There are so many cuisines in India alone that I haven’t tried yet. I would love to go to places down South and relish regional cuisines like Konkani food, Udupi food, or even Chettinad food. I have had some dishes from these cuisines, but then I have made them. Myself. In my kitchen.
And I am sure the taste and aroma of a dish prepared in these areas using local ingredients and techniques would be far better and pleasing than what I prepare in my English kitchen. I can just follow a recipe, but it is hard to merge in the experience and local taste in it. True for any cuisine that is.
So far I have only tried Chettinad vada curry before and that had come out to be awesome. It is more or less a mix of Punjabi Kadhi pakora + U.P. style lauki ke kofte. A versatile, spicy curry which goes well with sponge set dosa and paratha equally.
Paneer as you know is an absolute favourite in the family. So when there was a chance to combine the spicy Chettinad flavours with soft paneer, I had to grab it.
Last week, Kingfisher arranged to send me these Tyga spice boxes with exotic Indian spice mixes ready-made for the curries especially for the National Curry week. Which makes it pretty easy for me to prepare any curry in minutes without worrying about what spices to use and how much. I found it to be a great idea for busy people or those who are beginners in Indian cooking since it allows them to enjoy cooking from scratch without worrying about the nitty gritties.
The spice box came along with a few recipe cards (to use those spices) from which I chose to make this Paneer Chettinad. Partly since most of them were Non vegetarian items and mostly because I ABSOLUTELY love Paneer! And aint a Kingfisher beer wonderful with a curry, eh? 🙂
Although I have followed the instructions from Tyga’s recipe card, I have still made my own changes to the recipe to give you the detailed instructions on the combinations of the spices and method.
If you are in the UK, you can buy Tyga spice boxes from here.
This Chettinad Paneer Curry is a spicy and flavourful South-Indian dish. Made with a unique spice blend this curry is very different in taste from other Paneer curries that we typically make in the North.
Generally, Chettinad masala is quite hot in taste so you would need to adjust the spice level as per your preferences. Apart from being hot, this spice mix is quite fragrant and unique making it a great choice for any curry you want to prepare differently.
You can store the masala for up to 3 days in fridge after which it starts losing its freshness and aroma. So prepare in small quantities and you can draw 2-3 dishes out of it. If nothing else, use the Chettinad masala mix to spice up any simple rice dish like lemon rice or a pulao dish like this Methi matar pulav etc.
Dont be fooled by the long list of ingredients in the recipe, it is really pretty straightforward and simple to make. So lets check out how to make this hot and spicy Chettinad paneer curry.
Do write to me if you try this recipe and it comes out to be good. Even if not, I would love to hear from you. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see more of these recipes and inside fun.
Chettinad Paneer curry
For the curry:
- About 250 gms paneer cut into cubes
- 1 large onion diced roughly
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- piece A small of ginger grated
- 2-3 green chilies chopped small
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 Bay leaf- crushed
- leaves A handful of Curry
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp oil- I used Sesame oil
For Chettinad Masala/Spice paste:
- 2 tbsp oil- I used sesame oil
- leaves A handful of curry
- 3-4 dried red chilies
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds whole
- leaves A handful of cilantro coriander
- 1 tsp cumin seeds black peppercorns each
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp Chana dal bengal gram
- 3-4 cloves pods
- 2 cardamom pods
- ½ tsp black peppercorn
- piece A 1” of cinnamon
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- A pinch of nutmeg powder
- 2 tbsp dessicated coconut
Prepare the spice paste:-
Heat oil in a small pan. Throw in everything listed under “Chettinad Masala/Spice paste” (except nutmeg powder, curry leaves and coriander leaves) at low- medium gas till a fine aroma starts coming out and the spices starts to turn a bit darker in colour. Keep stirring so they dont burn.
Once done, transfer the spices to a steel/ceramic plate and allow them to cool completely. Once cool add the nutmeg powder, curry leaves and coriander leaves and grind/blend to a coarse powder.
Add ¼ cup water into this. Run your mixer/grinder again until a thick spice paste forms. Keep aside.
Prepare the gravy:
Heat oil in a deep frying pan/kadai. Add in the bay leaf and curry leaves. Next, add chopped garlic & grated ginger and saute for a few seconds. Add in the onions and fry on medium flame until light brown in color.
Add chettinad spice paste, green chillies and turmeric powder. Mix and cook for 1-2 minutes or until oil separates from the masala. Would take around 6-7 minutes.
Add paneer cubes, mix well and cook on low flame for 4-5 minutes, stirring in between. Add ¾ cup water into this. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes on medium flame, stir in between. This paneer curry should be thick in consistency, not runny. Remove from heat.
Serve hot with Roti, Paratha or Rice.
Recipe NotesI have not added tomatoes into this curry since the original recipe card from Tyga didn’t say so. but you can always add them if you want a more tangy flavour
More Paneer dishes you might like