Paneer is an unripened cheese that is made from coagulating milk and lemon juice or vinegar. It is hung in muslin so that the excess liquid (whey) separates from the solids and leaves you with the curds which can then be pressed into blocks.
Thanks to its plain flavour and flexibility in form, paneer can be prepared in numerous ways and is always a favourite ingredient for vegetarians.
We have a simple recipe to make your own fresh paneer, but it is also readily available at your local Indian grocery store should you prefer the easy way out!
Here are our top five ways of dressing this simple cheese into a fanciful appetiser or dish that will have your family and guests begging for the recipe.
Paneer Tikka Skewers - This makes for a fun appetiser or even a snack for the kids to come home to. Use our popular Tikka Masala spice blend as a rub to prepare the paneer and then grill on the barbeque, garnish with fresh coriander (not at all controversial) and serve with fresh wedges of lime and thinly sliced raw red onions for that extra burst of flavour.
Paneer Bhurji /Scramble - This is one of my favourite ways of eating paneer! My dad prepares it like how he prepares Akoori - which is scrambled eggs a la Indian. I like to have it with fresh roti or even toast, but sometimes take it for work the next day with rice. The paneer is soft and slightly juicy and I like to put it in slice bread and grill it in the presser. Click here for our Akoori recipe and instead of eggs, use two 250g packets of paneer.
Paneer Paratha - Okay I lied, this too is another one of my favourite ways to enjoy paneer, stuffed in parathas that is! The paneer is crumbled and then added to the dough before flattening it out. You can use raw spices like chilli powder or cumin. We like to use our Jhalfrezi spice blend which you can find here. Click here for the paratha recipe (just substitute the vegetable with paneer). A South Indian version of this is paneer dosa, which is just as scrumptious. Click here for our time-saving dosa batter recipe.
Paneer Butter Masala - Moving into the realm of curries is paneer butter masala! A must have on the menu of almost every Indian restaurant in Australia! Just like its non-vegetarian counterpart (Butter Chicken), this dish always hits the spot if you are craving something hearty and heavy, because it is traditionally prepared with cream. Use our Butter Chicken spice blend to help create this classic in a jiffy (did we mention that Butter Chicken is our best-seller?!)
- Palak Paneer (pictured) - Another curry-based paneer dish boasting beautiful hues of green thanks to the addition of spinach. Click here for our spice blend and an interesting tip on how to get the paneer to remain soft and spongy! Like the dish above, you can enjoy it with rice, roti or my preference - garlic naan!
In all honesty, the simplest and tastiest way to enjoy paneer is to fry it golden in desi ghee and eat it plain like that. It hits the spot any day!
What's your favourite way to enjoy paneer? Comment below and let us know!