Monday, October 17, 2011

Paneer Bhurji

There was a time when I inhaled spicy food. I mean really spicy. India spicy. I did not shudder when I saw bright green chillies set on a table and people bit into them. 
I asked for extra 'bukka chutney' and fried and salted green chillies at the vada paav stall. 
My pani-puri, sev- puri etc. was always 'tikha'
After coming to the USA, the taste buds have undergone a transformation, they have become wimpy! But I also feel that I have discovered the natural taste of vegetables when not drowned in spices and red or green chillies. I now work towards maintaining a balance and more so because I have a little one who  likes to taste everything, at least once before saying the customary "nnnnnako" to everything, sigh! 

I had a mental block about Paneer bhurji,  just because it sounded like anda-bhurji  and looked a bit like it. As I type this I can see where my son gets his 'nnnnnako' from, sigh! 
But then, I had not tasted this 'dhasu' paneer bhurji........
At the time I was working with one of India's leading cell phone companies, food was the highlight of the day. The company had 3 large cafeterias, large, spotless and dishing up a large variety of food, large variety of so-so food. We craved for tasty food, something that was value for money. Then one day we 'discovered' the drivers canteen. It was a small congested place with  dull colorless walls and rickety chairs and wobbly tables. And yet, despite the lack of fine interiors, this nondescript eatery was teeming with  hungry employees from the call center!
We soon found out why! Everything we ordered was fresh, hot and perfectly spiced. We were hooked. The food was amazing and  I particularly remember the paneer bhurji, oh! 
The only word I can think of describing it is 'mulayam' ( silky). Every flavor was distinct, the paneer was silky and melt in the mouth quality! 
We spread the word and soon the trainees from our training batches would also go there to enjoy the tasty food. 
Goes to show that a beautiful setting and bright lights do not mean good food and  shabby interiors can be diamonds in the rough ... much like people, no?

Now that I make Fresh paneer at home, I want to indulge in the various methods I can use all the wonderful cheese ! 
This is my humble attempt to recreate the  fantastic bhurji we used to eat at the drivers canteen ! 
Why this particular recipe? Because it has  **ingredients I never thought can be paired and used in it! Read on and find out what! 

Serves 4-6
Source :Here 

You need:

1 tsp. Red Chilli powder
1/2tsp. Turmeric powder
4 Tbsp Ghee
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 small Onion, chopped ( I used red)
2 1/2 tsp Ginger paste
2 1/2 tsp Garlic paste
1 medium Tomato chopped
1 1/2 cup  cooked Chana Daal
1 lb. Paneer (mashed/ crumbled)
4 Green chillies, de-seed and julienne
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp ground Green cardamom
1 tsp ground Cloves
1 tsp ground Nutmeg
1 tsp ground Fenugreek
Salt to taste
Ginger juliennes and cilantro to garnish

Mix the turmeric an  chilli powder in 2 Tbsp. water and mix and mix in the paneer

Heat ghee  in a heavy based pan over medium heat andadd cumin and let the cumin seeds sizzle

Add onion and fry till it is light brown in color, about 5 mins.

Add ginger - garlic pastes and stir fry till the moisture evaporates.

Add  in the tomato and fry till moisture evaporates

Add cooked chana daal  and mix well and cook till oil oozes/ separates

Add paneer and stir. Add green chillies and season with salt. 

Stir fry for a minute before adding the ground spices

Remove from heat and garnish with ginger juliennes and cilantro 

Serve with roti / fulka / paratha or naan.

** The surprise ingredient for me was the chana daal. I could not envision paneer and chana daal together! But, everytime I feel a seed of doubt in my mind, I tell myself, 'trust the chef' and I rarely regret. 
The chana daal  ( I mashed it) goes well with paneer and in this bhurji ( scramble) compliments the soft cheese and blends well.
I am glad I ried this recipe, it is a keeper! 

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  1. Wowwww... my fav recipe.. looks absolutely perfect.. beautiful clicks too :)
    Indian Cuisine

  2. My favourite bhurji, can survive for many days with it..

  3. Same here used to love spicy food, I still do and make them but i guess it has tonned down a bit. This burji looks so so good. I am gonna try this once.

  4. Wow, would never have thought of chana dal and paneer tango in this dish! the paneer has taken on a lovely hue, very inviting.. and nutmeg, wow.
    Also allow me to mourn that your tastebuds turned 'wimpy' :-( after your 'foren' stay!!

  5. Wow they looks super inviting and delicious..fabulous click..

  6. Delicious looking bhurji and very tempting.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  7. This is a regular dish at our home, looks great!!

  8. i like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out it's for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies. It’s still in beta version, but would love for you to start adding some photos and help get it going.

  9. First time to ur blog...Paneer bhurji looks tempting and delicious with colourful clicks....Following uuuu.

  10. The cafeteria you described reminds me of the Times of India cafeteria in Bombay when I worked there long ago-- it was the most depressing food, but when you were hungry you ate it up quietly. :) I love finding those little hole-in-the-wall places that look so awful but have the greatest food-- always feels like a discovery.

  11. @Santosh Bangar, Thank you!

    @Priya, I am in love with this too, but I guess I need variations!

    @Happy Cook / Finla, Yes,I relate to what u said...I still like spicy, but not the burn a hole types:) Let me know how u liked it!

    @Premalatha Aravindhan, Thanks!

    @Rajani, it's a dance of the spices and colors! My foren stay has not altered much, but I have learned to appreciate the true flavor of the ingredients when only heat does not dominate it :)

    @divyaThank you!

    @Hamaree Rasoi Thank you, tasted good too!

    @Poornima NairThank you!

    @foodie @ Tasting Spot I am learning! Thank u for the interest. I guess I need some time to think about this.

    Thank you, I hope you try it too.. let me know if you do:)

    @VaishaliYou said it, sitting down in a small place and finding a treasure house of food! uummm! V.T ( or CST, if u prefer that) has so many hole in the wall joints !

  12. Can't resist myself on this. You know I love paneer recipes and would definitely love this one.

  13. Where is this cafeteria where u discovered this recipe,if I may ask? :p

    1. Divya, I did not discover this recipe, I discovered that Paneer bhurji could taste *awesome* in a small canteen on the premises of the company I was working for. It was oh-so-so-good!


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