Paneer Bhaji

This is a lip smacking dish made with paneer, lots of vegetables and a ton of spices. The list of ingredients seems long and I won’t tell you it isn’t. However in an Indian kitchen it’s practically raiding the pantry as all the ingredients used here are usually used in many other Indian recipes. You buy in bulk from the Indian grocery stores and it stays forever. It is therefore very cost effective. Bhaji means the vegetables that go with the ‘pau’ the bread. But here I’ve added paneer to the mix. It not only elevates the dish, it helps bind the vegetables really well and also stores very well for the next day. When all the ‘pau’ is finished how about making a sandwich or a Paratha kathi roll with the mixture? So it’s like a meal prep dish for next day’s lunch wrap or dinner too. Making it in a big portion definitely pays off 🤓 @sarchakra

A shortcut for the vegetables would be using a couple of frozen packets of mixed vegetables and adding some potatoes to the mix.

Paneer Bhaji

  • Paneer 2 cups, grated
  • Carrots 2 large, cut into small chunks
  • Sweetcorn 1 cup (frozen or fresh)
  • Beans 1 cup
  • Peas 1 cup
  • Potatoes 2, cut into cubes
  • Salt
  • Black salt 2 tsp
  • Vegetable oil 3 tbsp
  • Butter 1 tbsp
  • Tomatoes 2, finely chopped
  • Ginger paste 1 tbsp
  • Garlic paste 1 tbsp
  • Onions 2 medium, chopped
  • Cloves 4-5
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
  • Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds 1 tsp
  • Nutmeg ¼
  • Star anise ½
  • Caraway seeds 1 tsp
  • White pepper 2 tsp
  • Asafetida a pinch
  • Green cardamom 3
  • Black cardamom 1
  • Cinnamon 1 inch
  • Bay leaf 1
  • Red chilies 3
  • Turmeric powder 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder 2 tbsp
  • Dry mango powder 1 tbsp
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Cilantro 3 tbsp, finely chopped

Masala mix:

Dry roast bay leaf, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, red chilies, white pepper, cinnamon, green cardamom, nutmeg, caraway seeds, star anise, black cardamom and cloves in a pan till aromatic. This should take about 3 mins. Take care to not burn the spices. Cool the mixture. Grind and add dry mango powder and black salt. Keep aside.

Vegetables:

Add all the vegetables in a pot and cover it with water. Let it come to a boil, lower the heat and cook covered on low till it is done. Mash the vegetables slightly (I like mine to not be too mushy so go ahead and do it the way you like it). Keep aside.

Heat 3 tbsp oil. Add asafetida, ginger and garlic paste. Add the chopped onions. Cook till translucent. Add tomatoes. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add the roasted spice mix, coriander powder and turmeric. Add the mashed vegetables. Cook for 4-5 minutes before adding grated paneer. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly. Add butter. Turn the heat off.

Let the mixture cool a bit before adding the lemon juice. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro.

Notes:

Traditionally a generous amount of butter is needed for this recipe because butter makes everything more delicious, right? True, but as a much as I love butter, I’ve tried to keep it really healthy and just used 1 tbsp of butter at the end to flavor the dish. Honestly with all these freshly made spices, it is already so tasty, I promise you will not miss the butter!

Boiling the vegetables
Cooking the onions, tomatoes and spice mix
Adding the cooked vegetables
Adding the paneer to the mix
Paneer Bhaji is ready
Paneer Bhaji
Another view of the bhaji

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