Paneer Bhurjee – Spiced Crumbled Cottage Cheese
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I first discovered Paneer Bhurjee when I was studying in Pune, India. As a student, I scouted restaurant menus for delicious, nutritious, filling and most importantly, cheap food, that made me feel full for at least 4 hours or more. With my tight class and Student’s Council schedules, I barely had time for food.
My college canteen or food court served up basic Indian fare, the deliciousness of which varied by the time of the day. Time of the day because they had cooks for different shifts in the day. At one afternoon during lunch, a classmate ordered Paneer Bhurjee. I knew about Egg Bhurjee, which is India’s answer to scrambled eggs – beaten eggs cooked with onions, tomatoes and mild spices – but I had never heard of Paneer Bhurjee. Essentially, Paneer Bhurjee is the same, replacing eggs with home-made cottage cheese. The result is a truly delicious and very easy-to-prepare dish (takes about 20 minutes) that is filling and nutritious.
If you’ve been visiting my blog often, you’ll know that Paneer is an Indian home-made cheese and can easily be made at home. Here’s a great recipe with an even better video. You can also buy ready Paneer from any Indian grocery store, in their frozen section. My favorite is the Swad brand of Paneer. It is available as a block as well as cubed.
Preparing and eating Paneer Bhurjee takes me back to my days as a student. This dish represents nostalgia like no other dish does for me.
To make Paneer Bhurjee for 2, you will need:
- 400 gms of fresh Paneer
- 1/2 a large onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium sized Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 tsp Ginger & Garlic paste
- 1 green chili, sliced or slit lengthwise
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp Dhania-Zeera powder a.k.a. Cumin & Coriander spice spice blend
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt
- A handful of coriander leaves, washed and finely chopped
- lemon juice for garnishing
- First, crumble the Paneer with your fingers. It should look like this:
- In a pot, heat the oil. When well heated, add the cumin seeds and sliced green chilies. Once they begin to crackle, add the chopped onions and allow to soften and turn a light brown on medium heat
- Then add the ginger & garlic paste and chopped tomatoes. Mix well and allow the mixture to soften and form a pulp
- Now add all the spices – Chili powder, Dhania-Zeera powder, turmeric powder – and salt. Mix well and continue to cook on medium heat for 30 seconds or so
- Finally, add the crumbled paneer. Mix very well ensuring that the spices’ mixture covers all the cottage cheese
- Garnish with coriander leaves and lemon juice. Serve hot with fresh roti’s or your favorite bread