Paneer 65 is fried paneer tossed in spicy tempering

Paneer 65 Fry

By Swasthi on June 27, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Paneer 65 is a spicy South Indian appetizer made with Paneer aka Indian cheese, flour, spices and herbs like curry leaves. If you are a paneer and spicy food lover, these crisp fried cheesy bites are no less than a treat to your taste buds. This super flavorful and homemade version beats the restaurant served paneer 65 and you will know why, when you taste this. Serve it as an appetizer or as a side in an Indian meal.


Paneer 65 is fried paneer tossed in spicy tempering

This also goes beautifully well as a party appetizer.

About Paneer 65

Paneer 65 is a vegetarian variation of the popular South Indian Chicken 65.  Similar to the original version, paneer 65 is made by deep frying marinated and batter coated paneer until crisp. It is later tossed in a spicy tempering made with spices, garlic, curry leaves and sometimes yogurt or lemon juice.

Now if you are wondering why is this fried paneer tagged as 65? Here goes the story. It is believed that chicken 65 originated in the year 1965 at Buhari Hotel, Chennai. To distinguish the dish from many other similar inventions it was named after the year.

A larger population of India eat vegetarian. So a lot of vegetarian versions have further been invented in the Indian restaurants. Since paneer is an alternate vegetarian protein for a lot of Indians, paneer 65 is somewhat well known in the South Indian restaurants.

Again as you go across South India, you are likely to find numerous versions and will agree with me that no 2 restaurants serve the same tasting 65 dishes. Each and every region has a different version and is mentioned uniquely as – Hyderabadi, Andhra style, Special 65, Madurai style, Chennai style and Tamil Nadu style. At last you will also find an Indo-Chinese version of the 65 dishes made with soya sauce, tomato ketchup etc.

In my experience there are so many variations that actually taste better than the original Buhari version. This paneer 65 is an example of that.

My Recipe

My recipe will give you super delicious paneer 65 that is soft inside and crisp outside with a punch of flavors. Though I have deep fried the paneer for the light and airy texture, you may shallow fry, bake or even air fry for healthier option. But remember that if you are making a large batch, deep frying is much easier as the paneer cooks down to crisp texture faster.

Use this recipe as the base and make variations using parboiled potatoes, Button Mushrooms, Cauliflower, broccoli or even bread. I also have a Cauliflower 65 and Chicken 65 recipes on the blog. This recipe is roughly adapted from my chicken 65.

More Paneer recipes
Chilli paneer
Garlic paneer
Matar paneer
Paneer bhurji
Methi paneer

How to Make Paneer 65 (Stepwise Photos)

I made 2x recipe so you will find double the ingredients in the pictures below. Please ignore the quantities seen.

Preparation

1. Rinse 4 sprigs of curry leaves. Pat dry 2 sprigs and keep them aside for frying and tempering. Fine chop the other 2 sprigs for the marinade and set aside. Also chop 1 teaspoon garlic and keep aside. Rinse 6 to 7 green chilies, slit, deseed and pat dry. Crush half teaspoon black pepper and set aside.

2. For the marinade you will need

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¾ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chilli powder (like Kashmiri or byadgi)
  • ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar

For the batter you will need ¼ teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons cornstarch or all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons rice flour.

Marinate Paneer

3. Dice the paneer to ¾ inch pieces and add to a mixing bowl. Try to keep the pieces of the same size so they take the same time to fry.

4. Mix up all of the ground spices and salt in the plate and sprinkle all over the paneer. Also add the ginger garlic and vinegar. Toss the paneer well to coat them with the spices.

5. They will be dry and won’t coat well. So you will sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and mix well. Cover and rest for however long you want, up to 48 hours. If you want to keep for longer than 30 mins, refrigerate.

Make Spicy Tempering

You may skip this tempering part if you don’t want Paneer 65 to be spicy and garlicky. But this is what makes this recipe simply superb. If you still don’t want to try this, you may skip to – “How to fry paneer 65” section directly below.

6. When you are ready to make the paneer 65, to a bowl add 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, ½ tablespoon garlic paste or grated, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon sugar.

Adding garlic paste at this stage gives you a strong garlicky flavor. If you don’t like that you may skip adding it or reduce the quantity but that’s how we like it at home.

7. Pour 1 to 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice or 3 tablespoons of thick yogurt. Pour 3 tablespoons of water (skip if using yogurt). Mix to a smooth paste and keep aside.

8. Pour 1½ tablespoon oil to a wok and heat it. As soon as the oil turns hot, add 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 2 to 3 slit green chilies and a sprig of curry leaves. Fry on a medium heat until the garlic is slightly fragrant.

9. Immediately stir the red chilli paste we made earlier to the pan.

10. Mix well and cook on a low heat until the spicy tempering becomes thick and begins to separate oil, meaning there is no excess moisture in it. It is very much important to cook down the spices to a thick consistency here else your paneer 65 will turn soggy or soft. Taste test and adjust salt as required. Keep this aside.

How to Fry Paneer 65

You may skip the next 3 steps and add the flour and salt directly over the paneer. Sprinkle water and coat the paneer. But to make a larger batch these steps work well. Also sometimes too much mixing is going to crumble the paneer so these steps make sense to me.

11. To fry paneer, to a small bowl add the cornstarch, salt and rice flour. If you do not have cornstarch you may use all purpose flour. Pour ¼ cup water.

12. Mix together to make a thick batter, adding more water if required. The Consistency should be neither too thick nor too runny. Dip a spoon and check, it should coat the back of the spoon. If you want to air fry or bake these, keep the batter a bit on the thicker side.

13. Pour this over the marinated paneer.

14. Coat the paneer with the batter. If required, you may splash some water to help spread the batter well. I did splash a bit.

15. Pour oil in a deep pan or pot and begin to heat it on a medium flame. Try using a smaller pot so you won’t need a lot of oil. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a small portion of the batter to the oil. It should sizzle and rise to the surface without browning.

Gently drop paneer pieces one by one, making sure each piece is coated well with the batter. Also space them apart while adding to the hot oil to prevent them from clumping up. After adding to the oil, do not disturb (do not stir) for 3 mins. Later turn them to the other side and fry.

16. Remove to a wired rack or steel colander, when they turn crisp and golden. Fry all of the paneer in batches.

17. Turn off the heat. Place the curry leaves in the frying skimmer and gently lower to the oil. Make sure you pat dry the leaves before frying, else they will splash hot oil.

18. Once crisp remove to a serving plate.

19. Now place the deseeded, slit green chilies (pat dry first) in the hot oil and fry until blistered. Remove to a plate. If you want you can also fry the garlic the same way (if you skip the tempering)

If you have not made the tempering, serve paneer 65 straight away with a garnish of fried curry leaves and green chilies. Sprinkle some lemon juice and enjoy with fresh cut onions.

20. Add the fried paneer to the tempering and toss well to coat all of the paneer. Taste test and add the crushed pepper & salt if required. These remain crisp for about 20 to 30 mins in warmer temperatures. Add the fried paneer to the tempering only when you are ready to serve. You can keep the fried paneer in the warm oven and later toss with the masala.

Serve immediately as paneer 65 will begin to soften upon cooling.

Paneer 65 fry recipe made with paneer, flour and spices

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

paneer 65 recipe

Paneer 65 Fry

Crisp fried paneer chunks sauted and seasoned in 65 masala. Paneer 65 fry is a delicious starter from South Indian Cuisine. Serve it as a appetizer, snack or side with a meal.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings3
AuthorSwasthi

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

To marinate

  • 200 grams paneer (7 oz.)
  • 1 ½ to 2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (¾ to 1 tsp each)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¾ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 sprig curry leaves fine chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar

To make the batter

  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • ¼ cup water

Other ingredients

  • ½ to 1 cup oil for frying, depending on the size of pan
  • 1 to 2 sprigs curry leaves (pat dry)
  • 4 to 5 green chilies (slit, deseeded & pat dry)

To Temper (refer notes)

  • 1 ½ tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (chopped)
  • 1 to 2 green chilies (slit, deseeded for low heat)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder (Kashmiri)
  • ½ tablespoon garlic paste or grated (optional, refer notes)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vinegar (or lemon juice or 3 tablespoons thick curd, refer notes)
  • 3 tablespoons water (skip if using curd/ yogurt)

Instructions

  • Dice paneer to ¾ inch pieces and add them to a mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients mentioned for marinade – ginger garlic paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala, red chilli powder, turmeric, chopped curry leaves and salt.
  • Toss the paneer with all the ingredients we just added so the spices coat all the paneer well. Sprinkle lemon juice or vinegar and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Toss again and set aside as long as you like. (up to 48 hours in the fridge.)

Temper

  • Tempering paneer 65 is optional but this makes a lot of difference to the dish. If you want to skip you may skip this section and head over to frying paneer section directly.
  • Prepare the red chilli paste by mixing the red chilli powder, garlic paste, sugar, salt, vinegar (or yogurt) and water in a small bowl. Keep this aside.
  • Pour 1 ½ tablespoons oil to a wok and heat it. Add the chopped garlic, green chilies and curry leaves. Fry until the garlic begins to smell good.
  • Lower the flame. Stir and pour the sauce we made. Cook this on a medium heat until oil separates from the thick sauce. At this stage the sauce should be essentially thick to keep your final paneer 65 crisp and not runny. (check stepwise pictures in the post) Turn off the heat.

How to Fry Paneer 65

  • Add flour and salt to a small bowl and pour water. Mix together to make a thick batter, it should be of neither too thick nor runny. If you dip a spoon into the batter, it should coat the back of the spoon. (Check stepwise pictures in the post) To make the air fryer version, it needs to be more on the thicker side as this prevents the batter from dripping.
  • Pour this batter over the marinated paneer and give a gentle mix. If you feel the batter is too thick and does not spread, add a splash of water. It may need a few tablespoons at this stage.
  • Heat oil in a deep pot or pan for frying. If you want you may shallow fry in 3 tablespoons of oil. Test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small portion of batter to the hot oil, it should sizzle and come up without turning brown.
  • Regulate the flame to medium. Gently pick up each pieces of paneer, making sure it is well coated with the batter, gently drop it to hot oil. Make sure you put them away from each other so they don’t stick.
  • Do not crowd the pan by adding a lot of pieces. Do not disturb for 3 minutes, meaning do not stir.
  • Later gently turn them to the other side and fry until crisp and golden. Remove to a wired rack or steel colander.
  • Fry the paneer in batches until all of them are done. Turn off the heat and place the curry leaves (pat dry first) in the frying skimmer and gently down to the hot oil. They will fry and become crisp, remove to the plate.
  • Repeat frying by placing the slit and deseeded green chilies (pat dry first) in the skimmer and lower them to the hot oil. Fry them until blistered.
  • If you don’t want to temper, you may serve the paneer 65 fry as is. If you have made the spicy tempering, add your paneer 65 to it and toss until well coated. Serve it immediately.
  • Garnish paneer 65 with fried green chilies and curry leaves, Squeeze some lemon juice and serve alongside fresh cut onions.

To Air Fry

  • Keep the tempering ready first.
  • Preheat your air fryer for 10 mins at 400 F or 200 C. Spray oil and begin to place each piece of paneer in the basket/tray, spacing them apart. For the air fry version, I have felt keeping the pieces slightly bigger and the batter a bit thicker works well.
  • Air fry for 6 to 7 mins. Turn them to the other side and continue to air fry for another 3 mins , until crisp and cooked through. Adjust the air frying time depending on the size of your fryer. Smaller fryer requires a bit lesser temperature and lesser cook time.
  • Toss the paneer 65 in the tempering and serve immediately.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Paneer 65 Fry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 354 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 44mg15%
Sodium 877mg38%
Potassium 41mg1%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 382IU8%
Vitamin C 50mg61%
Calcium 340mg34%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Paneer 65 Recipe first published in August 2012. Updated and Republished in June 2022.

Paneer 65 Fry

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.

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Thanks for a step by step process. For Paneer 65, do we need to marinate after coating the paneer before shallow frying the paneer?

5 stars
Excellent way to demonstrate each and every recipe. It looks so yam. Thanks a lotz its all time favourite recipe of children.👍🙏

Hi Swathi! Thank you for the amazing recipes as always. I have an urgent question because I have a party tomorrow: can I make this in advance and serve a few hours later? Will this make the paneer too soft or too hard when I reheat? Thanks in advance

5 stars
Very Nice –

5 stars
Thanks for sharing the recipe. Me and my daughter loved it!!!

5 stars
Hi Swasthi,

I started following up every recipie of yours and loving the step by step
Its very easy to make, Thanks for the wonderful way of teaching

Can I avoid corn flour in this recipe. Pl advice

5 stars
made this yesterday for some guests. The review was it was great. Didnt get a chance to taste it as my guests consumed it all 🙂 thanks for the pictures at various stages of cooking which is very helpful. Keep up the good work

Wonderful ideas to taste.hats off

Wonderful ideas to taste.hats off

5 stars
Made paneer 65 for bday party today. Followed ur recipe but doubled the ingredients as guests were many and it was super tasty !!!!. everone liked it and the dish was finished in minutes. Thank u swasthi 🙂

5 stars
So delicious n mouthwatering. Thank you sooo much.

5 stars
Just have to say that you are a genius!

Just tried doing this , took all of 25 mins and it turned out to be better than what I have had in restaurant.

Going to try it again tomorrow and will ask my wife to taste it. Thanks a ton!

5 stars
Swasthi super asalu . Just like resturant thank u for the recipe ra

5 stars
Following badam halwa, paneer 65 is also a hit. Thank u for wonderful , easy to cook recipes.

I made a paneer chilli it was um

Very nice recipes getting to knowledge to cook……

5 stars
Soo delicious n mouthwatering

5 stars
V nyc n yummmmmyyyyy recipes…

5 stars
Wow very tasty paneer 65 never had before anything like this. Thanks

It looks very inviting dear. Never made this before., definitely try it soon. 🙂