If you are a paneer fan, this one is for you. If you do not quite fancy paneer, you must try this out. It might just melt your heart.
Paneer or cottage cheese, lends itself to quite a variety of dishes. Fry it, grill it, barbeque it; cook it dry or put it in gravy; combine it with peas, capsicum, spinach, potatoes or mushroom; make it spicy, make it sweet… One such dish is the paneer bhurji. Easy to make and full of taste and health.
Since paneer is made of milk, it is naturally rich in calcium. Paneer is also a very good source of protein for those who don’t eat meat. It strengthens bones and teeth. The protein in this dairy product supports muscle growth. Milk also has other nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin B12 and vitamin A. It is also diabetes friendly. Since paneer is low on carb and high on protein, it ensures that the energy is released in small amounts into the body without any spikes in the blood sugar levels. This is unlike certain foods which release a burst of energy that peaks fast and dies down as quickly.
100 grams of paneer has 127 milligrams of calcium, 161 milligrams of potassium and 101 milligrams of phosphorous. Phosphorous works with calcium for stronger bones. It has 4.60 milligrams of cholesterol.
You can either buy paneer from the market or make your own. It comes in air tight packets across brands. It is also sold fresh and by weight. To make your own paneer, all you need is milk and lemon juice.
- Boil some milk and add lemon juice.
- Stir well until the milk curdles and small mounds start forming.
- If needed, add more lemon juice, so that all the milk curdles.
- Drain it with a muslin cloth and tie up the cloth.
- Hang the paneer for 10- 15 minutes for all the whey water to drain out. This is needed for the paneer to solidify. Some prefer to place a weight over the cloth instead of hanging it for faster results. You can refrigerate the solidified paneer overnight.
By the way, the whey water (liquid remaining after milk is curdled) can be used to make a light and tasty kadi-pakori. The whey water can also be used to knead dough for making soft and delicious parathas and rotis.
Your home-made paneer is now ready to be transformed into paneer bhurji.
Here is a recipe that serves 2 people –
- 200 grams of shredded paneer
- 1.5 tablespoon of oil or butter
- ½ teaspoon of jeera or cumin seeds
- 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon of grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon of garlic paste 2 medium sized tomatoes finely chopped
¼ cup of chopped capsicum (Capsicum is rich in vitamin C, which improves immunity. It is also rich in potassium, which increases your metabolism rate. Potassium keeps muscle tissues in good condition and prevents frequent cramps.)
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- ½ tablespoon of red chilli powder or finely chopped green chillies
- ½ tablespoon of garam masala powder (you can add as per taste)
- Salt to taste
- Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing
1. Heat the oil in a pan and add jeera.
2. Once you hear the jeera spluttering, add the chopped onions.
3. Make sure you sauté them only until they turn light brown or translucent. This usually takes 2- 3 minutes.
4. Add the grated ginger and garlic paste and sauté until the raw smell wears off.
5. Add tomatoes, haldi and salt. Stir continuously for 2- 3 minutes.
6. Add the capsicum and keep frying until the capsicum turns soft.
7. Add chilli powder or green chillies and garam masala. Keep stirring.
8. Make sure that the shredded or crumbled paneer is completely dry. Add it to the mixture and sauté until all the ingredients have completely blended.
9. Ensure that you don’t over fry it. Paneer tends to turn rubbery when over-cooked.
10. Add the coriander leaves and serve hot.
Paneer bhurji can be served with roti, rice or pav. You can use it as a stuffing in dosa and samosa or even in paratha rolls.
The same recipe and method can be used for egg bhurji. Use well beaten eggs instead of paneer.
Alternatives and variations
1. Tofu can be used in place of paneer.
Tofu looks very much like paneer. It is made from soya milk, as opposed to cow or buffalo milk that is used to make paneer. Although tofu has lower protein content, it has very low calories, making it perfect for people trying to lose weight. Tofu is also cholesterol-free. If you don’t mind the mild differences in taste, tofu is the perfect alternative to paneer.
100 grams of tofu contains 162 milligrams of calcium, 142 grams of phosphorous and 176 milligrams of potassium.
2. Olive oil can be used for a healthy alternative.
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants which benefit more than just your heart. It also helps in arresting aging and prevents hair loss. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which are healthier than saturated or trans fats. Monounsaturated fat reduces the risk of a stroke and other heart diseases.
3. Add ½ tablespoon of kasoori methi for extra flavouring.
Apart from taste, kasoori methi (or dried fenugreek leaves) has many health benefits. Methi helps reduce LDL– the bad cholesterol. Like most other spices, methi also has strong antioxidant properties. It also helps keep the platelet count in check, reducing the risk of sudden blood clots in the arteries.