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Paneer Koliwada (Fried Paneer)

One of the Paneer Recipes that is loved by all at my place is the Paneer Koliwada. It is a quick, crispy and tasty fried snack made with marinated and spiced batter-coated paneer cubes. The batter is gluten-free and made with gram flour (besan). This Fried Paneer originates in Mumbai and is well known there. You can enjoy this paneer snack as a starter or a snack.

paneer koliwada or fried paneer cubes on a white platter with onion slices and lemon wedges.

About Paneer Koliwada

The famous fish and prawn koliwada when turns into a vegetarian, becomes the Paneer Koliwada. Even some restaurants serve the Paneer Koliwada as well its non vegetarian versions.

Paneer Koliwada is basically marinated and batter-fried paneer cubes. The recipe looks similar to Amritsari Paneer but the taste is very different.

The batter of this Paneer Koliwada recipe is a simple one made of gram flour (besan), which is spiced with carom seeds, cumin powder, garam masala powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, ginger, garlic and chaat masala powder.

In this recipe, the carom seeds add a unique flavor profile similar to thyme. They also aid in digestion. The other remaining ground spices and herbs also contribute to the overall flavor and taste.

As the batter is made from gram flour the recipe is gluten-free. You could easily make the batter with chickpea flour instead of gram flour.

There are many ways this Paneer Koliwada can be made. This recipe is how I prepare it at home using simple everyday ingredients.

Why This Recipe Is Called Paneer Koliwada

This particular recipe is not in any way related to the Koli (fishing) community of Maharashtra, in Western India.

Koliwada is the colonies of kolis or fishermen in Mumbai. It is called such, as the recipe of Prawn Koliwada was invented in one such colony, the Sion Koliwada.

Since then, it has become very popular all over Mumbai. During our stint in Mumbai, on occasions, we used to get food from a few particular eateries (dhabas) in Sion Koliwada.

Their Punjabi food used to be awesome and I still remember the taste of the various dishes that were served there.

paneer koliwada served with onion rings and lemon wedge on a white platter.

With this Paneer Koliwada recipe, I have just tried and given a tribute to this lovely regional cuisine that is apart of the everyday life in Mumbai. I’m sure, the moment you’ll try it, you too will fall in love with it.

You can serve it as a snack or even as starter with North Indian main course recipes like Dal Makhani, Rajma Recipe, dum aloo or dal tadka.

Also, adding a side of freshly sliced onions, lemon wedges and some Mint Chutney to the hot Paneer Koliwada is a super idea. Make sure you also sprinkle some chaat masala on the fried paneer cubes.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Paneer Koliwada

Marinate Paneer

1. Chop 200 grams paneer in cubes and take them in a bowl.

chopped paneer in a bowl for making paneer koliwada.

2. Add 1½ teaspoons ginger-garlic paste, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder and salt as required.

For ginger-garlic paste, you can even crush 1 inch ginger and 4 to 5 medium-sized garlic cloves in a mortar-pestle.

ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, kashmiri red chili powder and salt added to paneer cubes.

3. Add 1½ teaspoons lemon juice.

adding lemon juice to paneer cubes.

4. Gently mix everything with your hands without breaking the paneer cubes. If you are unable to mix, then toss the bowl, so that the ingredients get mixed. Cover the bowl and marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.

marinating paneer cubes.

Make Batter

5. In another mixing bowl, take ½ cup gram flour (besan).

gram flour added to another bowl.

6. Then, add ½ teaspoon cumin powder, ½ teaspoon garam masala powder, ½ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain), 1 teaspoon chaat masala powder and 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder.

ground spices added to gram flour.

7. Now, add 4 tablespoons water.

water added to gram flour mixture.

8. Mix very well to get a thick batter without any lumps.

If the batter looks very thick, then you can add some more water.

whisking ingredients together to make batter.

Batter Coat Paneer Cubes

9. Add the marinated paneer cubes in the batter.

marinated paneer cubes added to batter.

10. Gently mix well with your hands or a spoon without breaking the paneer cubes. Check the taste of the batter and if required, you can add more salt.

batter coated paneer cubes.

Make Fried Paneer Koliwada

11. Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai or pan. Add a tiny portion of the batter in the oil. If it comes up gradually and steadily, the oil is ready for the paneer cubes to be fried.

checking temperature of hot oil to fry paneer cubes.

12. Coat the paneer cubes evenly with the batter and drop them gently in the hot oil.

batter coated paneer cubes added to hot oil.

13. Fry on medium heat and do not over crowd the kadai. Add, depending on the size of the kadai. You can fry the paneer in 2 to 3 batches.

Alternatively, you can even pan-fry or shallow-fry the paneer cubes.

deep frying paneer cubes in hot oil.

14. When one side is golden, turn over with a slotted spoon and continue to fry.

frying paneer cubes.

15. Turn over a couple of times more and fry till the paneer cubes are golden and crisp.

frying paneer cubes till golden and crisp.

16. Remove with a slotted spoon draining the extra oil in the pan. Do not overdo the frying part as then the paneer cubes can become dense and chewy.

removing paneer koliwada with a slotted spoon.

17. Remove Paneer Koliwada on kitchen paper towels for extra oil to be absorbed. This way continue to fry the remaining paneer cubes.

paneer koliwada or fried paneer placed on kitchen paper towel.

18. Sprinkle chaat masala powder and serve Paneer Koliwada hot with a side of sliced onions, lemon wedges and mint chutney or Coriander Chutney or any green chutney of your choice.

paneer koliwada served with a side of onion slices and lemon wedges on a white platter.

More Paneer Recipes To Try!

Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

paneer koliwada on white platter.

Paneer Koliwada Recipe (Fried Paneer)

Paneer Koliwada is a quick, crispy and tasty fried snack made with marinated and spiced batter-coated paneer cubes. The batter is gluten-free and made with gram flour (besan). This Fried Paneer originated in Sion Koliwada in Mumbai.

5 from 2 votes

Prep Time 30 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 50 minutes

Marination ingredients

Batter ingredients

Serving ingredients

Marinating paneer

  • Chop the paneer in 1.5 inch cubes and take them in a bowl.

  • Add the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, lemon juice and salt as required. 

  • Gently mix everything with your hands without breaking the paneer cubes. If you are unable to mix, then toss the bowl, so that the ingredients get mixed. Cover the bowl and marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Making batter

  • In another mixing bowl take the besan (gram flour). 

  • Add cumin powder, garam masala powder, carom seeds, chaat masala and kashmiri red chili powder.

  • Next add 4 tablespoons water.

  • Mix very well to get a thick batter without any lumps.

  • Add the marinated paneer cubes in the batter.

  • Gently mix well with your hands or a spoon without breaking the paneer cubes. Check the taste of the batter and if required you can add more salt.

Making Paneer Koliwada

  • Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai (wok) or pan. Add a tiny portion of the batter in the oil. If it comes up gradually and steadily, the oil is ready for the paneer cubes to be fried.

  • Coat the paneer cubes evenly with the batter and drop them gently in the hot oil.

  • Fry on medium heat and do not over crowd the pan or kadai. Add depending on the size of the wok or kadai. You can fry paneer in two to three batches. Alternatively you can even pan fry or shallow fry the paneer cubes.
  • When one side is golden, turn over with a slotted spoon and continue to fry.

  • Turn over a couple of times more and fry till the paneer cubes are golden and crisp.

  • Remove with a slotted spoon draining the extra oil in the pan. Do not over do the frying part as then the paneer cubes can become dense and chewy.
  • Remove the fried paneer cubes on kitchen paper towels for extra oil to be absorbed. This way continue to fry the remaining paneer cubes.

  • Sprinkle chaat masala and then serve Paneer Koliwada hot with a side of sliced onions, lemon wedges and mint chutney.

  • Make sure to use fresh paneer. Homemade is always better. If using frozen paneer, thaw it according to package instructions.
  • The ground spices can be adjusted by adding less or more of them.
  • You can also try air-frying these paneer cubes. 
  • Carom seeds is an essential ingredient in the recipe and try not to skip them.
  • Make sure to fry on medium to medium-high heat. Low heat will make the outside batter absorb more oil. An extremely high heat may brown the outer coating too much leaving the inside portion of the batter undercooked. 

Nutrition Facts

Paneer Koliwada Recipe (Fried Paneer)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 393 Calories from Fat 252

% Daily Value*

Fat 28g43%

Saturated Fat 11g69%

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 8g

Cholesterol 44mg15%

Sodium 436mg19%

Potassium 301mg9%

Carbohydrates 21g7%

Fiber 5g21%

Sugar 5g6%

Protein 15g30%

Vitamin A 268IU5%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.1mg7%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.04mg2%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%

Vitamin B6 0.2mg10%

Vitamin C 23mg28%

Vitamin E 4mg27%

Vitamin K 3µg3%

Calcium 354mg35%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 99µg25%

Iron 2mg11%

Magnesium 43mg11%

Phosphorus 85mg9%

Zinc 1mg7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Paneer Koliwada recipe from the blog archives was first published on September 2017. It has been updated and republished on May 2024.

Source: Dassana’s Veg Recipes
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