across a kid who doesn't adore this. And my love for this started the moment I was introduced to it. Maybe it was increased more by the fact that I was the only Vegetarian in most gatherings and Paneer was the only dish offered as the equivalent to a tantalizing chicken or meat! Well, I never missed those much. Instead always looked forward to these treats.
Then came the introduction to Indo-Chinese food and it was also embraced with equal aplomb. What followed were a series of dishes being transformed into a Chinese one by adding its signature ingredients and making them into a Chinese dish. Really do you think a Chinese would know what a Paneer Chilli means or even taste like? I don't' think so. But really taste is something very subjective and when you like something, you add it in many others and see if it comes out well. I guess thats how this dish came into existence!
I have had this sleek handbook, rather a cookbook titled Favorite Chinese Dishes, with me for over a decade. Believe me, I have taken that book many a time, thinking I should prepare something from it. The dishes featured aren't anything different though. Most of them are the usual fare of the Indo Chinese Cuisine. Still, it was a mystery unsolved. The book has about 25 dishes, all beautifully explained, of course, no pictures. Still, I could imagine each of them being prepared and enjoyed. As I have mentioned, hubby dear is not very fond of typical Chinese food, so whatever I prepare has to be more of a spicy flavored.
I modified and changed a few for our taste.
Paneer or Indian Cottage Cheese - 2 cups (squares and deep-fried to a golden colour)
Onions - 1 small chopped squares
Spring Onions - 5 bulbs and the greens
Coriander leaves - 5 springs
Capsicum - quarter piece, chopped as squares
Green Chillies - 2 slit and trimmed
Garlic - 2 big pods, finely chopped
Tomato Sauce - 4 tsp
Soy Sauce - 2 tsp
Ajinomoto - a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee for frying paneer
Garlic crushed was used, which I didn't. The recipe didn't call for capsicum, but I added.
Method to prepare:
Wash and cube the paneer. Fry the paneer cubes in ghee and drain them once they turn golden.
Once you have all the onions, capsicum, spring onions all chopped and ready, heat a pan with oil.
Once it's hot, saute the onions well, then add the capsicum and simmer for 5 mins for it to get soften. Then add the roasted paneer, tomato sauce, soy sauce, salt, and Ajinomoto. Mix well and simmer.
After 5 mins, sprinkle the spring onion tops and serve!
Your tempting Paneer chili is ready to devour!
Paneer is said to be the primary source of protein for Buddhists (typically those of Southeast Asian origin) who adhere to vegetarian as opposed to vegan diets. It gives about 15% protein.