Paneer Bhurji (Scrambled Spicy Indian Cottage Cheese)
This is a very quick, elegant and simple side dish to make to go with rotis (Indian flat bread), puris (Indian fried bread), and naan.
The star of this dish is paneer or homemade cheese, which is made by boiling, and curdling whole milk with lime juice or vinegar. The taste is very mild, and it's a soft cheese. I prefer to make it at home whenever I make this dish.
I learned how to make this by watching my friend Anu, when my son was in first grade. After she showed me how to make it, she made really soft rotis, put some of it inside a fresh roti, rolled it up and gave it to my son. And he fell in love with it! I started to make it then, and my daughter is now a huge fan of this dish too.
5NumbersMedium tomatoesGood to use tomatoes that hold the shape a little bit, and not become completely mushy
2numbersGreen chiliesAdd more or less per taste. Serrano, jalapeño or thai hot chilies all work
2tbspOil/gheeExtra lite tasting olive oil, avocado oil, or ghee
2cupsPaneer1 block of store bought paneer, or paneer made from 1/2 gallon of whole milk
Crumble the paneer and keep aside;
chop the tomatoes, green chilies, onions and cilantro finely
Heat the oil/ghee in a wide pan or kadai
When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the cumin seeds and let splutter until fragrant
Add the onions, green chilies, and ginger if using; add 1/2 tsp of salt for the onions and fry till onions turn translucent
Add the tomatoes, 1/2 tsp of salt, and cook for a few minutes, until the oil starts to separate. This means the tomatoes are cooked
Now add the crumbled paneer and gently mix, take care not to smush it.
Cook for just about two minutes. If the paneer is cooked too long, it tends to become hard
Add the cilantro and turn the heat off
Pair with soft rotis, puris or toasted bread
I first had this when my friend Anu showed me how to make fresh paneer (Indian cottage cheese), and then this dish. She also made soft rotis and rolled it up with some paneer bhurji. My son, who was in 5 or 6 years old then, fell in love with it. Both my kids have loved this since, and always ask me to make it whenever they come home. Although store bought paneer works, I really prefer homemade paneer for this dish.