Recipe Ingredient Spotlight: PANEER
When you think of different types of cheeses, what comes to your mind first? Cheddar, Brie, Stilton? What about Paneer? Paneer is a fresh ‘farmers’ cheese popular in India and other Asian Countries. Also called Chhena in northern regions, it is similar to cottage cheese and is so versatile it can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes.
I first found out about Paneer when I visited a local Indian restaurant and they served Paneer Pakora- battered paneer alongside the usual naan breads and poppadoms. The soft, nearly sweet cheese melted in my mouth and worked wonderfully well with the rich crunchy batter. The cheeses taste and texture reminded me of Halloumi, which most people will know is popular in many Greek dishes.
If battered paneer isn’t your cup of tea, however, you can always try it in one of your favourite curries, it works well in a Bhurji, Masala or Jalfrezi, along with pretty much any other Indian dish you can think of! For a lunch time treat, Paneer is also great in a wrap alongside chili, ginger and plenty of veggies including fried onions, peppers and shredded raw carrot.
A more unusual use for this Indian cottage cheese is in sweet dishes, try it in a pineapple salad or even try making your own Paneer Kheer- some great Indian sweets.
You can buy Paneer from most Asian and Indian shops as well as some major supermarkets.
Versatile, Vegetarian and Tasty- what more could you ask for!
WORDS BY CHARLOTTE CARTER