Tandoori Style Kadhai Paneer (Oven Baked Wok-style Cottage Cheese)

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Tandoori Style Kadhai Paneer (Oven Baked Wok-style Cottage Cheese)
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    Paneer is a fresh cheese common in South Asia, especially in India. It is an unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar, or any other food acids. In eastern India, its crumbly and moist form is called chhena. It is known as fonir in Sylhet. Based on texts such as Charaka Samhita, BN Mathur wrote that the earliest evidence of a heat-acid coagulated milk product in India can be traced to 75-300 CE, in the Kushan-Satavahana era. Paneer is believed to be indigenous to north-western part of South Asia, and was introduced in India by Afghan and Iranian travelers.

    Though I believe we should incorporate more plant based foods into our daily diet, some dairy products are still a staple in my kitchen. Ghee, yogurt and paneer is something we consume almost every other day. These three dairy products have their own nutritional significance besides the taste factor. Paneer is especially good for bone health and, that is why highly recommended for growing children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. And since we are expecting our second one, I am letting go myself easy on this.

    This particular recipe is usually prepared by deep-frying or shallow frying paneer but I have used good old baking process to cut down on calories. Also by marinading paneer and baking it, I noticed that it gives a very distinct smoky flavor to the whole dish. And that’s how I remembered that it tasted just like tandoori style paneer tikka. This dish is fondly relished by everyone in my family and so I consider it as one of my specialties. So do give it a try and share your experience with us in comments below .

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    Step 1
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    Prepare Marinade:

    In a large mixing bowl, add chickpea flour. Add a teaspoon kashmiri chili powder, a pinch of turmeric powder, half teaspoon coriander powder, half teaspoon, half teaspoon garam masala and salt as per taste. Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly.

    Step 2
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    Now add 2-3 tablespoon yogurt and mix gently. Gradually add water to adjust consistency. The mixture should be lump free and not too thick or runny.
    Optional: Add half a teaspoon of mixed pickle and mix again.

    Step 3
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    Add paneer cubes to the mixing bowl and fold into the prepared marinade. Also add a tablespoon of semolina over the paneer cubes and then mix in a way so that all the paneer cubes are well coated with the semolina.

    Step 4
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    Cover with the cling film and leave aside the paneer cubes to marinade or 2-3 hours.
    Tip: Refrigerating the marinade mix will give harder coating to the paneer cubes. This will make baking process easy and paneer cubes crispier.

    Step 5
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    Prepare Gravy:

    In a mortar and pestle, grate ginger and garlic pods. Add in chopped red chilies and crush thoroughly. Keep aside the freshly prepared ginger, garlic and red chili paste until ready to be used.

    Step 6
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    In a blending jar, add a roughly chopped tomato along with an onion. Add a bunch of coriander leaves and cashewnuts. Blend all the ingredients to form a thick paste. Keep it aside until ready to be used.

    Step 7
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    Bake Marinaded Paneer Cubes:

    Line the baking dish and assemble all the marinaded cubes onto the skewers. Drizzle the remaining marinade mixture over the assembled paneer cubes. Bake in the preheated oven for at least 30 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius. If you want more crispy texture, then bake for few more minutes.
    (Note: I baked the paneer cubes until I got the perfect crisp deep red coating. You can prolong the baking process if you prefer dark brown or black edges on the paneer cubes.)

    Step 8
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    Prepare Stir Fried Veggies:

    Chop red, yellow and green bell peppers in a triangle or square shape. Also chop a white onion keeping the florets thick. (Note: Chop onion into four equal parts and then separate florets with your hands to keep it thick.)

    Step 9
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    In a hot pan, add olive oil as per your liking (I added around 3-4 tsp). Then add cumin seeds, bay leaf, dried red chilies and fresh ginger garlic chili paste. Stir vigorously and then toss in the chopped bell peppers and onion. Stir fry everything few minutes.

    Step 10
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    Now add blended mixture of onion, tomato, coriander and cashewnuts. Gently stir everything together and then time to add spices.
    Mix in a teaspoon each of kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and black pepper powder. Also add half a teaspoon of garam masala and salt as per taste. Further add 1-2 teaspoon of tomato ketchup. Thoroughly stir everything together and add a little water in between. This will make mixing easier and also the gravy will not to be too dry.

    Step 11
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    Cover the pan with the lid and cook for few minutes. Once the veggies are cooked, add baked paneer cubes into the pan. You can also add raisins and cashewnuts to make it richer. Garnsih with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

    soulfulp

    I love cooking healthy food that not only nourishes the mind and body, but soul too. Give the gift of both, health and taste to yourself and your loved ones.

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    • Serves 4
    • Medium

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    Ingredients

    Adjust Servings:
    2 tbsp chickpea flour
    2 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
    1 tsp and a pinch Turmeric Powder
    1 & 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
    As per taste salt
    1 & 1/2 tsp Black Pepper Powder
    1 tsp Garam Masala
    2-3 tsp Yogurt
    1/2 tsp(optional) Mixed Pickle
    500 g Cottage Cheese
    1 tbsp semolina
    2 cm root Small Ginger Pod
    1-2 Garlic Pod
    2 Red Chili
    1 Tomato
    2 White Onion
    A bunch Fresh Coriander Leaves
    12-15 g Cashewnuts
    1 each Red, Yellow & Green Bell Peppers
    As per need olive oil
    1-2 tsp Cumin Seeds
    1-2 Bay Leaf
    2 Dried Red Chilies
    1-2 tsp Tomato Ketchup
    2-3 tsp Kasoori Methi
    10-12 Raisins
    As per requirement water
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