Hot and sour paneer curry

I’m really partial to paneer, and especially to the paneer curry I developed for my book – it’s creamy and comforting, and really delicious, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made it; it’s been on regular rotation in our house for at least a year. And whilst I still love it, sometimes I fancy something less rich, and this fits that bill. It’s hot from the fresh red chilli and curry powder, but also fruity and sour thanks to the addition of wet tamarind and “amchoor” which is dried mango powder. These are two ingredients I wasn’t particularly familiar with up until recently, and you might not find them in your local supermarket, but they are worth seeking out online, as they keep for a long time, and they add a really pleasant sour, fruity tang to curries, which brightens the whole dish.

Hot and sour paneer curry

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 225g paneer, cut into bite-size cubes
  • Veg oil for frying the paneer
  • 2 tbsp ghee (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (I leave the seeds in, but remove if you prefer it milder)
  • 2 large bell peppers (red or yellow, please NOT green!), de-seeded and sliced into roughly 2 inch long strips.
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp hot curry powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 100g baby spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder)
  • 1 tsp wet tamarind
  • Salt and black pepper


  • Heat the veg oil in a frying pan, then add the paneer and fry until golden brown on all sides, so turn the pieces carefully using tongs. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the ghee, then sauté the onion with the garlic and chilli until softened and translucent – about 5 mins. Add the peppers, then sauté for about 5 minutes further until they’re beginning to soften. Season well with salt and black pepper.
  • Add the curry powder, cumin, turmeric and garam masala, stir to coat everything, and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the tomato puree and tinned tomatoes, then fill the empty tomato tin with boiling water and add that to the pan. Bring everything to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced.
  • Add the paneer to the sauce, and cook for 5 minutes further, then add the spinach leaves, and allow them to wilt in the heat of the pan. Finally, stir in the amchoor and the wet tamarind, and cook for another few minutes. Taste and add more salt and black pepper if necessary, then serve immediately with rice and/or flatbreads.