Paneer Bhurji

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Memorial day weekend began for me on Thursday evening but it has not been a typical one. I am in a New Jersey hotel while it is pouring cats and dogs outside and BBC is attending a 3 day long training in a nearby hotel. So no long weekend trip this time. However I still consider myself to be on a vacation… with no cooking and cleaning, warm breakfast awaiting me just down the corridor for the next three days and I get to laze around and read as much as I can. Yesterday I watched a movie on the, skyped with  my family after a very long time, finished the Nicholas Spark e-book – “At first sight”– that I had borrowed from the library on my kindle sitting in the breakfast lounge while the radio played all the right numbers and had my evening tea sharp at 4pm. Once BBC was back we went out to a nice Afghan Restaurant after which I started with Dan Brown’s Inferno. The first couple of pages look good enough to make me feel this weekend will be worth spending my time with Dan Brown, as is usually the case with his books.Today seems to be a repeat of yesterday while tomorrow evening we plan to catch up with some friends before we head back home on Monday.

Sometimes it is good to break the monotony of your daily life, good to have nothing to do at hand, no responsibilities. Though I am still a full time homemaker and would usually be doing the same things like reading books, watching movies, browsing on the net, yet they are accompanied with self made routines and not to mention the daily chores. I can hardly complain about my life here, but there are times when I long to get back to my own country and to pick up my career where I left it 4 years back. Unquestionably once I return to India I will be missing my life here which has been so good so far, I will miss the ease of living a hassle free life here. But I have this feeling deep down that maybe its time for us to steer our lives in a different direction, at the least explore some different avenues. Currently its all a jumbled up maze of questions in my mind… where we are … where we want to be, what more I want to do… And some even bigger questions – Am I happy? Will I be happy if I can go back to where my family is and start with my  career again? Will I not long for the pace of life I have come to love here? Is it the rat race that I want? and believe me even this one – Will I get time to bake? Am I thinking too much? Only time will put each piece in the right place.

Photo Courtesy - BBC
Photo Courtesy – BBC

Not sure how things will turn out for us and if I am not mistaken it will definitely not be the way we are planning it to be. Lets see what this year holds for us.

For now I am posting something I had made sometime back and was long due.

 Ingredients: DSC_0308

  • Paneer or Cottage cheese, crumbled or grated – 200 gms
  • Green peas, cooked or boiled – 1/2 cup
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Onion – 1 small to medium, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Ginger,  minced – 1 tsp
  • Garlic, minced – 1 tsp
  • Green chillies, finely chopped – 3 to 4 or to taste
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – a pinch (optional)
  • Garam masala – 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Amchoor powder – 1/8 tsp (optional)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Cilantro, finely chopped – to garnish


  1. Grate or mash the paneer or crumble it in a food-processor. If using homemade paneer no need to do this as it is already crumbled.
  2. Heat oil in a pan on medium flame; once hot add cumin seeds, let them splutter.
  3. Add the finely chopped onions, saute for a while till they become soft.
  4. Add green chillies, salt, minced ginger and garlic and saute them for 3-4 mins.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry them till they are cooked.
  6. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder and mix well. Sprinkle a few drops of water if required.
  7. Next add the crumbled paneer and the thawed peas (if using frozen cooked ones); mix very nicely so that all the spices blend it together.
  8. Sprinkle a few drops (maybe 1 tbsp) of water if required and cover and cook for 3-4 mins.
  9. Garnish with a handful of finely chopped coriander and serve it hot with rotis or paratha.

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Shahi Paneer

Shahi Paneer or Indian cottage cheese in a white creamy cashew gravy/sauce is a splendid delicacy of North India. Wikipedia search says ‘Shahi’  is an Indo-Persian term for royal; being true to its name this dish is extremely rich and savory and leaves you wanting for more. Paneer is my favorite and cashews are BBC’s favorite so this dish gets its royal place in our kitchen. I would highly recommend it for household parties as it is a pleasant variation from the usual veg /paneer dishes.

So if you have not already tried this one out, go ahead and enjoy this lip-smacking preparation of the Indian cuisine.


  • Paneer – 250 gms
  • Onions, choppped – 1 large or 2 medium
  • Ginger grated or chopped – 1 tsp
  • Garlic grated or chopped- 1 tsp
  • Tomato, chopped – 1 medium
  • Red chilli powder / Green chilli paste – to taste
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sugar (optional) – to taste
  • Cashews – 15-20 whole pieces
  • Milk – 1-2 tbsp
  • Cream / Half and Half / Milk – 2 tbsp or to taste


  • Cube the paneer into desired size (1 inch by 1/2 inch) and boil it in water for 2 minutes. This is mainly done if the paneer has been refrigerated so that it becomes a little soft. If the paneer is already soft omit boiling it in water.
  • Soak the cashews in milk and keep aside for sometime. You can do this prior to preparing for this dish as the cashews need to soften up for grinding.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add the chopped onions and saute till it changes color.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste and mix well.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook covered till the tomatoes become mushy. Keep stirring in between.
  • Add green chilli paste/red chilli powder, coriander masala, garam masala powder and salt and mix till the spices are well mixed.
  • Put off the flame, take out the mixture onto a dry plate and let it cool. Once cooled grind the fried mixture into a smooth paste, adding water as required.
  • Meanwhile heat the same pan, add oil if required and lightly fry the paneer for 1-2 minutes till it gets a lightly brown color. Do not over fry the paneer.
  • Add the paste of fried mixture done earlier to the fried paneer and mix gradually taking care not to break the paneer cubes.
  • Grind the soaked cashews into a fine paste. (There is no harm if some broken pieces of cashews remain in the paste).
  • Add the cashew paste to the paneer mixture and mix well.
  • Add little water as per the desired consistency and cover and cook.
  • Add Cream / Half and Half / Milk and mix well.
  • Adjust salt and let the gravy simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Garnish with a dash of cream if desired.
  • Serve warm with roti or naan. If reheating, add some butter or Cream / Half and Half / Milk for for replenishing the flavors.