Thursday, December 3, 2009

Paneer Burji

We are in India right now and the first three weeks have been very busy with festivities. We have gotten out of jet lag, finished my dad's 60th birthday at Thirukadayur, went to Thirupathi, celebrated Karthigai deepam and have finally settled down. I have some breathing room before the preparations for my bil's wedding would start and decided to utilize that in my blog.

Paneer Burji is a very simple and easy dish and can be served as a side dish with roti or separately as a breakfast entree. It is very nutritious and high in protein. 'Pal curry' (Curried milk), as my mom would call it, is made when she has excess milk or when she suspected the milk would turn sour soon. She would boil the milk, curdle it using lemon juice or curd, separate out the curds from whey water by filtering through a 'veshti' (dhoti) cloth and hang it to drain the excess water. Then she would crumble the paneer with her fingers and use it in the curry. As a kid, I somehow never liked this dish and that thought stayed in my head. When I prepared it at home for the first time, I was apprehensive about the taste. I took the first spoon expecting it to taste bad. I was surprised by how much I liked it. I realized that our tastes grow with us and our horizons widen each day.

My version here uses store bought paneer for ease, and can be substituted with home-made paneer. I made this recently as a side dish when we had invited a couple of Murali's (husband) colleagues home, for dinner. We loved it so much that the four of us finished all the burji made from about a pound of paneer (apart from the other dishes). My little son liked it too - which was an additional plus.

Paneer - 400 gms pack grated
Onion - 2 finely chopped
Tomato - 3 finely chopped
Green chillies - 4-5 or to taste
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Cilantro - 2 tbsp finely chopped (optional)
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste

Heat oil over medium heat, add cumin seeds and fry until brown. Add onion and green chillies and fry for a minute. You can add little salt at this stage to bring out the sweetness of onion. Now add ginger paste and garlic paste and fry until the mixture turns light brown. Keep stirring to avoid burning. Now add tomatoes and fry for 2 minutes. Add salt (include salt for paneer too), garam masala powder, turmeric powder and add little water and cook covered for 5 minutes. Now add the grated paneer and mix well until heated through. Add cilantro mix well, remove from heat and enjoy hot.

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