Going vegetarian was a personal choice and my husband too gave me full support by giving up meat which he truly loved. I think that was the biggest sacrifice a spouse can make. I am not totally against meat eating but once you have eaten you keep making comparisons and thinking of alternative dishes which are almost like chicken! I used to try and make dishes that looked and tasted a lot like chicken and served them to my husband. I didn’t want him to feel he was missing out on anything and that was my way of making up to him. I used to make veg lollipop with cauliflower stalk in place of the drumstick with a veggie cutlet stuck on it. One day while I was wondering what to make of some leftover paneer,( cottage cheese)I ended up making crispy fried paneer which looked, smelled and tasted like any boneless chicken dish. Instead of making paneer pakoras like we all normally do, I sprinkled besan (gram flour) over the paneer and a dash of crushed garlic added the right flavor. This recipe is a sure fire hit at any time of the day.
CRISPY PANEER FINGERS
½ kg paneer cut into long strips
1tsp garlic paste
1tsp red chili powder
1 tsp pav bhaji masala
Pinch of orange-red food color
Salt to taste
2 tbsp gram flour
Oil for frying
I generally make the Paneer or cottage cheese at home. Boil 1 liter Milk, squeeze a lime, or add 1 tbsp of vinegar to the boiling milk and stir nicely. The whey will separate and then strain the contents through a muslin cloth. Hang the muslin cloth till all the whey flows out. Put the cheese with the muslin cloth on a plate, with a heavy container on it.Once the cheese is set, remove from the cloth and cut as desired.If you want to store it then place it in a bowl of water, and keep it in the refrigerator. Marinate the paneer(cheese) with the salt, chili powder, pav bhaji masala, and garlic paste and food color. Smear the gram flour with wet fingers over the paneer.
Keep aside for ½ hour.Heat the oil and fry the paneer till the outer is crisp. Drain on paper towels. Mix a little chilli powder and pav bhaji masala over the fried paneer and garnish with onion rings and a lemon wedge. Serve with green chutney dip or garlic sauce.
A droolicious starter, with a crispy and spicy outer layer with a smooth, mouth-melting core at the center.
Paneer is like eggs, can be used and added to many dishes! The height of paneer use is in North India…Paneer dosa for one and Paneer Manchuria for another!
Tasty to eat and easy to cook ideas are what we all seek, isn’t it?