Some of my fondest childhood memories are of the dinner parties hosted at our house. Mom’s cooking was out of the world and it would excite me no end as a child to know that guests were coming to dinner. The aromas that wafted from the kitchen were mind blowing. My favourite dish was always one that had paneer (cottage cheese) in it. Now its time to relive those happy moments by making a great dish for a quick but tasty meal – Paneer Bhurji with beetroot puris.
I like to make my own paneer. Take two litres of full cream milk, boil and add lemon juice to curdle. Remove the contents in a muslin cloth and let it lie overnight. Next day your paneer is ready to use.
Ingredients: Paneer Bhurji
• One large chopped onion
• Two chopped tomatoes
• Green chillies chopped (I used two of them)
• Ginger grated (approx. an inch of ginger)
• Oil – roughly two tablespoons
• Hing (Asafoetida) – a pinch
• Jeera (Cumin)- one tea spoon
• Turmeric – one tea spoon
• Garam masala – two tea spoons
• Red chilli powder – one tea spoon.
• Coriander powder – one tea spoon.
• Water as required • Salt to taste
• Coriander to garnish Chop the paneer into rough bits and set aside.
In a deep pan add oil and when it’s hot add the hing and jeera.
When the jeera crackles add ginger and sauté.
Then add onions and chilli and sauté till onion is translucent.
Add tomatoes and cover for a few.
Now add all the dry masalas The mixture at this stage will emit some really mouth watering aromas! Remember to savour the moment and take in the fragrance!
Now add the paneer and stir. Add water as required. I like my bhurji semi liquid so I put in roughly one cup of water.
Add salt, cover and let this cook on low flame for about five minutes.
That’s it, your bhurji is ready! For the puris, add some finely grated beetroot to the dough while kneading. This will give you puris with a lovely gulabi colour.
Ingredients for beetroot puris
• Atta (as needed, I used roughly four cups)
• One grated beetroot
• Ajwain (ajowan or carom) – two tea spoon
• Salt one tea spoon
• Oil – one tablespoon for the puri batter
• Oil to deep fry
• Water as needed
Add all the ingredients into your kneading dish and slowly add water. Keep kneading till it starts to come together. But remember to limit water use as the dough must be tight for crisp puris. When the dough is ready, cover and set aside for fifteen minutes.
The dough will have taken on a very pretty pinkish colour. Now take roughly the same size balls of this batter as you would for making chapattis. Slightly dab some oil to this and roll out. Roll evenly and then add to hot oil for deep frying. Fry on both sides and make as many as you require.
There you are… your quick and yummy meal is ready. Garnish paneer bhurji with coriander and serve the dish with salad of your choice. For me, just a few mellow green chillies and sliced tomatoes go very well with this!Do try this out at home… happy cooking.
Ms Aditi Pathak is based in Singapore. Widely travelled and from a Services background, cooking is one of her many passions.