Soak the paneer in hot water for 15 minutes and cut into long strips or fingers. (This step is for store-bought paneer only. For homemade paneer, ignore it).
Slice the vegetables into long strips.
Dry roast the coriander seeds in a small frypan. When they become fragrant and start changing color, take them off the heat. Grind in a spice grinder when cool.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or karahi and add the cumin seeds. When they change color, add the onions and garlic and fry on high heat till the onions start caramelizing at the edges.
Add the rest of the vegetables in quick succession - green peppers, tomatoes, and half the ginger.
Add the powdered spices and salt - coriander, red chilli, turmeric, and garam masala.
Fry the vegetables on medium to high heat until the tomatoes and peppers soften but don't lose color.
Add the paneer and fry for one or two minutes, making sure the paneer is well coated with the masala.
Garnish with the remaining ginger and cilantro and serve hot with some naan or tandoori roti.
You can use ready made ground coriander for this recipe, but making your own is very easy and makes a lot of difference to the taste and freshness of the recipe.
It is preferable to use green peppers only as they are different in taste from the other colors. They do have a distinct earthiness and bite to them.
Use a hot variety of red chilli powder for jalfrezi, not your regular mild Kashmiri chilli. I use Everest Tikha Lal (available in most Indian grocery stores), but you can use any brand that says 'hot' or 'extra-hot'.
Take care not to over-cook the vegetables. The peppers should retain their color and crunch and the tomatoes and onions their shape and texture.
Keywords: paneer jalfrezi, paneer recipe, Indian cottage cheese recipe, Indian vegetarian recipe
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