Paneer Chowmein

Paneer chowmein is spicy stir fried indo chinese style noodles tossed with whole green chillies, colorful peppers and lightly browned paneer batons in a sauce made with soy, ginger and spices. These slippery savory noddles with mix of milky softness of paneer and kick from fresh green chilies are just heavenly.

If you go to Delhi, you will find how paneer strangely finds its way into almost everything! There could not be a better example of how we can create mouthwatering recipes with paneer. There are many indo chinese dishes popular with paneer – from chilli paneer to machurian and these chowmein are lip smackingly good!

I studied at Delhi College of Engineering in the campus located in the outskirts of Delhi. When you live away from main hub, the eateries around the campus become a huge part of your student life. This chowmein was the star dish at this place called Apsara restaurant,strangely so I vividly remember the seating, neon walls, huge wall decals and layout of the place even after more than two decades. It was the coolest place with fun milkshakes, ice creams, chaat, street food and some bomb indo chinese. We thronged it often and paneer chowemin with serious amounts of green chilies was my favorite thing to order.

Any good chowmein needs to have a great sauce, vegetables cut in a certain way and in my opinion, the quality of noodles matters the most. The noodles have to be thick enough to crisp during stir frying but not too doughy. Here are few of my pointers to keep in mind when you make these:-

Type of Noodles:- Go for Chings Hakka Noodles or choose chowmein noodles at the asian or american stores. You can also use ramen noodles but whichever kind you choose, make sure the noodles are neither though thin or thick.You want them to crisp up when stir fried on high heat .

Vegetables – I like to add just colorful bell peppers, but cabbage, carrot sticks would be great too. The way you cut the vegetables for the stir fried noodles make a huge difference, do no cut the vegetables in chunks. Try to thinly slice them lengthwise at an angle. This also makes sure that the vegetables don’t over or under cook. The ultimate thing in this chowmein are whole green chilies, use lots of them and you can slit them too if you want!

Sauce– This sweet sticky sauce with dark soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, green chilli sauce, honey, maggi hot and sweet and touch of coriander is the soul of this recipe. I always say this and repeating again that indo-chinese food gets its taste from indian condiments, many times substitutes great work but the taste is worth a visit to Indian store.

Other Indo Chinese recipes to try :-

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Paneer Chowmein

Paneer chowmein is spicy stir fried indo chinese style noodles tossed with whole green chillies, peppers and soft lightly browned paneer batons in a sauce made with soy, ginger, chilli sauce and spices. These slippery savory noddles with mix of milky softness of paneer and kick from fresh green chilies are just heavenly. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese, Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 200 g hakka noodles
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 scallion, white & green parts chopped separately
  • 4-5 whole Thai bird green chillies,
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 100 g Paneer, cut into small batons
  • Salt

For the Sauce

  • 1.5 tbsp Chings dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp Chings green chili sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Maggi Hot & Sweet Sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp white vinegar

Instructions

  • Add all the sauce ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  • Cook noodles as per package instructions. Drain, massage with little oil and keep ready.
  • In a large wok, add oil and heat up. Add onions, ginger, garilc, scallion white part and green chillies all at once to the wok.Stir fry on high heat for about 2 minutes. Don't brown too much.
  • Next add the peppers and paneer to the wok, sprinkle a pinch of salt and stir fry on high heat just for a couple minutes. We dont want to overcook them but the paneer should brown lightly.
  • Next add the noodles to the wok.Pour over the sauce that we prepared.
  • Using tongs or chopsticks or two forks, toss everything together until the noodles are coated in the sauce and everything is heated through. Let stir fry for about 2 minutes so that the noddles crisp up.
  • Remove from heat and add the green part of scallions. Serve immediately.

Thandai Spiced Badam Nankhatai

Crumbly, nutty nankhatai are everyone’s favorite. I make them often especially for the kids with different flavors and nuts. I make them with besan only, or sometimes with a mix of different flours- all purpose & semolina. There are truly so many combinations of flours and flavors.

This was the cookie which I grew up with. We had a round aluminum oven at my grandma’s place and it saw light of the day just to bake nankhatais. Every two weeks we had a fun baking session with my siblings, aunts and mom and we made tons of nankhatai. The texture of nankhatai is unique- its crumbly yet soft and mouthful. They should be crisp outside but still have a melt in the mouth centre. These nankhatai are super easy to make, just need a handful of ingredients and make for a good treat anytime.

Some tips to keep in mind when making Nankhatai.

  • I use ghee to make the dough. The ghee should be softened, it should not be melted. It should not be solid. It should be similar to softened butter. The flours bind using just ghee and no other wet ingredient, so its important that the ghee is measured properly(too much will make the cookies spread) and is of the right consistency .
  • I make nankhatai using just chickpea flour many a times (will share recipe sometime), however I feel using all purpose flour gives a nice body to the cookies and besan gives an amazing taste. Semolina can be added as well for extra crispiness.
  • The kind of sugar which is suitable is confectioners sugar or powdered sugar. Please dont use granulated or raw sugar ground at home. Store bough powdered sugar has a little bit of cornstarch which helps in the texture of the cookies.
  • Nut powder- If you have allergies, you can skip it and substitute it with equal quantity of flour. Or substitute with any kind of nut powder you fancy- cashew & pistachios work great. However keep in mind to use finely ground nuts in this recipe. Finely ground almonds are different from almond meal. If you have almond meal at home, process it to fine before using.
  • Th best way to know the if the dough is right is so feel it. The dough should come together in a ball and it should be soft yet firm. The dough should not be sticky at all. If it sticking to your hands, that means that you added more ghee and this will make the cookies spread too much when they bake, so add little flour to firm up the dough.
  • I used thandai spices(not powder) to spice up these nankhatai, you can use just cardamom powder if you wish.
  • I used gel colors to the dough in the spirit of festival of Holi, you can skip the colors and make them traditional as well.
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Thandai Spiced Nankhatai

Crumbly ghee loaded indian shortbread which are suitable for festivals, as a snack or any occasion.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Servings 20 one bite shortbreads

Equipment

  • Mixing bowls, cookie sheet, measuring spoons and cups

Ingredients

For The Nankhatai

  • 75 gms (3/4 cup) all purpose flour
  • 25 gms(1/4 cup) besan
  • 20 gms (about 1/4 cup) finely ground almond powder
  • 75 gms(10tbsp) powdered sugar
  • 75-100 gms (1/3 cup – 1/2 cup) softened ghee, not melted adjust depending on consistency of dough
  • 1 tsp thandai spice powder (recipe below)

Thandai Spice (makes extra)

  • 1 tsp (8-10) black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 green cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 3-4 saffron threads

Instructions

  • Add all the thandai spices to a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.
  • Place a sieve over a large bowl and sift flour, almond flour, powdered sugar and besan. Make sure that there are no lumps.
  • Add the thandai spice powder and mix with fingers to combine.
  • Add softened ghee in parts, a little at a time and start mixing with the other hand(or a soft spatula) at the same time to incorporate the ghee. Mix very well, we want to moisten each and every speck of flours with ghee- makes for a crumbly nankhatai.
  • Incorporate ghee as needed to make a soft yet firm dough. You will use anywhere from 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup depending upon the absorption quality of your flour.The dough should not be loose or sticky. If needed due to wamr weather, refrigerate the dough to make handling easier.
  • Once the dough is formed, divide into 4 portions and and add gel color of your choice to dye each portion.
  • Pinch small portions (these spread a bit) of the dough and place on a baking sheet lined with paper. You can press a whole raw almond on top or any nut of choice. Place the cookies a bit apart since these spread a little(not much).
  • Refrigerate for 10 minutes(dont skip). Meanwhile preheat the oven to 325F.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes till the bottoms are light golden in color. Cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!