This dish, also known as kadai paneer, is a combination of paneer, capsicum, tomato, onion and spices cooked in ghee. Paneer jalfrezi is the Bengali way to prepare paneer.
When cooking this, you must keep some texture in the onions and capsicums. Undercooked is much better than over-cooked in this recipe.
You could make this recipe with supermarket-bought paneer and it will taste OK. You could get fresh paneer from your Indian grocer and it will taste immeasurably better. Or, you could make the paneer yourself from our paneer recipe and you will be amazed, as will your guests.
This is a recipe that deserves great paneer.
The Raj appropriated jalfrezi to make use of leftovers. They would take the remains of the last night’s roast dinner, add onions and capsicums, and a lot of green chillies then fry it. This was known as jal fry and is a staple of Raj cuisine. A proper jalfrezi, like this one, is quite different.
For appearance, use two different coloured capsicums. Our family favourites are red and green.
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 2 tsp panch phoran - see recipe
- 1 dried Kashmiri chilli
- 50 g ginger - finely shredded
- 1 brown onion - halved and sliced
- 1 green chilli - chopped
- 2 tomatoes - pulp removed and cut into small pieces
- 1 red capsicum - seeds removed, cut into 2cm pieces
- 1 green capsicum - seeds removed, cut into 2cm pieces
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 250 g paneer - crumbled into 1cm pieces
- 1 tbsp brown vinegar
- 1 tsp jaggery
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves
- Heat the ghee in a heavy-based saucepan, wok or kadai over medium heat and add the panch phoran, whole dried chilli and about two-thirds of the shredded ginger, and fry for 30 seconds until aromatic.
- Add the onions and green chilli and fry for five minutes, or until the onions are just softening but not browned and still have crunch.
- Lower the heat, add the tomato and bring to a simmer for five minutes, or until the tomato starts to soften, and the ghee starts to separate.
- Add the capsicum, salt, turmeric and chilli powder and fry for a further three minutes.
- Add the paneer and half a cup of water to the pan. Turn heat to high and gently stir everything together for about five minutes. The sauce should thicken as the paneer absorbs the moisture.
- Stir in the vinegar, jaggery powder, garam masala and scatter with the remaining shredded ginger and the coriander leaves. Cook for another two minutes, stirring continuously.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately.
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