If you’re a regular on my blog or my Instagram profile you’re probably aware that paneer makes special appearances on them frequently. Paneer ranks high amongst my most favourite list of foods, its versatility and taste vigorously clinching this position for it. It is my go-to ingredient whenever I’m in a fix and never disappoints. The best part; it saves me a trip to the supermarket even for party food preparations and can easily be made at home! 🙂
Paneer, also known as cottage cheese, is made by curdling milk with the help of an acid like lemon juice or vinegar. The separated whey is pressed firmly to remove all remaining traces of water and is then formed into a block. Paneer has a distinct rich taste and is one of the best protein sources for vegetarians. It also has a high fat and cholesterol content making it slightly undesirable for regular consumption.
“Paneer is to vegetarians what chicken is to non-vegetarians and both taste fairly similar”, or so my friends said. It finds a place of envy in almost every fancy veg meal and manages to steal to show. For starters, you can marinate and grill it, make cutlets or pakoras out of it or toss it with Chinese sauces. Paneer parathas or kulchas with curd and salad on the side can be quite filling. Sweet or spicy, white, red or yellow, basic or elaborate, all gravies taste awesome with paneer chunks in them. Desserts get a dash of richness with its addition as well. So there, a complete paneer meal at your service. Neat, yes? 🙂
I relied heavily on a nearby dairy for our paneer supply until A Jr came into our lives. Born underweight, his health was always a matter of concern for me. While I toiled away to lose weight, I struggled to make him gain even more. Calorie-dense foods, nuts, dates, milk, fruits etc had to be pushed down his throat since this boy shook his head for everything. I must confess, I wouldn’t be half the cook I am today had it not been for him. Not only did I innovate new recipes for him but also successfully learnt to hide stuff in food.
Angel, a foodie like me, gives splendid company to this now-reformed boy. Whenever we eat out both of them claim the menus after which a spirited discussion ensues between them. A and I observe amusingly when she counters A Jr’s Paneer achari tikka with its Pudina version (as if they really know the difference!). We quietly place our orders and let them continue. 😉 Throughout our meal this battle of one-upmanship doesn’t cease, reminding me of Catherine Zeta Jones in No Reservations. 😛
Tofu, a distant relative of paneer made from soy milk, is fast gaining popularity for its additional health benefits. It has fewer calories and higher protein content than paneer. I’ve inculcated it in my cooking and used it in rice, pizzas and stir fries. Personally though, my vote will always rest with paneer for its rich taste and soft heavenly texture.
My kitchen has witnessed the making of a wide variety of paneer dishes and wider smiles after their consumption. 🙂 Sauté paneer cubes in a pan and mildly favour them with herbs or hurl some veggies in with them, you can never go wrong. My brood loves them in biryani and as filling in frankies and dosas. The possibilities you can work them with are endless. What better way to make food healthier and tastier, right?
Do you like paneer too? Which is your favourite paneer dish? Do tell me.
This post is written for #BlogchatterA2Z and #AtoZChallenge for April 2019