Jun 30, 2011

Orange Paneer

Vegetarian Orange Chicken anyone?? Well, I actually don't have that here - but I do have some glistening Sweet and Spicy Orange Paneer. 

FSB Theme for the month was suggested by DK of Chef In You. This was a challenging theme and DK wanted us to prepare something vegetarian that looks like a classic or famous Non Vegetarian dish. When I read that first, I thought – this could be easy..and then I read further. She told us that we could not use any store bought mock meats to prepare the dish. Ok the first three dishes that came to my mind at the beginning just went back to where they were sleeping. Nevermind.
And then a few weeks passed by – I had this thought at the back of my mind that I have not come up with anything yet and time’s slowly running out. And then last Friday happened. Came home from work and was totally inspired to either order pizza or pick up Chinese food. But the big guy in the house was acting a little hyper about cooking up a nice homemade meal..and when I said order Chinese food, he said why not make Chinese food. Really?? Why can’t we both ever think on the same lines? And so he first told me that he’ll make dinner. I was happy. And he told me he wanted the sweet and spicy orange chicken done vegetarian. My heart went thud. Wait. That means I could achieve two things here. The name DK then flashed a few times in my brain. I brushed off my Friday evening laziness and decided I will actually make this sweet and spicy orange chicken – not to please the hungry guy in the house – but because I might have a post for this month’s FSB.  Wink Wink. And to be honest, this has been a dish that my guy has been asking for a while now and I always just veto it because I’m never in the mood for a sweet and spicy thing. But, today I was more than happy to undertake this adventure!
Tofu would have been a great substitute here – but instead, I decided to use Paneer to make this. So, I can tell DK that Paneer really is not fake meat. Right DK? And honestly because I had a big pack of Paneer sitting in my fridge and I was not going out to get tofu just to make this – you never know, I just might end up bringing dinner back. Not a good idea!

So I looked at a few recipes for Orange Chicken and looked at the Panda Express site for some visual inspiration. And also came across this one which was a vegetarian version from Pham Fatale blog. I kind of get an idea and a plan sketched out in my mind. Time for executing the plan. And so I start. I have to tell you though, by the time this was done and we were eating, boy was I glad I cooked at home. Thanks FSB team!! This is now a keeper recipe for me and we have already planned when to make this next!

Enough of all the banter, let me just get to the recipe.
Chop up Paneer into uneven sized chunks. The weirder shaped the chunks are, the better!

In a plate, take about ½- 1 cup of corn flour (corn starch would also work great here). The amount you see here was actually too much – I ended up wasting half of it. So, ½ cup should be sufficient. Add salt to taste and also 1 tsp of red chilli powder for a little spice. Mix the dry ingredients well.

Add the paneer pieces in here and just mix well. 

Sprinkle a few drops of water and just gently toss the paneer in the moist corn flour. You just want to coat the paneer pieces and not really dunk them and make them into bhajjias or pakodas.

Let this sit for a few mins while you get the sauce ready.

Here comes the saucy juicy part! This was fun to do – because I had no clue really and just kind of added everything I had. You should have seen our frightened faces when we were ready to taste the final product.
Let’s start off with the spicy stuff. Chilli Garlic sauce – add about ½ - 1 tbsp of chilli garlic sauce to a mixing bowl.

Then, add ½ tbsp of Chilli Soy sauce or regular Soy sauce to the bowl.

Add ½ tbsp of rice vinegar to the other ingredients.

Follow that with 2 big heaped tbsp of tomato paste.
Throw in some fresh chopped ginger to the paste mix.

And throw in ginger’s favorite partner garlic – chopped into little bits along with the rest.

Now, add the kicker in here – ½ cup of orange juice.

Followed by 1 tsp of brown palm sugar.

And for the real kicker – 2 tbsp of maggi hot n sweet ketchup.

Some last sweet thoughts - a few drops of Honey
And to seal the deal with a little spice – 1 tsp of red chilli flakes or you can use a red chilli asian paste if you have that or even some Sriracha sauce.
Now do you understand that I really had no clue. But don't lose faith in me yet. I won't let you down.

Whisk together all of the ingredients well. Add about 1 cup of water to this sauce and set aside.

Now, fry the corn flour coated pieces of paneer in hot oil and drain excess oil on a sheet and set aside.

Chop up 1 small red onion and also chop up a small bell pepper.

Add the sauce and just enjoy the sizzle.

Cook for 3-4 mins and you’ll start to see the water evaporate.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, add 2 tsps of corn starch and add ¼ cup water and make into a thin paste.

When the sauce begins to thicken, add in the corn starch paste. You’ll see that the sauce thicken instantly.

Quickly add in the fried paneer pieces to the sauce and mix well. Cook for a min until most of the sauce thickens. If you like it saucy, you can switch off the stove immediately after adding the paneer.

And you’re done people! Now, I don’t know if this looks like the Orange Chicken at Panda’s – but I surely know that it tastes awesome because we finished the whole damn thing in about 15 mins!

Serve with some hot white rice. I actually made ginger flavored rice. I added about 2 tsp of chopped ginger along with the rice and cooked it together. The rice holds a subtle flavor of ginger and it was delicious to eat along with this sweet and spicy Orange Paneer!

Check out here for some of the awesome stuff the FSB gals have come up with – Deepti, LataDKMadhuriNags, Siri, Mitu. I’m sure when the hard core non vegetarian look at this, they’re going to finally stop thinking that us vegetarians eat only salads.

Enjoy. Peace Out!


  1. Holy Yum !! It looks awesome!!! Scrummy , mouthwatering n so beautifully orangy :) What a treat ~ I am going to save the recipe !
    US Masala

  2. Mouthwatering and tempting dish. Sounds innovative with the orange juice.

  3. Very new to me.. looks so yummy and tempting.. thanks for the delicious recipe dear !!
    Indian Cuisine

  4. Now who else but you would have thought of "orange paneer"!!! Awesome! And lovely plate!!

  5. Take a bow! you've killed the 'chicken'! looks restaurant style thoroughly!

  6. Orange flavored Paneer--hmm sounds very interesting!!

  7. Except for the shape, that definitely looks like orange chicken!! Yumm!!

  8. Super delicious recipe and amazing pics. Bookmarked it and going to try asap.
    Show and Tell

  9. Mouthwatering here, orange paneer looks simply out of the world..

  10. Im drooling looking at these mouthwatering clicks !!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  11. I ve been dying to make Orange chicken..But like you said never had the guts to try out sweet n spicy..But now this is equally excellent option ! Loved the B&W plate and the presentation..

  12. Wow looks so so delicious...yummy it looks

  13. OK, Anu, I can vouch that paneer is not fake meat and wow, what a recipe. Hats off chef !!! I have bookmarked it as I always adored the looks of this Sweet and sour orange chicken from Panda Express but could never eat as I am a vegetarian. This is something even my husband enjoys, I mean the dish, so I am only hoping he enjoys the paneer version and will try it out.

  14. ha ha :) nice try and the final product looks stunning :) Loving it by the looks itself :)

  15. You've given Panda Express a 'chug-a-chug' for their money. Your Orange paneer is a winner all the way. I love how to took care to note that chicken pieces are all not equally cut/shaped and made random pieces of the paneer. Certainly adds oomph to the way the final dish looks. Neat stuff, Anu. Hats off!

  16. Hi Anu, I tried this today as I told you.. wow.. it was really so good and was a big hit at home. served with veg fried rice, we both cleaned our plates.. So tasty, tangy and satisfying.. Didnt have time (rather patience) to wait for fotos, so next time I make this it is sure coming in my blog.. I am gonna make this again.
    Event: Serve It - Grilled/Barbequed/Tandoored

  17. Kirthi - thank you so much for trying and I'm so glad you loved it!! Would have loved to see your pictures too - so do take some when you make it the next time!

  18. YOu are a super chef- I admire your patience at cooking and clicking on a friday night.
    Anything sweet, tangy, spicy and hot all rolled into a dish is surely a keeper for me.
    I am trying this very soooon, will get back after trying.

  19. Wow, lady, that's a great version of orange chicken.. after years of wondering what orange chicken was, I now get the idea.. will try this out for sure.. thanks, Anu!

  20. nice touch with the orange juice and cutting the paneer to look like chicken! - I do make a chili paneer version similar to this and I understand what you mean when you say u had no idea where you were going with it - I dare to experiment in a similar fashion and love the compliments i receive from my family (my most ardent fans :)

  21. Such a brilliant idea, Anu!! I will most def be trying this one :)

  22. mmm... its unfortunate that you could not mail the final product thru internet. hahaha... i should try this one.... thank u for sharing this receipt. ilan s

  23. I made this last night and it came out so well! Thanks for this flavorful and unusual recipe!



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