February 14, 2023

Recipe: Deep fried spiced paneer

Cheese making is disarmingly simple, so give this deep fried paneer a go in your own kitchen.

Deep fried spiced paneer
serves 4-6

for the batter
1 small knob ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp yoghurt
60ml water
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp corn flour
2 tbsp rice flour
2 tbsp besan flour
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp turmeric
extra besan flour for dusting
300g spiced paneer cut into 2cm cubes
oil for frying

tempering oil
2 tbsp oil
1 dry red chilli, broken up
1 tsp black mustard seeds
3 spring onions, sliced finely
1 green chilli (to taste) sliced finely
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp grated garlic
6 curry leaves, plus extra for garnish
pinch sugar
pinch salt

In a food processor make a paste with the ginger, garlic, lemon, yoghurt, salt and water. Gradually add the flour and spices to make a thick batter. Put the extra besan flour on a plate and dredge the paneer cubes in it.

Gently toss the cubed, dusted paneer in the batter. Deep fry in plenty of hot oil until golden on all sides.

To make the tempering oil, heat the oil in a frypan, add the chilli and mustard seeds and cook until the seeds start to crackle. Add all the ingredients and cook until the mixture is aromatic.

Serve the fried paneer cubes with the hot tempering oil poured over and with wedges of lime, fresh coriander and curry leaves, naan bread and plain yoghurt mixed with tempering oil.

spiced paneer
makes a 12cm square block

3L full cream milk, unhomogenised (I used a mixture of raw cow and goat milk)
1 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh mint chopped
1 tbsp fresh coriander
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Heat the milk to 90C. Add all the spices and herbs and stir. Add lemon juice and stir and take off the heat. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain into a muslin bag suspended in a jug so that you collect all the whey to use in baking or as a stock in soups. Squeeze out excess whey by gently twisting the cheesecloth and squeezing the bundle.

Rinse the bag of paneer with cold water and squeeze off the water. Shape into a block and press with a light weight for about 30 minutes. Keep in a bowl over a trivet because it will still give off some liquid.

Store the spiced paneer in an airtight container and use within a week.


This article first appeared in the October 2022 issue of SALIFE magazine.

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