Sunday, January 17, 2021

Priceless paneer

Reading Time: 4 minutesA delicious treat, SOWPERNICA coverts this dairy-based food into a variety of dishes

Paneer is a very popular food in almost every Indian home, and great source of protein, besides being very neutral and versatile. Paneer can beautifully blend itself with a wide range of ingredients to produce mouth-watering results. No wonder it has carved a niche for itself in the vegetarian world.

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Paneer is a mild cheese that can be prepared at home from pressed milk curds, made by curdling milk with an acid, generally lemon juice or diluted vinegar, instead of rennet. The acid helps the paneer hold its shape so that it doesn’t melt, making it good for grilling and frying. My hunt for different paneer recipes began when my 8-year-old suddenly took a fancy for it and is now totally crazy for the food. I have a paneer recipe at least once a week in my cooking schedule, and have gone beyond the standard recipes like kadhai paneer and paneer butter masala. Below are a few unusual recipes that would delight your family and liven up your cooking.


Methi Channa Paneer

This mouth-watering preparation of paneer and channa coupled along with the goodness of methi, can be served with rice or roti.

2 cups chickpeas (channa)

1 cup paneer (cut into small cubes)

1 big onion (finely chopped)

1 midsized tomato (finely chopped)

2 cups methi leaves (or 2 frozen cubes)

3 to 4 teaspoons oil

For the masala, grind to a coarse paste

1 inch piece ginger

2 cloves garlic

1 heaped tsp chilli powder

1 heaped tsp coriander powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp garam masala powder

Grind into a paste

A handful of boiled channa

4 to 5 cut paneer cubes

For the tempering, grind to a coarse powder

2 cinnamon sticks

4 cloves

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

Soak dried chickpeas (channa) overnight or for at least 5 to 6 hours. Place in a pressure cooker and boil for 4 to 5 whistles. Keep aside. Heat oil in a deep non-stick pan. Add the coarsely ground masala mixture and fry for a minute. Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until transparent. Next, add the tomatoes with salt according to your taste and sauté until the oil separates from the mix. Now add the methi leaves and the ground paste of channa and paneer cubes, and fry for 2 minutes. Add the paneer cubes and boiled channa, simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.


Pudina Paneer

This exotic blend of paneer and pudina (mint leaves) creates a preparation with a delicious aroma and taste.

1½ cups paneer cubes

2 midsized onions

2 midsized tomatoes

½ bunch finely chopped mint leaves

2 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves

2 tsp oil

1¾ tsp salt

1tbsp curd

½ tsp chilli powder

1½ tsp coriander powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

For the tempering

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

1 clove

Grind for the masala

2 small cloves garlic

1 inch piece ginger

1 tsp pepper

½ tsp cumin seeds

Heat oil in a deep non-stick pan. Add seasoning ingredients above and the ground masala mixture, and fry for a minute. Add finely chopped onions and chilli, coriander and turmeric powders, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add finely chopped tomatoes, salt to taste and sauté till the tomatoes melt and the raw smell of the ingredients disappears. Add paneer cubes, finely chopped mint leaves and curd, and sauté for just 2 minutes. Take off the fire, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rotis.


Paneer Biryani

An unusual biryani recipe, ideal to make for guests

1½ cup rice

2 medium-sized onions

2 tomatoes

10 teaspoons oil

2 pieces cinnamon
2 pieces cloves

3 pieces bay leaves

2 pieces cardamom

1 heaped tbsp thick curds

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp lemon juice

2½ tsp salt

½ bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped

1 bunch mint leaves, finely chopped

For the marinade

1 cup paneer cubes

2 heaped tbsp yogurt

1 tsp coriander powder

½ tsp chilli powder

¼ tsp garam masala powder

½ tsp salt

Grind to a masala paste

3 green chillies

3 cloves garlic

1 inch piece ginger


Soak the rice for half hour.

Prepare the marinade, add paneer cubes and store overnight in the fridge.

Heat a little oil in a non-stick tawa and add paneer cubes. Fry on low flame till the cubes turn golden brown. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a separate kadhai, add cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom and fry for a minute. Add the ground masala paste and sauté for 2 minutes. Add onions fry for 2 more minutes. Next, add the tomatoes, salt, coriander, chilli and garam masala powders, and sauté for till tomatoes soften and blend with the mix. Add chopped mint and coriander leaves, sauté for a minute. Add lemon juice and yogurt, sauté for 2 minutes. Add the mix to the uncooked rice and put the mixture in an electric rice cooker. Add 1½ cups of water, set the rice cooker to cook mode.

Once cooked, add in the paneer cubes and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves and Serve hot with raita.



Paneer and Carrot Rotis

½ cup grated carrot

1 cup grated paneer

2 cups atta (wheat flour)

1½ tsp salt

1tsp ajwain (omam)

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp coriander powder

¼ tsp garam masala powder

3 tsps crushed kasoori methi

Water, as needed

Oil to toast

Mix together all the ingredients. Add water in small quantities and knead mix into a soft dough. Divide the dough equally into smaller portions shaped like balls. Roll out and make rotis. Toast on tawa with a teaspoon of oil for each paratha. Serve hot with pickle/raita.





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