Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Paneer Do Piaza - An Indian Lunch

Bollywood Cooking – Spicy Two Onion Cheese Stir Fry



Paneer is the same for Indians as what mozzarella is for the Italians, the camembert is for the French and the Gouda is for the Dutch.

Paneer can be compared to cottage cheese and is made very simply in the traditional way by processing the curds of buffalo's milk. The result is a firm cheese, not dissimilar to the mozzarella, which does not melt - making it suitable for use in curries and other savoury dishes.


Indians love their paneer and it is widely used in Indian cuisine. You will often find it in some mouthwatering Indian dishes like the ever popular palak paneer, matter paneer (paneer with peas), paneer bhurji (grated paneer often served with vegetables), paneer tikka masala, (barbecued paneer) and many more.

In the Bengal region paneer is also known as chenna, where delicious tasting sweet dishes are made with this soft silky cheese. Rasgulla (balls of paneer in a sweet sauce, called chashni) and ras malai (flat, round paneer in a sweet creamy sauce) are probably “everyone’s darling” and among the most well known desserts made with paneer.

Making this type of cheese, which is rich in protein, at home is very easy. My advice would be, by making double amounts, as paneer freezes well, you will be able to enjoy quick paneer dishes in minutes.

Paneer Do Piaza (02)


Like this particular dish. A simple dish that took just about 15 minutes to prepare but offers the fullest satisfaction to fulfil my cravings for a quick Indian meal.

I had made a large amount of paneer and frozen it in batches. One lunch time I had my crazy cravings strike me and I was about to reach out to call our favourite Indian restaurant. Then I remembered I had all that lovely paneer in the freezer. I also found a few different varieties of onions in my pantry and a lot of red chillies. The rest I left to my creativity.

Enjoy.


Reminder!

Just about a week to go before the deadline! So get cooking for a good cause.
Earth Food is all about helping raise awareness for the steps and actions we can take to save our beautiful blue planet. Hope you will find it in your hearts to party with me.
Deadline is August 6th!




Paneer Do Piaza (06)



Making Paneer

Ingredients:
2 l full cream dairy milk
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon/lime juice

Method:
Gently warm the milk over a medium flame. Just before it starts to boil, add the lemon/lime juice and stir well. The curd will separate from the whey in about 5-7 minutes.
The curd is the lumpy white mass, the whey is the yellow/greenish liquid. Once the curd has completely separated, drain off the whey, retaining the curd, using a strainer or a sieve lined with a white cotton/muslin cloth (cheesecloth). Run some cold water on the curd to cool it down.
Save the whey, as it has some nutritional value and can be used when preparing soups or lentils.

Remove any remaining whey from the curd by pressing it with the back of a spoon. Tie up the curd in the cheesecloth and hang up the bundle so it can drip for 2 to 3 hours. Placing a bowl underneath to catch the drips of whey is a good idea. At this stage,the curd can be referred to as 'paneer'.

Gently flatten the paneer, still wrapped up loosely in the cloth, to make a patty shape. Put it on a plate and put a heavy weight on it. Tilt the plate to one side, so that any whey which is squeezed out can drain off. Leave for four or five hours. Cut into cubes of desired size.

If you are using the paneer – or in this case, the chenna - to make sweet desserts, you do not need to flatten it. The chenna is ready to be used after the dripping stage.

Paneer, unlike other cheeses, has not been matured and is rather bland. If you keep it refrigerated it will last for 5 to 5 days. You can also freeze it for about a month - but once it has defrosted don't freeze it again.

My tip: Freeze the paneer in cubes and portioned into a plastic freezer bag.

Also check out Jai and Bee’s great Paneer making tips.





Spicy Paneer Do Piaza

Paneer Do Piaza (04)


Ingredients

100g paneer cubes
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon black cumin seeds
1 bunch of spring onions – green and white parts chopped
2 red onions – finely sliced
2 red chillies – slit sown the middle and then chopped
Bunch fresh coriander leaves - chopped
Salt and black pepper



Method

Paneer Do Piaza (05)


In a wok, kadai or a shallow saucepan heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds and allow them to pop and release their aroma. Tip in the spring onions and red onions and stir fry until soft. Add the paneer cubes and allow to brown gently. The paneer should take on a light golden color.

Stir in the chillies and season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with the coriander leaves.

Serve hot, with fresh rotis or flat bread.



Verdict



This was my quick lunch and I enjoyed every bite of it. Do not the simplicity of the ingredients or cooking method mislead you. This is and extremely flavourful dish. The sweetness of the onions harmonizes perfectly with the spicy chillies. The paneer gives it an incredible texture.

More Indian Cuisine on WFLH:
Mouthwatering Chicken Curry
Tasty Channa Masala
Comforting Egg & Mushroom Roll
Warming Masala Chai

I’d like to send this as my entry to this month’s Jihva being hosted by Nandita of Saffron Trail. Nandita has chosen the wonderful hot ingredient Chillies.


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All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2007 Meeta Albrecht unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

31 comments :

  1. Paneer do puaza looks great! Nice n beautiful pics Meeta!

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  2. Looks tasty Meeta! Roti's look very tempting too...

    Kanchana

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  3. nice one, meeta. i've got some panner in the freezer. will try this.

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  4. Yummy! Meeta, I love it when you whip up some Indian food! :D

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  5. Simple and looks yummy! :) I love adding capsicum to this dish and loads of pepper and making it extra hot! Love the burst of flavours in the mouth! mmm!

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  6. thats a beauty of paneer... goes very well with any other ingredients.
    love this recipe meeta. its a perfect example to show how simple indian cooking can be.

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  7. I made my own paneer once. My Indian sister-in-law's mum told me how to do it. Funnily enough I've been talking with Asha about it, only a few days ago. I think it's time I tried making it again. Your Do Piaza looks really good too!

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  8. are you serious?!?!? paneer is made from just milk and lemon juice?? Years ago, I had this fancy schmancy modern-indian cookbook and I swear Paneer had 6 ingredients and 10 billion steps. I got so frustrated that I ended up throwing it in the yard as fertilizer half way through the recipe. At least the birds liked it.

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  9. Thank you thank you thank you! I love paneer and had no idea it was this easy to make! :) I can literally eat loads of this and everytime I go to my neighborhood Indian restaurant I try a different preparation :) Oh joy! I will make my own! Do you do all the draining it in the fridge? It's quite warm where we live and I wouldn't want to spoil it...

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  10. I love when you make Indian dishes as I have a soft spot for Indian food and paneer especially. Looks very comforting and light a the same time. Love it!

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  11. Thank you for your comments!

    Padma, thanks - it was really great!

    Deborah, It is girl give it a try and you'll see!

    Kanchana, Thank you. I will be doing a BC session about the rotis next month so stay tuned for that!

    Bee, hope you and Jai will enjoy it and also think of me while making it!

    Anh, Hehe! It's not often on the blog I know. But I heard exclusivity keeps people more interested. LOL!

    Shub, Bell peppers are also a great addition. However I wanted o keep this one simple to bring out the flavors of the paneer and onions more.

    Jyo, hope you like it!

    Sia, exactly! I too am learning that LOL!

    Amanda, make it - I find paneer so satisfying!

    Jaden, this is the simplest way to make paneer. But just like any dish you can add different ingredients to give it a variety in taste. For example sometimes you can add cummin seeds, salt and pepper etc. But I prefer to make it this way and then allow the masala or the flavours of the actual dish incorporate with the paneer.
    Hope you give this another try - I am sure you will love it!

    Joey, LOL! Glad you like paneer. Normally I do. I wrap the cloth to a sturdy wooden spoon and then hook the spoon across a deep bowl. Then put it in the fridge for a couple of hours. In the winters I just let it drip in a bowl on the window sill.

    Helene, well it's time we got together! I'll cook Indian food for you and you make the desserts!!

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  12. This looks so yummy! I really love paneer and always wanted to learn how to make it at home! Thanks for the great guide, Meeta!

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  13. this looks good. I have made paneer before, not from buffalo milk though.. =======8O

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  14. Hello:
    Meeta,
    All I can say is that you madam are a true artist. I really thought that, that Paneer was a real flower and after reading all of the comments I find that it was an edible piece. Truly I had to blow it all the way up. wow! absolutely breath taking piece of work.
    I also see that you have a huge following, an artist indeed.
    I just have a simple whole food vitamin blog. It just covers all natural vitamin stuff. Anyone is welcome anytime.
    Thanks
    Donald

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  15. Meeta this looks quite a satisfying dish. All I need now is a cup of tea :)

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  16. Not only does this dish look incredibly delicious but now I really want to try ras malai. It sounds really yummy!

    Ari (Baking and Books)

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  17. Meeta, You don't know how hungry I am after reading your post. Calling Paneer an Indian Favourite is according to me an understatement. For me it is something that transcends the word favourite. My husband says I get this dreamy look on my face even if I am just reading a recipe that has paneer in it. I have a special paneer mold in which you can make the firmest of paneer which can be beautifully cubed. Its easily available in India. Maybe you can buy it when you visit.
    Do come over to my Blog Picnic with some scrumptious picnic food.

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  18. Mmmm, love Indian food (having it tonight actually), but have never had paneer. One of these days...

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  19. Another amazing creation! Looks great.

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  20. oh wow, that looks great Meeta! The whole plate looks very tempting... You are a multi talented chef aren't you? :)

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  21. Wow Meeta! Amazing pictures and recipes. My first time to your blog and I ended up reading post after post and totally forgot to make breakfast..hehehe...Priya

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  22. Looks really delicious, I'd love this, like your presentation too, the colours of the food just jump out :)

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  23. I love paneer, and this looks great, Meeta!

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  24. Thanks everyone for your kinds comments. I hope you have a great time making paneer. If this post helped you to find more courage and motivation then I am really happy that I was able to help!
    Hugs to you all!

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  25. I have been making paneer at home this past year, coz I havent found anything that comes close, here in the UAE. And this recipe is beautiful in its simplicity and wonderful on the palate! We enjoyed this, earlier this week, thank you!

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  26. Aarti, My mum buys some really good paneer in Dubai at her Indian store. She hardly ever makes it at home now. I am glad you liked this recipe though and at least you'll be thinking of me when you make the paneer!

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  27. I've been making fresh ricotta recently and then suddenly it dawned on me that paneer was only a few more steps of draining the whey. I love dishes like this that come together with what's in your fridge to create something so lovely! p.s. Ras Malai is definitely my darling of desserts. Have you made it at home before?

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  28. Nithya, thanks for your comment. Ras malai is one that I need to do on my own. I've made it a few times with my mum but not quite alone. Glad you liked this paneer dish!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta