Paneer aur mirch ka salan – paneer with chilli peppers in melon seed sauce

  • Main
  • easy
  • 2
  • 45 minutes, plus 2 hours soaking time and 1 hour pickling and marinating time



First published in 2021
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Melon seed sauce

Marinated paneer

Pickled chillies


Begin by pickling the chillies. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat, then add the whole spices. Once they begin to crackle, carefully pour in the white vinegar and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the turmeric, red chilli powder and a pinch of salt, stir to combine, then remove from the heat and leave to cool


Once cool, add the chillies to the pickling liquid and stir to coat. Set aside for at least 1 hour

  • 3 chillies, ideally a mixture of red, orange and green, roughly chopped

Meanwhile, marinate the paneer. Cut the paneer into 6 equal pieces and cut a slit into each piece for stuffing. Mix together the mixed pickle, mango chutney and grated paneer with a pinch of salt and use this mixture to stuff each piece of paneer


For the marinade, mix together the Greek yoghurt, chilli powder, salt and ginger-garlic paste and rub this mixture all over the stuffed paneer. Leave to marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Add a dash of oil to a heavy-based saucepan and, once hot, add the onion. Cook over a medium heat until golden (about 6–8 minutes) then add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2 more minutes

Add the ground spices and diced tomato and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, drain the soaked melon seeds and blitz into a smooth paste. Add the paste to the sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes, then transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth, adding enough water to create a sauce the consistency of single cream


To finish the sauce, place it back over the heat and stir in the tamarind paste and jaggery. Place a separate small pan over a high heat with a splash of oil and the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once sizzling, transfer these to the sauce too. Keep warm


Preheat an oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Cook the marinated paneer for 8 minutes, turning them over halfway through cooking


To serve, divide the sauce between 2 shallow bowls. Place 3 pieces of paneer into each dish, then top with the pickled chillies, drizzling a little of the liquor into the sauce. Garnish with basil leaves (if using)

First published in 2021
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