2 Delicious Ways to Cook Paneer

You can use paneer much the same way you use tofu — add whatever sauces or spices you like.
Image Credit: Kailash Kumar/iStock/GettyImages

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's 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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1. Saag Paneer (Paneer With Spinach)

Things You'll Need

  • 8 oz. block of paneer

  • Griddle

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

  • 1 lb. baby spinach

  • 4 onions

  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste

  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste

  • 2 green chiles

  • Salt

  • 1 tsp. garam masala

Cooking Instructions

  1. Cut a block of paneer into small cubes, around an inch wide.
  2. Heat a heavy metal griddle pan to a medium-high temperature.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  4. Fry the paneer pieces in the hot oil.
  5. Turn every two minutes until all sides are golden brown.
  6. Remove from the hot pan and leave to one side.
  7. Drop a pound of baby spinach into a pot of boiling, salted water.
  8. Cook for three minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water.
  9. Use a hand blender or food processor to chop the spinach into a wet, rough paste.
  10. Chop four onions into small pieces and fry in a large pan containing vegetable oil for about 6 minutes or until soft.
  11. Add 1 tablespoon of both ginger and garlic paste and 4 tablespoons of water.
  12. Bring water to the boil.
  13. Drop in two whole chilis and 2 teaspoons of coriander powder.
  14. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt.
  15. Fold in the spinach and allow some of the water to evaporate from the pot.
  16. Put the paneer cubes into the pot and mix well.
  17. Add 1 teaspoon of garam masala powder.
  18. Heat through and serve immediately.

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Tip

Add heavy cream to your spinach and pea dishes for a richer, creamier taste.

2. Matar Paneer (Paneer and Peas)

Things You'll Need

  • 8 oz. block of paneer

  • Griddle

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

  • 2 onions

  • 3 tomatoes

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1-inch piece of ginger

  • 1/4 cup of plain yogurt

  • 1 tsp. coriander

  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala

  • 1 cup of peas

  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder

Cooking Instructions

  1. Cut a block of paneer into small cubes, around an inch wide.
  2. Heat a heavy metal griddle pan to a medium-high temperature.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  4. Fry the paneer pieces in the hot oil.
  5. Turn every two minutes until all sides are golden brown.
  6. Remove from the hot pan and leave to one side.
  7. 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.
  8. Cook the mixture in a hot pan until thick.
  9. Add 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon of coriander and 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder. Mix in a cup of peas and cook for 5 minutes.
  10. Put the paneer into the pea mix.
  11. Add 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala powder and cook until the paneer is hot and soft.
  12. Serve in small bowls or alongside rice.

Warning

Watch out for spitting fat from the paneer. Wear an apron and don't heat the pan too high.

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