Paneer - A good substitute for meat
Paneer was originally found in the area that today encompasses Iran, India and Pakistan by the nomads.It is the Persian word for "cheese", the nomads carried it with them in camel skin bags. It is a high protein food generally substituted for meat in Indian and Mughlai and Arab recipes. Paneer is made at home in many Indian households.
It is fairly simple to make it at home
Method:- Traditionally milk is boiled and either fresh lemon juice or a spoonful of citric acid is added to the milk while it is still hot.When the milk gets fully curdled, the liquid is drained out by pouring it on to a clean fine muslin cloth.Once all the liquid has been drained it is laid flat and some weight has to be kept on it for some time.It becomes solid if kept for an hour or two.This can be used in various interesting recipes. However i have realised that Paneer comes out softer and much tastier when I add fresh yogurt to curdle the milk.I have been using yogurt instead of lemon juice since some time now and find that Paneer has a better texture and taste with this method. Paneer needs to be refrigerated and used within 3-4 days.It develps a sour and stale taste if kept for long.
Some of the most common recipes made with Paneer are Palak Paneer( Paneer and spinach leaves) Shahi Paneer ( Paneer cooked with mughlai spices) , Paneer masala and Matar Paneer (Paneer and Peas)..
Some Nutrition facts about Paneer
1: Paneer is a good source of calcium, which in later years helps prevent osteoporosis. Cheese provides 25% of the calcium in the food supply.
2: Paneer in moderation, is associated with lower body weight as well as reduced risk of developing insulin resistance syndrome.
3: Paneer is a good source of protein and it reduces cancer risk.
4: According to Ayurveda Paneer is health food and it can prevent stomach disorders
5: It is supposed to help in lower, back and joint pain.Reduces risks of Heart attack..
Nutritional information of Paneer : - 100 gms of paneer provides Protein - 18.3 gms Fat - 20.8 gms Minerals - 2.6 gms Carbohydrates - 1.2 gms Energy - 265 kcal Calcium - 208 mgs Phosphorous - 138 mg .
Paneer has a higher quality of protein as compared to soya. If one is worried about calories, it would be a better idea to make Paneer from skimmed milk to reduce the calorie content.
I am sharing one of my favorite Paneer recipes here:
Paneer Capsicum Kadai
Paneer about 100 gms, cut into cubes
Capsicums 2 medium sized cut into pieces
Onions 2 sliced
Tomato 1, Liquidised in a mixer
Curds or yogurt 1/2 cup
1-2 Curry leaves
a few Chopped coriander leaves
Ginger and garlic paste
2 table spoon Gharam masala powder
1 table spoon Coriander powder
1 table spoon Chilly powder
1 tea spoon Haldi or Turmeric powder
Oil Salt and sugar to taste
Heat a little oil in a kadai (Wok) and stir fry half the quantity of sliced onions and the capsicums add salt and turmeric powder and mix well and when the capsicum is still crisp transfer it to another dish and add the Paneer cubes into the pan and stir fry for a minute taking care while turning and stirring the paneer so it doesnt break.Once Paneer is slightly browned transfer it into a dish. Add more oil into the kadai and add the rest of the onions and the green chillies .
When the onions turn golden brown add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute and add the curry leaves, Gharam masala, Coriander powder, haldi and the chilly powder.Mix well and add Tomato puree and the curds , let the mixture simmer.Add a little water if needed and adjust the taste by adding salt , a pinch of sugar and more chilly powder if needed. When the gravy is thick and well blended add the fried onion/capsicum and the paneer and mix well into the masala.Finally sprinkle some coriander leaves just before taking it off the stove. This goes well with Naans or Parathas and Jeera rice.