Tossed and Turned Paneer

So this is one of those times when I open the fridge and I have a few sorry vegetables at the bottom of the crisper, nothing that you can make a whole dish out of. I wanted some protein - but didn't have any that matched up to my ingredients. So I finally pulled out my emergency ration of paneer. I freeze it when I buy it - for just such an occasion. It is good for about six months or so. Now the dilemma was - how do I cook it! I am starting to hate cooking the "curry" way. I wanted something different. So this is what I came up with - ENJOY!

For those of you wondering what paneer is - its the Indian version of cottage cheese and you can get it in any Indian or Pakistani store. 

You will need
1 packet paneer (about 250 grams)
1 large red onion
2 cloves of garlic
Salt to taste

You will also need
1 tsp dried thyme (crushed)
2 tbsp chopped coriander 
2 tbsp oil for cooking

And then....
In a large non-reactive bowl mix the following:
2    tbsp white vinegar
1    tbsp paprika 
1/2 tbsp salt 
1/4 tsp  sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1    tbsp oil (I used olive oil)
2 pinches saffron crushed
Mix well until the salt and sugar dissolves. 

Dice the paneer into small pieces (1cm all around). Add to the mix, and toss lightly until all the paneer pieces are coated. 

Dice the onion into the same size as the paneer. Finely mince the garlic and keep with the onions. 
  1. Heat the oil in a wok till it is almost smoking. 
  2. Add the bay leaves 
  3. When they start browning turn, the heat to medium high and add the onions and garlic. 
  4. Season with salt to taste. 
  5. In about two or three minutes, the onions will start turning slightly brown at the edges and just beginning to turn translucent. 
  6. Turn the heat to medium.  
  7. Add the paneer and quickly fold it in with the onions. 
  8. The onions should immediately turn pink. 
  9. Spread everything around the wok evenly as you can. 
  10. Let it cook on one side for about 30 seconds or so, and then fold and spread it around again. 
  11. Repeat this for about 5 minutes. 
  12. Sprinkle the crushed oregano and mix it in. 
  13. Turn off the heat. 
  14. Place on a serving dish. 
  15. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot. 
The dish should taste slightly sweet and sour and savory. There should be a bit of crunch from the onions, and the creaminess of the paneer. 

Since this is a mild dish, you can spike up the chilli factor if you want to. You could add powdered chilli into the paneer marinade or you could serve with sliced green chillies for garnish. 

If you don`t have oregano - grind a little ajwain, about quarter spoonful, into the mix. 

You can prep all the ingredients and keep aside. Cooking time is barely 10 minutes. The longer the paneer marinates, the better it will taste. Don`t use the fried stuff, please. 

Let me know what tweaks you added!!


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