The vegetarian-friendly Indian cheese paneer comes in firm white blocks. Paneer suits grilling or frying in a griddle pan with a little vegetable oil. However, by itself paneer tastes bland and a little rubbery. Indians rarely eat paneer without some flavoring, and usually it is an ingredient in a more complex dish. For example, paneer is often featured in dishes with spinach, tomato or peas. Other traditional Indian recipes involve grated or shaved paneer.
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Paneer With Spinach
Cut a block of paneer into small cubes, around an inch wide. Heat a heavy metal griddle pan to a medium-high temperature. Add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil. Fry the paneer pieces in the hot oil. Turn every two minutes until all sides are golden brown. Remove from the hot pan and leave to one side.
Drop a pound of baby spinach into a pot of boiling, salted water. Cook for three minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water. Use a hand blender or food processor to chop the spinach into a wet, rough paste.
Chop four onions into small pieces and fry in a large pan containing vegetable oil for around six minutes, or until soft. Add 1 tbsp. of both ginger and garlic paste and 4 tbsp. of water. Bring water to the boil.
Drop in two whole chilis and 2 tsp. of coriander powder. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Fold in the spinach and allow some of the water to evaporate from the pot.
Put the paneer cubes into the pot and mix well. Add 1 tsp. of garam masala powder. Heat through and serve immediately.
Paneer and Peas
Fry cubed paneer in a pan until brown on all sides.
Add 2 onions, 3 tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic and a 1-inch piece of ginger to a food processor, and blend into a chunky paste.
Cook the mixture in a hot pan until thick. Add 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, 1 tsp. of coriander and 1/2 tsp. of chili powder. Mix in a cup of peas and cook for five minutes.
Put the paneer into the pea mix. Add 1/2 tsp. of garam masala powder and cook until the paneer is hot and soft. Serve in small bowls or alongside rice.