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Paneer Bhurji - Spicy Indian cottage cheese curry




Paneer Bhurji is a slightly hot, spicy and easy to prepare curry-based stir-fry cheese. This spicy sauce is made with onions, tomatoes, spices, herbs and yogurt. The recipe is ready in under 30 minutes and makes for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pair it with Chapati, Paratha or Naan to mop up this delicious savory sauce.


What is Paneer Bhurji?

Bhurji means scrambled eggs in Hindi, so this dish is basically scrambled cottage cheese. A perfect spicy savory spice mix of onions, tomatoes, ginger garlic paste, green chilies and various spices is mixed with the Paneer Bhurji.


This tasty dish, like most bhurji recipes, is quick to prepare and ideal for breakfast or as a side dish to a main meal.


You can say that this is the vegetarian version of "Indian style scrambled eggs" that is called Anda Bhurji in Hindi.


I am sharing here the recipe of my mother who prepares this bhurji with gravy or curry (also known as tari or rassa in some Indian languages).


What makes this Paneer Bhurji recipe stand out is that the whole spices are fried first, which gives the dish an aromatic flavor. Fresh yogurt is also included in the curry, which adds a touch of creaminess and a slight spice.


I also use Ghee for this recipe, but you can also use oil. I sometimes add green peas to this recipe as well. Serve this Paneer Bhurji with Chapatior Paratha . This spiced dish also goes very well with bread from the baker.


Ingredients for Paneer Bhurji:

Paneer(Indian cottage cheese): Paneer is a fresh cheese where milk is curdled by adding a food acid (lemon juice or vinegar). Whenever I prepare a dish that uses Paneer, I prefer to use homemade rather than store-bought Paneer because it is tastier and fresher.


Making Paneer from scratch may sound tedious at first, but once you try it, you'll see that it's pretty easy and tastes so good. Follow my simple step-by-step instructions for making Paneer and you'll have a block of homemade Paneer in less than 30 minutes.


Spices: The spices added are the common Indian ground spices like Kashmiri chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and Garam Masala Most of these ground Indian spices are available in supermarkets, Asian stores and even online. For theGaram Masala, I always use homemade Garam Masalain all my recipes.


Onions & Tomatoes: Onions as well as tomatoes are added in many Indian dishes. For onions, you can use red onions, vegetable onions or white onions. Use ripe red tomatoes as they are not too acidic.


For a vegane variation:

  • Swap Paneer for firm tofu

  • Swap ghee for any oil with a neutral flavor

  • Replace yoghurt with cashew or almond yoghurt. You can also omit adding yogurt and drizzle some lemon juice on the sauce as you eat.


Serving suggestions

It is best to eat Paneer Bhurji warm with some bread or Indian breads like Chapati or Paratha . Sometimes I toast slices of bread and top them with Paneer Bhurji, this way you can make Paneer Bhurji sandwiches.


You can also serve it as a side dish with Indian main dishes.



Ingredients for 2 - 3 Portions

  • 2,5 cm cinnamon stick

  • 3 cloves

  • 2 green cardamoms

  • 5 to 6 whole black peppercorns

  • 1 Tej Patta (Indian bay leaf)

  • 2 tbps Ghee or oil

  • 250 g Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) - crumbled

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 1 green chili, finely chopped

  • ½ tsp ginger paste

  • ½ tsp garlic paste

  • 1 tsp coriander powder

  • 1 tsp cumin powder

  • ½ tsp red Kashmiri chili powder

  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder

  • ¼ tsp Garam Masala

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 45g yoghurt

  • ½ cup water

  • 3 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

  • 1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped - optional

  • 2.5 cm fresh ginger bulb - julienne for garnish

Instructions

Heat ghee or oil in a pan.Add the whole spices - 2.5 cm cinnamon, 3 cloves, 2 green cardamom seeds, 5 to 6 black peppercorns and 2 small tej patta or 1 medium to large tej patta. Fry until the spices release their fragrance.


Now add the finely chopped onions and stir everything very well. Fry the onions over medium heat until light golden, stirring frequently.

Then add the chopped green chilies and ginger paste and garlic paste. Fry everything for 10 seconds until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic disappears.

Add in the finely chopped tomatoes and mix everything well. Keep frying the onion-tomato mixture until the tomatoes soften and you see oil being released from the sides of the masala.

Stir in the ground spices - coriander powder, cumin powder, Kashmiri chili powder, turmeric powder and Garam Masala- and continue to sauté for a minute over low to medium heat.

Keep the heat on low and now add the fresh yogurt. Once you add the yoghurt, stir the onion-tomato-spice-yoghurt mixture quickly and vigorously.

Add water and mix well again.Add 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves and mix again.

Bring the curry (sauce) to a simmer over low to medium heat. Then add the crumbled Paneer and salt. Stir very well and simmer for about 1 minute until the Paneer is soft. Be careful not to cook for long, as the Paneer will become tough.

Turn off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves and mix Paneer Bhurji.

Garnish with ginger strips and serve with Chapati, Paratha ,Naan or bread from bakery.


Tips

  • To have a thicker gravy, add less water.

  • Remove the seeds and white part of the green chili to reduce the heat.

For a vegan version:

  • Swap Paneer for firm tofu.

  • Swap ghee for any neutral-flavored oil.

  • Replace yoghurt with cashew or almond yoghurt. You can also omit adding yoghurt and drizzle some lemon juice on the sauce as you eat it.




I look forward to hearing from you...

...if you like my blog, my recipes inspire you and your curiosity for Indian cuisine has been piqued.


Feel free to give me feedback if you would like to share your cooking accomplishments or have a suggestion for improvement. I appreciate any kind feedback. Whether via the comment function, email, Facebook or Instagram (best tagged with #heutemalindisch and @heutemalindisch, then your cooking success can also inspire others).

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