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Paneer Bhurjee – Spiced Crumbled Cottage Cheese

June 17, 2010

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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.

Paneer Bhurjee

Paneer Bhurjee

Block of Paneer

Block of Paneer

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.

Get a printable version of this recipe here.

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

Method:

  • First, crumble the Paneer with your fingers. It should look like this:
Crumbled Paneer

Crumbled Paneer

  • 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
Paneer Bhurjee

Paneer Bhurjee

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2010 11:08 am

    This looks wonderful, Sabera! Makes me wish I could eat more dairy, but this one would be likely be crossing the line for me. 😉

    • June 17, 2010 11:43 am

      🙂 Paneer is an all-time favorite. I know some people I cater to, who have a lactose intolerance and cannot eat Paneer. Maybe you could mix it with a salad, in place of feta and savor it? That way you’ll be eating a smaller amount, but still getting a chance to enjoy the flavors of this simple cheese.

    • June 21, 2010 12:10 pm

      Sabera, this looks amazing! I can’t wait to make it. I also have a love-hate relationship with dairy, Jenn, and I don’t know your preferences, but paneer is pretty easy to make with lactose-free milk if you have the time. There’s also organic lactose free milk available, although it can be hard to find. Anyway, I had a fair amount of success with it, so if you would really like to try this dish, give it a whirl!

  2. Heather permalink
    June 17, 2010 6:59 pm

    Hey Sabera-If I can’t find Paneer (haven’t looked yet) what is a good alternative? Cottage cheese?

    • June 18, 2010 6:05 am

      Hey Heather! For this particular recipe, you can use the regular crumbled cottage cheese you get at grocery stores. I suggest you squeeze out any excess liquid from it by hanging it in a muslin or fine mesh cloth for a few hours. I still prefer the flavor of Indian Paneer, but if you don’t have an Indian grocery store close to you, do what I said above.

  3. Heather permalink
    June 18, 2010 7:20 pm

    Thanks Sabera! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  4. June 22, 2010 8:59 pm

    This looks fantastic and is a pretty similar recipe to the one I followed. I usually cube then pan fry paneer which can be time consuming. It was really nice to shred it and enjoy it “fresh”.

    • June 23, 2010 1:37 am

      Thanks for the comment Nithya! I’ve realized that paneer soaks up too much oil when I pan-fry it, making it unnecessarily unhealthy. I use it as is most of the time.

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