According to the survey conducted in 2011 in UK the spicy Chicken Jalfrezi is the most popular dish, replacing the most loved mild tasting creamy Chicken Tikka Masala in popularity. As people get more adventurous with their taste buds, it is natural to dig deep into the history of the dish that makes our taste buds tickle with joy!
Like most curries served in Indian restaurants and curry houses across the world, the curry served today is the different version of the original curries that were cooked decades or the centuries ago. Like Chicken Tikka Masala, the origin of Jalfrezi goes back to the days of the British Raj. The British in India were homesick for good old British roast dinners and boiled vegetables and almost always had a lot of leftover food. Since wasting this food was not an option, they asked their servants to give makeovers to these leftovers. The result was the Chicken Jalfrezi, a hot stir fry of chillies, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. It is believed that the Chicken Jalfrezi was originated in Calcutta or Kolkatta as the word Jalfrezi is the colloquial Bengali word jhālpharezī: in Bengali, jhāl means spicy food; in Urdu/Persian, parhezī means suitable for a diet.
The vegetarian version of Jalfrezi like Vegetable Jalfrezi and Paneer Jalfrezi doesn’t actually use any leftovers and it is one of the quick dishes you can whip up to those last minute guests. You can use paneer to make Paneer Jalfrezi or if you are a vegan, you can make the Vegetable Jalfrezi by just skipping the paneer or add firm tofu and follow the same recipe. The following recipe is a drier version with little bit of sauce just to coat the paneer and vegetable pieces. If you want to make a gravy version of the Paneer Jalfrezi, simply add a cup of fresh cream just towards the end of cooking process and let it simmer for few minutes. I make it mildly spicy as I serve this to my whole family including my 5 year old son. So feel free to add more green chillies if you like your Paneer Jalfrezi to be kicking hot! 🙂
You can serve this Paneer Jalfrezi as a side dish with fresh Naan or Basmati rice or be little creative and serve it as a stuffing for sandwich or even wraps (use whole wheat pita bread or tortillas) with few salad leaves, tomato, onion and cucumber slices.
250 gms Paneer, cut into 2 inch by ½ inch long pieces (Approx 2 cups)
1 large Onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
2-3 Green Chillies, slit (Adjust as per taste)
1 Green Capsicum/Pepper, seeded and sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and sliced
1 large Tomato, seeded and sliced
¾ – 1 cup Tomato Puree
1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup (Optional, but recommended)
½ tsp Sugar (Optional, but recommended)
½ Lime, juice extracted
1 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped (Optional)
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
¼ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
½-1 tsp Red Chilli Powder (Adjust as per taste)
1½ heaped tsp Dhania/Coriander Powder
¼-½ tsp Garam Masala
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves, crushed between finger tips
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
Click the link below for detailed recipe.
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