The delicious and humble paneer or cottage cheese, so much a part of our food, traces back its history to the Persian and Afghan rulers who travelled to India during the 16th century. The word paneer is derived from the word peynir which means cheese in Turkish and Persian. At that time, it was made from the milk of goats or sheep. Breaking the milk with lemon juice was introduced in Bengal first in the 17th century and paneer recipes quickly became popular all over the country due to their taste and texture in Mughlai and north-Indian dishes and were made into desserts like rasgulla, sandesh, etc.
Why is paneer a great addition to your diet?
Since Paneer is packed with so many nutrients, it is often called a superfood, especially for vegetarians. Here is a look at paneer nutrition values:
- Almost 85% of paneer nutrition is protein and all the nine essential amino acids.
- Paneer contains healthy fats like monounsaturated fats like oleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid, which is omega-3 polyunsaturated fat.
- Paneer calories are moderate and 100 grams of paneer contains around 72 calories. To limit the paneer calories, it is advised to make sure your cottage cheese is made from low-fat milk and the paneer recipes that you eat are made without too much butter and cream.
- It is a rich source of calcium, folate, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, selenium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
- It contains high levels of vitamins A, B complex, and D.
- Paneer is low in carbohydrates.
What are the benefits of paneer?
Paneer recipes are not only delicious but they are extremely healthy too. Here are some paneer benefits:
- Paneer is a protein-dense food that helps in strengthening and repairing our muscles and tissues and is especially beneficial for people who do high-endurance workouts.
- Protein in paneer helps in keeping the skin healthy and delays age-related wear and tear.
- Being a rich source of calcium, it helps in bone building and reduces the risk of fractures, osteoporosis, etc. It also helps in maintaining healthy teeth.
- Magnesium in paneer recipes helps in regulating blood sugar levels, improves heart health, and enhances immunity.
- Protein in paneer helps in satiating hunger and reduces the urge to overeat. This helps in weight loss.
- Phosphorus and magnesium in paneer recipes help in maintaining a healthy digestive system. This helps in preventing constipation and bloat.
Which are some of the best paneer recipes?
Paneer is an amazingly versatile ingredient that can be made into a variety of dishes. Paneer recipes range from curries to sandwiches, parathas, and desserts. We have put together some of the most delicious paneer recipes for you to try today:
1) Paneer tikka
Paneer tikka is one of the most famous and flavourful Indian snacks. Follow this easy paneer recipe to make delicious tikkas:
- In a bowl, add hung curd and mix in ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, cumin powder, amchur, ajwain, chaat masala, salt, lemon juice, mustard oil, and black pepper.
- Add diced onions, capsicum, and paneer to this marinade.
- Once all the ingredients are covered with marinade, refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Thread these on skewers.
- Brush them with oil and grill for 10-12 minutes.
- Keep turning the skewers till the paneer and vegetables char a little and turn golden brown.
- Sprinkle paneer tikka pieces with chaat masala and lemon juice.
2) Palak paneer
Palak paneer is an all-time favourite for its creamy consistency and delicious taste. To make palak paneer:
- Make a puree of blanched spinach, garlic cloves, and red chilli.
- Heat oil or ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds and bay leaf. Let them splutter.
- Add chopped onions, garlic, and tomatoes, and cook until the tomatoes are soft.
- Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, garam masala, and asafoetida.
- Mix spinach puree to this along with a little water and mix well.
- Simmer for 6-7 minutes till the palak is cooked.
- Add paneer cubes and mix well.
- Serve palak paneer garnished with cream, slivers of ginger, and Kasuri methi.
3) Shahi paneer
One of the most loved paneer recipes, this is creamy and sweet and goes with almost everything.
- In a pan heat butter and saut green cardamom pods, cinnamon, black cardamom, and cloves.
- Add chopped onions, garlic cloves, and ginger.
- Saut until the onions soften and add water and salt.
- Cover and boil for 20 minutes.
- Transfer this mixture to a blender and make it into a smooth puree.
- In a pan heat butter and add cumin seeds, turmeric, chilli powder, and bay leaf.
- Add the onion puree to this.
- Add paneer cubes and saffron threads and mix well.
- Simmer for 5 minutes and add Kasuri methi and garam masala.
- Serve garnished with fresh coriander and cream.
4) Paneer butter masala
The famous alternative to butter chicken, paneer butter masala is a smooth and creamy paneer recipe with spicy undertones.
- In a pan add butter and saut onions, ginger, and garlic cloves.
- Add chopped tomatoes and cashews and cook for 10 minutes until the tomatoes turn soft.
- Blend into a smooth paste.
- In a pan, add butter, cardamom, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, cumin powder, and bay leaf.
- Add the onion paste to this and saut well.
- Add water, sugar, cream, and salt.
- Add paneer cubes and simmer.
- Mix in garam masala, Kasuri methi, and coriander.
- Serve paneer butter masala topped with a little cream and roasted cashews.
5) Mattar paneer
This is one of the most famous paneer recipes with the goodness of peas and a rich & spicy taste.
- Saut bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, red chilli, and besan.
- Add onion-tomato paste along with coriander powder and salt.
- Add water and peas and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add paneer cubes, garam masala, and Kasuri methi.
- Serve topped with fresh coriander.
6) Kadai Paneer
This is a very uniquely flavoured paneer recipe with warm and spicy flavours.
- Saute bay leaf, green chillies, kasuri methi, onions, cubed capsicum, turmeric, chilli powder, onion-tomato paste, and salt.
- Add paneer cubes, garam masala, and cream and mix well.
- Serve garnished with fresh coriander.
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