This recipe is very similar to the Chicken 65 recipe on this blog, but utilizes Paneer (Indian Curd Cheese) instead.
The steps are exactly same as you would be prepare the Chicken 65, except your protein is different.
Here is the recipe for Chicken 65 as a reference: https://spiceculturecooking.com/2019/02/02/chicken-65/
Paneer is a great vegetarian and vegan option for anyone and it adds the save level of heartiness to any dish that a regular meat would. It can hold up to any type of cooking and absorbs the flavors it is cooked with very well. And it is also a great substitute for anyone looking to try a healthier option in any of their Indian dishes.
This recipe will really surprise you with its level of flavor and ingredients. Like Chicken 65, it can be used as an appetizer if you let some of the liquid cook off, OR as a main if you allow it to remain a bit saucy during the cooking process. But, however you decide you eat this dish, it will surely become of your favorites very quickly!
- 2 packs of Paneer Cheese (cut into medium chunks) OR 2lbs. Fresh Paneer
- 2 Egg Whites
- 3 or 4 green chilies (cut into thin rounds OR can be blended)
- 4 cups of oil (any type except Olive oil) – used for deep frying
- 10 to 12 curry leaves
- 1 small bunch of Cilantro (OR Cilantro Chutney) + extra 1/4 cup chopped for garnish
- 1 small bunch of Mint (Or Mint Chutney)
- 1 tsp of salt/kosher salt
- 4oz. of plain yogurt
- 4 oz. of water
- 1/4 tsp of Red food coloring
- Ustad Banne Nawab Chicken 65 Box (Batter Flour)
- Ustad Banne Nawab Chicken 65 Box (Spice Packet)
- If you prefer not to use ready-made spice packs, add in 1 cup of finely ground corn flour and 2 Tbsp. garam masala as the substitute for the Batter Packet in Step 2.
- And use another 1 Tbsp. of garam masala as the substitute for the Spice Packet in Step 6.
- In a large wok or pot, add your oil and begin to heat on medium-low heat till hot. (make sure oil does not smoke)
- In a large mixing bowl, add your paneer, *Chicken 65 Batter Flour Packet (or substitute) and 2 egg whites. Mix everything well by hand or with fork till all pieces of paneer are fully coated with batter. Make sure no egg white liquid remains.
- Fry the paneer pieces in small batches (7-10 pieces) till batter is golden brown and looks crispy. (About 5-7 minutes in hot oil). Repeat till everything is fried.
- Remove each batch of fried paneer straight into a large, wide frying pan/wok. Don’t worry about absorbing the extra oil from the paneer after frying.
- Once all paneer cooked, ¼ cup of the hot oil right into the large frying pan with the paneer and put aside. (This extra oil is simply for use during the next cooking process.)
- In a blender, add the mint/mint chutney, cilantro/cilantro chutney, *Chicken 65 Spice Packet (or substitute) , yogurt, water, salt/kosher salt, red food coloring, green chilies and blend together till it is a smooth, but thick liquid. (This is the sauce used to cook the paneer again.) Set aside.
- Going back to the frying pan with the paneer and extra oil, turn heat on to medium-high and when hot, add your curry leaves and mix in with the paneer till it sizzles.
- Once you start smelling the hot curry leaves, pour on your spicy yogurt sauce from the blender all over the fried paneer, and then use your mixing spoon to toss everything around in the sauce till each piece is coated.
- Cover your frying pan with lid and allow to cook for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. (This step helps to make sure the batter around the paneer absorbs the yogurt sauce completely.
- After time, remove lid and keep tossing paneer around every few minutes to make sure all the liquid is fully evaporated, and each piece get all the seasoning absorbed. Cook on stove for about 10 minutes uncovered, while keeping an eye on it.
- Once it looks like most of the liquid is absorbed and the paneer is a dark red color, turn off stove.
- You can plate as desired or serve straight from frying pan.
- Sprinkle the extra coriander on top as garnish and freshly squeezed lemon juice. (You can also just add sliced lemon wedges on top, if desired.)
NOTE: You can use either fresh mint and coriander OR the chutney. There is no difference in flavor – it is just an easier option if you choose.
Let me know what you think! Comment below, tag me with your Paneer 65 pics on IG @cmspiceculture or on FB at “Spice Culture Cooking.”