Paneer Cutlets with Mango Chutney

Now, if you follow this blog, you know I like my cheese and chutneys. There’s a baked brie with blueberry chutney on here, and I’ve also experimented with a breaded boursin with fig jam, which I first tasted at a local restaurant, and fell in love. So I got to thinking, why not give this an Indian twist? Alas, I have no Indian mangoes, though my mother tormented me with news of the Alphonso she just ate. However, the red Mexican ones will do just as well for these purposes – let there be no blaspheming of Alphonsos by making them into chutney. So. Here’s how I did it, and do trust me and try this too. My husband and I thought they were delicious. For those of you who don’t eat egg, you can try adding 1 tsp of xanthan gum to the paneer. Sprinkle it over the surface once you’ve mixed everything else, then knead it in. It, well, gums up. Alternatively, mix a little cornflour with water so it forms a thin batter, and dip the cutlets in that before breading.

For the paneer cutlets: 1 cup paneer, 1 cup cooked rice, 1/4 cup finely chopped chives or cilantro, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, salt to taste, an egg to bind, and breadcrumbs for breading!

Crumble the paneer in a bowl. Addthe rice, chives, salt, and cayenne and mix well. If you are adding the xanthan gum, do it now. If not, proceed to the next step.

Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk well. Pour it into a plate. Pour the breadcrumbs into a different plate.

Heat some oil (1/2 a cup at least) in a pan.

Form the paneer into a patty/cutlet about 1.5″ in diameter.

Dip it in the egg – both sides, and carefully so it doesn’t crumble.

Coat it with the breadcrumbs – both sides.

Put it in the pan. When it is fully browned on both sides, place it on a plate which has a paper towel/napkin on it, to drain the oil off.

Repeat until all the paneer is used up.

For the mango chutney: 1 sweet mango, 1 tbsp brown sugar

If the mango is very sweet, reduce the sugar a bit.

Cut the mango into pieces (we’re not using the peel here!).

Put the mango and the sugar in a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water.

Cover and cook until soft. You may need to mash the mango up a bit now and again.

Eat the chutney over the cutlets. Of course, you can also try paneer tikki with mango-plum chutney.

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Paneer Tikki

Tikki = patty/cutlet

Preparation time: 1-1.5 hours

Cooking time: about 20 minutes

You need: Paneer, however, do not weight it and press it down for an hour. Instead, drain it for about ten minutes. It needs to be crumbly and soft.

Also, you need 1/2 cup finely chopped onion; 2 cups powdered cornflakes; yogurt; 1 egg, beaten; and to taste: salt, red chili powder, coriander powder.

How to: Put the paneer in a big bowl and mix in the spices. Saute the onions and add to the paneer. Mix well.
Add enough yogurt to the paneer so you can easily shape it into patties (roll into a ball and flatten with your hand). I found that they worked best when they were small, about 2″ in diameter. Otherwise they crumbled and fell apart.

Use a basting brush to brush some egg over each side of each tikki. Roll it in the cornflakes so it is coated with them. You might find it useful to make all the tikkis before you get to cooking them.

Heat some oil in a pan (enough to shallow-fry). Place the tikkis gently in the pan and cook till browned on both sides. Put a paper towel on a plate and let the excess oil drain away before eating.

Mattar paneer

 You need: 1 Onion — peeled and chopped; 1 tsp ginger paste;

Oil; 1.5 cups whey from paneer; 1 dried red chili; 1 tbsp ground 
coriander seeds; ¼ tsp turmeric; 1.5 cups pureed tomatoes; 
Pepper and salt to taste;  ¾ cup peas
 How to: 
      Blend onions  in a food processor. 
Heat oil and shallow-fry paneer till lightly browned all over. 
Remove and keep aside. 
To oil add red chili, ginger paste, and onions. 
(If you like it spicy add 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper at this point)
Cook for 10 minutes or till oil separates. 
Add the ground coriander and turmeric and stir well. 
Add the tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes.
Add the whey, salt and pepper. 
Cover and simmer for a few minutes until it thickens a bit. 
Add the peas and simmer till the peas are cooked. 
Add the paneer a few minutes before serving, and 
let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. 
Garnish with cilantro and serve.
   

Paneer

paneer.jpg

Paneer is a lovely, light cheese that is used in both sweets and curries. It’s remarkably easy to make – all you need to do is curdle milk. I’ve tried to make it with vinegar, lemon, yogurt, and buttermilk, and buttermilk works the best, I think, though it takes a minute or so longer for the curds to form. You should use full-fat or 2% milk – I’ve had no success with fat-free or 1%. (So, if you’re in India, try skim, but I don’t think double-toned will work).

You need: a decent amount of cheesecloth, a large-ish colander, milk and buttermilk in a 4:1 ratio.
How to: Bring the milk to a boil. (Watch it carefully). As soon as it starts to boil, add the buttermilk and turn off the heat. Keep stirring as you add the buttermilk, and don’t stop stirring. You will see the curds and whey beginning to separate. When they are fully separated, line the colander with the cheesecloth and drain the pan into it. Let it drain for ten minutes or so, then tie the ends up and press the paneer between two boards with a weight on top. Leave for an hour, cut into cubes, and it’s ready to use.

Check the recipe you’re going to use the paneer in – it might call for whey, so don’t throw the whey away before checking.

Tip: You can make extra paneer, vacuum-seal it and freeze it for quite a while