Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hara Paneer Bhurji

In the first week of December 2015, I visited the Times Lit Fest, it was my first time at this event and I had a wonderful time. One of the sessions that I attended was a discussion between Padma Lakshmi and Top Chef winner Floyd Cardoz (titled 'Greed is Great - whether it's Fancy Dining or Cutting Chai') and the discussion was about….what else? Food of course.  Something that Cardoz said struck a chord in my heart he said that when he cooks something, he often finds it difficult to later recall how he exactly cooked the dish. His mother wanted a recipe of one of his dishes that he had once cooked for her but he just could not remember exactly how he did it. At his restaurant however his sous chef accompanies him and as Cardoz cooks, the sous chef notes down everything.

I too face a similar problem, I cook something, it is tasty but I soon forget how I made the dish. So some months back when I laid my hands on some fresh coriander leaves and saw the cottage cheese/paneer  that I had made the day before lying in the refrigerator I thought of doing something different something I hadn’t eaten before nor had I heard of anyone ever making something similar. I asked my brother to get his camera and shoot as I went along cooking so that there is a record of how I was preparing the dish. If you are wondering how did it turn out? It was fabulous, very tasty and so simple to make. I realized that I had managed to live up to my blog’s tagline Cooking Made Simple. Below is the recipe and below that is the video of the dish.

  • Approximately 250gms Paneer (Cottage cheese). I used homemade paneer. I made the paneer from approximately 600mls of low fat milk.
  • 2 small onions ground to a paste.
  • One teaspoon ginger paste  mixed together with the paste of one clove of garlic.
  • Approximately 2 ½ tablespoons of cooking oil. I used sunflower refined oil. Interestingly, a viewer having watched this dish on my you tube channel decided to use butter instead of oil. If you are not counting calories you can use butter it is bound to be tastier.
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds.
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • 3 teaspoons coriander and cumin seed mix powder.
  • Green chillies either ground to a paste or chopped.
  • Salt to taste.
Heat oil in a vessel of your choice.
Add the cumin seeds, once they begin to crackle add the onion paste and stir fry till it is golden brown.
Add salt to taste. The salt will help to release some moisture from the onions.
Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder and coriander and cumin seed mix powder. Mix well.
As I had made the paneer at home, I had whey so I used that at this stage. If you are using ready made paneer you may add a few teaspoons of water to the spice mixture and stir.
Mash the paneer and add it to the spice mix. Mix well.
Add a little more water or whey and stir well.
Add coriander leave paste and chopped green chillies.
Cover and cook till done.
Serve hot garnished with chopped green chillies and sliced tomatoes.

Incidentally you can use your imagination and add different ingredients to enhance the flavour. Once for instance, I added chopped capsicum and garnished the dish with grated cottage cheese (See pic below). Needless to mention the dish was yummy.


  1. What an interesting take on paneer bhurji, Shilpi! My mother makes a very simple version, with just chopped onion, tomato, green chillies and grated ginger, but I add peas to my version too. This is something I should try - especially as I've got a bunch of hara dhania at home right now (I don't use it very often, but had bought it to make an interesting Persian chicken stew).

    1. Persian chicken stew? That sounds interesting, how do you make it? Please share the recipe.

    2. This is it:


      Actually, my sister had gone to Dubai last year, and she brought back a packet of dried limes (loomi) for me. I didn't know how to use them, so I Googled around for it, and found this recipe. Other than the loomi, the ingredients are all easily available in India. Even the spice mix, bezar, can be very easily mixed at home.

  2. I came across your blog while looking for some bengali food recipes and liked a lot. How amazing! I will keep an eye on your post.