Friday, March 31, 2017

14 Paneer recipes

Indian cuisine is well known for offering a wide range of vegetarian dishes for its massive population that relies purely on meat free diet. An array of lentils and beans, an abundance of seasonal vegetables and paneer along with a wide selection of herbs and spices form the backbone of Indian vegetarian cuisine.  
Indian cottage cheese or paneer is fresh cheese that can be easily made at home and requires no aging. It has a mild taste and  and soaks up the flavor of the spices its cooked in. It holds up well to frying and grilling and so is a great choice for curries and BBQ. This versatile ingredients is used to make a wide array of dishes ranging from starters to main dish to dessert. A fave among all you can find it in restaurant meals, home cooked food and street food.
Here is a collection of paneer recipes ranging from starters to main dish to dessert. Click on the titles to go to their detailed recipes. Happy cooking. 
These mini paneer cutlets are super cute and super yummy. A great appetizer dish that you can make ahead. Make them bigger to use as a burger patty. The main ingredient in here is grated paneer which constitutes almost 70% of the mix. Add a little potato to help bind the mixture. Apart from these you can add any veggie combination you like. Carrots, peas, beans, leeks, etc. Make sure to lightly steam or microwave cook the beans and peas before adding to the mix.

Tandoori paneer tikka
Soft chunks of paneer marinated in hung yogurt based marinade with tandoori masala and grilled to perfection with onions and peppers. Often served as a starter, paneer tikka has the char broiled flavor of the tandoor (clay oven) and is a great vegetarian alternative for BBQ. Marinated cubes of paneer are threaded through the skewers along with red onions, pepper chunks and mushrooms and grilled till they sizzle. Serve them with mint chutney as a starter and with Plain naan as a meal.

Haryali paneer tikka
Hara bhara paneer tikka or haryali paneer tikka is made with an array of herbs and spices and tastes fresh and herbaceous. I use hung yogurt as the base for the marinade. You can also use sour cream if you wish. Grid the green marinade fine using as little water as possible.
Tikkas are served as starters with drinks or as an accompaniment to the meal with raw red onion rings, salad greens, mint chutney, hot dipping sauce and even small bites of naan. Give hot tikkas a drizzle of lime juice and a sprinkle of chaat masala (a mix of spices with mango powder, cumin, black salt) for an exquisite flavor.
Kali mirch paneer tikka
Kali mirch paneer tikka is simple and quick to make. The coarse texture of peppercorns infuse a gentle heat to the succulent paneer pieces and red and green peppers add to the smoky charred flavor. Tikkas are served as starters with drinks or as an accompaniment to the meal with raw red onion rings, salad greens, mint chutney, hot dipping sauce and even small bites of naan. Give hot tikkas a drizzle of lime juice & a sprinkle of chaat masala for an exquisite flavor.

A flavorful dish to serve with naan or roti, karahi paneer has its roots in Mughlai cooking. Succulnt pieces of paneer and smoky peppers are cooked in a tangy tomato sauce with a hint of creaminess. Adjust the consistency as per your taste.

Matar paneer
Matar paneer is a tomato based peas and paneer curry from North India. Fried cubes of paneer and peas are simmered in an onion, tomato, ginger and garlic based gravy spiced with cumin, cloves, cinnamon and green chilies.

Detailed recipe

Palak paneer 
Spinach with cottage cheese is a rustic dish and an old favorite of Punjab (North India). Lightly fried cubes of paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and pureed spinach are simmered in an onion tomato gravy till flavors blend in. Palak paneer goes well with roti, paratha, naan and jeera rice with a side of raw onion rings and crisp green chilies. I make palak paneer in two different ways. One the more traditional recipe and the other a stir fried version which is much healthier and less calorie dense. Its not as creamy as the other version but taste awesome for those quick meals. So call it the shortcut method. Make sure to try them both.

Detailed recipe
Chaulia Paneer
This dish is very similar to matar paneer. Just use chaulia (green chickpeas) instead of peas. Fried cubes of paneer and chaulia are simmered in an onion, tomato, ginger and garlic based gravy spiced with cumin, cloves, cinnamon and green chilies. So shallow fry paneer cubes till lightly golden and keep aside. Make the gravy and add chaulia. Add the fried paneer and simmer for a bit to allow the flavors to blend in. Do not overcook the paneer as it gets rubbery. Serve with cumin rice or roti.

Detailed recipe

Paneer Stuffed Indian peppers

Stuffed peppers are a fave all over the world. A variety of fillings find their way into these beauties both vegetarian and meat fillings. Flavored with cheese, tomato and spices you can fill them with almost anything - beans, rice, ground chicken, quinoa or a combination of these; they all taste awesome.

Detailed recipe

Shahi paneer
Shahi paneer means a royal paneer curry. This tomato and yogurt based creamy dish with cubed paneer has a definite Mughal influence. It is mildly sweet in taste. Sweet nuttiness comes from the cashew paste, slight sour from the yogurt and rich smoothness from the cream

Detailed recipe

Methi Chaman
Methi chaman is from the Kshmiri kitchen. Fresh methi greens are cooked with fried cubed paneer and buttermilk and flavored with bold spices such as ginger and fennel powder. There are several variations to this dish. You can use half methi and half spinach leaves to reduce bitterness and make it more kid friendly. You can also puree the greens rather than chop them. This makes for a smooth gravy like dish.

Detailed recipe 

Malai kofta (paneer kofta curry)
Malai Kofta is a dish for special occasions and is a vegetarian version of meatballs. Koftas are fried dumplings. More popularly recognized as meatballs, koftas can be made from different ingredients such as lamb, chicken, vegetables, paneer. Fried koftas are immersed in rich silky gravy and accompanied by naan, tandoori roti or cumin rice.

Detailed recipe

Kalakand is a soft,moist delicious dessert very popular all over India specially during festivals and celebrations. Traditionally its made by boiling milk down to half its volume and combining it with paneer or cottage cheese, a tedious and long process. But a much simpler microwave version of the recipe takes about quarter the time and comes out as delicious. I have written down both recipes and have also tried both. The results are almost same. Try this recipe during the festive season this year and enjoy.

Detailed recipe
Coconut Laddo
For a real quick and delicious dessert make these bite sized delights. This is an almost no cook dish which is ready in minutes and tastes very delectable. Serve them at room temperature for a melt in the mouth treat.

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