Thai Basil Paneer



So this dish kind of reminds me of me. Although the main ingredient is Indian, its fiery flavor is essentially Thai. If you don’t already know, I’m what they call a Thai-Indian.

Even if you’re not from Thailand, I’m sure you’ve heard of the country’s ultimate staple meal – the infamous and delicious Chicken Basil (Krapow Kai) thats overloaded with grease and sodium. For vegetarians, the meat is commonly replaced with tofu or mixed vegetables.

I decided to be a little more bold and experiment with Paneer (fresh Indian Cottage Cheese). I’ve to say its dense yet delicate texture proved to be quite a gratifying alternative. And unlike the way this dish is traditionally cooked with excess amounts of processed condiments, I gave it a clean and healthy yet mouth-watering makeover.

While Paneer is an excellent source of protein and calcium, its still a cheese so consume in moderation at reasonable intervals. And when you do, always go for a low-fat option. Although bland on its own, there’s no need for excess amount of oil or fatty flavorings because it absorbs flavors so well. This dish is a great example of that.

Thai Basil Paneer

Recipe Type: main, low-fat, gluten-free, egg-free


Serves: 2-3


  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat Paneer (fresh, cut into small cubes)
  • 2 tbsp Chili Garlic paste (ingredients below)
  • 1/4 cups Green beans (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cups Baby Corn (finely diced)
  • 1/2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Tamari (gluten-free, more if needed)
  • 1 tsp Coconut Palm Sugar (more if needed)
  • 1 cup Basil (roughly chopped, leaves only)
  • 1 tbsp Big Red Chili (roughly chopped, deseeded)
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1/2 tsp Lime juice
  • Sea Salt (according to taste)
  • Chili Garlic Paste (yield 2 tbsp)
  • Garlic (3 cloves)
  • Basil (1-2 sprigs)
  • Big Red Chili (half of 1, deseeded)
  • Sea Salt (to taste)


  1. Place all ingredients for the chili garlic paste in a pestle & mortar and crush till well combined into a paste.
  2. Add olive oil into a pan over high heat and when the oil starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium, add chili garlic paste and sauté till the garlic softens (approx. 3 mins).
  3. Add baby corn and half of the tamari and continue to stir fry till the baby corn is half cooked (approx. 4-5 mins).
  4. Add green beans and half of the coconut palm sugar. Continue to sauté on lowered heat till the vegetables are cooked but still crunchy (approx. 6-8 minutes) adding half of the basil and season with sea salt (according to taste) mid way through.
  5. Once the vegetables are cooked, add Paneer, the remaining basil and big red chillies. Stir fry gently for a couple of minutes until well combined.
  6. Season with the remaining tamari and coconut palm sugar. Add the water and lime juice. Increase the heat to medium-high, stir well for a few seconds & serve immediately!


Paneer is readily available in most South Asian supermarkets and even normal supermarkets in many countries. If you prefer to make it yourself, click on the link provided on the blog post below this recipe and make sure to follow instruction for the solid version so you can cut it into cubes. Also be sure to use Big Red Chilies in this recipe or it will be too spicy. Remember to go organic whenever you can!

**To make your own low-fat Paneer, click here and be sure to follow instructions for the solid version so you can cut it up into cubes**

Serve it up with some steaming brown rice (or Quinoa for lower carb alternative), top it up with a lightly fried egg and voila, your lunch is ready!

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