South African Recipe

I haven’t spent much time in my kitchen the last few days, it’s been light meals and rushing around. My middle son has started college, and yes he is studying at a culinary school, wants to become a chef so he can teach his mum a few professional tricks. Our home feels empty with 2 of my boys now almost out the house, my 17 year old is staying at the college residence. Although he drove me crazy when he was at home I miss him terribly. The only positive is that I got to cook a Spicy Durban Chicken Curry, only because I didn’t have to hear his moans about the fact that he hates Chicken Curry and even more so if it was chicken on the bone.

This Spicy Durban Chicken Curry will definitely tantalize your tastebuds with it’s robust flavours. There are many different versions of cooking a chicken curry but my favourite is this one, cooked the South African Indian way with no fancy frills, just plain old chicken curry.

If you have eaten a curry cooked in a South African Indian home you will know a lot of our meat dishes are cooked with meat on the bone. The bone adds loads of flavour to the sauce or gravy as we know.

We do cook our chicken curry very similar to the way we would cook a Durban Lamb Curry https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/durban-lamb-curry/ . There’s is no quick fix to cooking a delicious curry, you cannot achieve the same results if you just add all the ingredients to the pot and just cook it in a hurry. You do have to layer the flavours, saute your onion and garlic, roast your spices and let the curry simmer on a low heat. The longer it simmers the more flavourful it becomes. It’s even more delicious if you allow it to stand for a while before serving.

I remember my mum sometimes cooked the chicken curry and then popped it into the oven for a short while, this totally enhanced the flavour of the curry. Like I have mentioned in a previous post it is best to roast your spices and grind them, you can store them in an airtight bottle. I don’t grind a whole lot, just enough to last me a couple of weeks so that way I know it still maintains its freshness. Nothing beats freshly ground spices.

If you love curries then you may also want to try some of these recipes:

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/mince-curry-potatoes/

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/gadra-borlotti-bean-curry/


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Spicy Durban Chicken Curry
Spicy Durban Chicken Curry cooked with Indian Spices
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Instructions
  1. Heat ghee and add the whole spices, cinnamon, bay leaf, elachie, black elachie, star aniseed. When it becomes fragrant add onion, chilli and curry leaf
  2. Saute until onion is slightly brown
  3. Add ginger/garlic paste and saute for a further minute
  4. Add the ground spices, coriander, cumin, soomph, chilli powder, masala and turmeric
  5. Mix well, add a few drops of water to prevent scorching and fry for a minute
  6. Add the chicken and potatoes. Season with salt. Simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes
  7. Add half cup of water and simmer until potatoes are tender and soft. The tomatoes and amount of water I've added creates enough gravy, however you can add more if required. Please note that your gravy should be thick, not runny
  8. Sprinkle in the garam masala and crush the methi leaves with your fingertips and add it in. Mix well. Turn heat off and allow your curry to stand at least half an hour before serving.
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Cooked the South African way with the addition of Coconut Cream.

Green Bean Curry has always been a popular dish in our home, except that we never cooked it with any sort of cream or milk. This Green Bean Curry with Coconut Cream is a first for me but it was amazing. I have seen recipes for Green Bean curry with coconut milk, cooked the Sri Lankan way. I thought let me follow my usual recipe and just add coconut milk to it and see what it tastes like but only to discover I had no coconut milk. I settled for coconut cream instead.

Surprisingly this Green Bean Curry with Coconut Cream tasted divine, I was a bit sceptical about what it would taste like but I loved it. Will definitely be cooking this dish again. We do cut up our green bean a little differently when using it in a curry, it is sliced thinly and sort of diagonally, I think the reason for this was for quick cooking time. Not sure if there’s another reason but it’s how my mum did it and it works well.

If you want an even more simple green bean recipe then maybe you should try this fried green bean recipe https://itsallaboutthekitchen.coif .za/recipe/fried-green-beans/

You can serve this Green Bean curry with some Basmati rice or roti. I personally prefer it with roti, almost all veggie curries taste delicious with roti. I haven’t yet posted a roti recipe but you can check out my tips on getting perfect rotis https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/roti-making/

Will definitely try and share a recipe soon. The South African way of making roti is definitely not the same as it’s made in India but it’s what we are used to, soft, buttery rotis.

Please do try this recipe. You are most welcome to mail me at any time if you need help with my recipes. I love sharing and I always love to help. It’s great when I hear from people that have tried something that I’ve posted, makes my blogging journey worth it.

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Green Bean Curry with Coconut Milk
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil, add onion, fenugreek seeds, curry leaf and chilli
  2. When onion is translucent add garlic and fry for minute
  3. Add masala,, chilli powder and turmeric. Add a few drops of water and fry for a minute
  4. Add the sliced green beans and season with salt. Simmer on low heat until green beans is cooked
  5. Add the coconut cream and cook until it's heated through. Serve hot
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Chilli Chicken is an Indo-Chinese dish, it is battered chicken fried and smothered in a soy and chilli sauce. You would normally deep fry your chicken for this dish. However, the idea of deep-frying too often doesn’t appeal to me much. I therefore shallow fried the chicken in a little bit of peanut oil and it was still perfect. Be careful not to over cook your chicken though, chicken breasts can become rubbery when over-cooked. If you won’t compromise on the crispness of your chicken then I suggest you deep-fry them. Deep-frying definitely makes the chicken more crispy.

There are saucy versions and dry versions of Chilli Chicken. I cooked the dry version but you can double the recipe for the sauce, if you want a more saucy dish.  This Chilli Chicken has the perfect balance of sweet and sour with the crunchiness of the peppers and onion, you definitely won’t have leftovers. My kids love this Chilli Chicken dish as they are not fans of chicken on the bone and they love the fact that this dish has chicken breasts. They also love Chinese food and although this is not exactly the Chinese food they normally eat but it still ticked all the boxes.

Chilli Chicken is great with some rice and a side of vegetables. We often have it with broccoli, it’s one of the vegetables that goes down well with my fussy boys. Another favourite Chicken dish is Spicy Thai Chicken Noodles so if you love spice and chicken then please do try it.

You can make this dish in a  jiffy and you won’t need that much coking skill. It also makes a perfect weeknight dinner, especially if you don’t have loads of time. You can increase or reduce the amount of chilli according to your preference. Although I didn’t  add salt to my dish, as I felt the soy sauce had enough, you can add more if you wish.

Unlike the curry dishes I usually prepare in advance, Chilli Chicken is best served immediately with some freshly steamed rice.


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Chilli Chicken

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Instructions
  1. Marinate the chicken with the egg, cornflour and ginger and garlic paste. I did not add salt as the soy sauce adds enough salt to the dish, however you can taste once its cooked and add more salt if required. Refrigerate the chicken for half an hour or you can fry it immediately if you don't have time

  2. Heat oil and fry the chicken in small batches. Set aside

  3. Heat 2 tablespoon oil and sauté the onion, white part of spring onion, chilli and pepper for about a minute. Reserve the green part of the spring onion for later

  4. In a bowl mix soy sauce, chilli sauce, vinegar and tomato paste (if using) together. Add this to the onion mix together with the fried chicken. Heat through

  5. Add more salt if required. Garnish with the spring onion. Serve immediately as desired


Recipe Notes

If you add the tomato paste and you find the sauce too acidic you can add a pinch of sugar


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Hope you all had a great weekend! I love weekends as it’s family time and it’s great having my kids and hubby at home, although sometimes I have to work extra hard when they are all at home, more dishes to wash, more food to cook. I do have part-time help with my chores a couple of days a week but on weekends having boys in the house is almost like we were struck by a tornado, every corner of the house is a total mess. I have a hubby that loves a clean house and he helps with cleaning up n the weekends, he vacuums and he mops, yes….I hope his mum doesn’t read this. Well, she knows her son’s taken care of so he’s just doing his bit to take care of me. He even brings me coffee in bed on the weekends, he can be very sweet when he wants to be. I’ve been through many rocky roads in life so it is great to have a husband that does take care of me, he’s not perfect, he is human so he has flaws like the rest of us. But he is a good dad and a great step-dad to my 2 boys, it is a blended family and we have our ups and downs but we always find a way to resolve our issues as a family.  He does spoil me and takes cares of all our needs, he even does grocery shopping for me straight after work, he has a stressful job but he never refuses to shop for me, we are both shopaholics.

These are some of the reasons why I don’t mind spoiling him a little, its why I made these delicious prawns as a little snack for him, even though I had no intention of cooking yesterday afternoon.

Normally I would try and add in a million ingredients to try  and get my garlic prawns to taste good, however yesterday I decided I was going to use minimal ingredients and make the prawns just the way I always made it, simple but bursting with flavour. This dish was the most delicious dish I have ever made, the prawns were to die for and it was so easy to make.

I made a small portion because it was just for my hubby, my kids didn’t want any so I didn’t want to let my expensive prawns go to waste by preparing too much. I had a little bite because I am trying to be healthy and watching my cholesterol. You can serve this with a crusty bread, just yummy when you dip it into the sauce or you can serve it on a bed of pasta. You can use the feature below to increase the number of servings and the recipe will be worked out for you.

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Creamy Chilli and Garlic Prawns
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Instructions
  1. Clean and rinse your prawns really well, I add a little course salt to my prawns, rub it in well and then rinse it and squeeze out the excess water. You have to squeeze out as much water as you can to prevent your prawns from getting all rubbery when cooked
  2. Using a pestle and mortar add the chopped chilli, garlic and lemon juice and smash it until you get a coarse paste
  3. Add the chilli paste to the prawns together with the lemon zest. Season with salt and refrigerate for half an hour
  4. Heat the butter in a pan, on high heat, with a few drops of olive oil to prevent the butter from burning. Flash fry the prawns, takes about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fresh cream to the same pan, just until it heats through. Remove from heat, garnish with parsley and serve
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What better to serve on a rainy day in Johannesburg, curry of course! I ate the most delicious Chickpea and Butternut Curry at a restaurant over the weekend and I had to re-create it for my family. Chickpea has become a hit in our home, of late, but it becomes boring if you try the same recipe too often. I have a family that needs to be constantly introduced to new flavours and recipes, they get bored easily. Thank goodness my mum taught me how to cook and I have a little bit of a right brain to bring out some creativity in the kitchen.

I only ever remember eating fried chickpeas when I lived at home, I don’t know if my mum knew there were other ways to cook chickpeas back then. Not that I minded eating the fried chickpeas, it was delicious. How the world has changed. Now you can cook chickpeas in so many different ways, you’re spoilt for choice.

This is a rich, fragrant dish and I definitely recommend using freshly ground spices, makes the dish even more aromatic and flavourful. I used coconut milk but you can substitute it for cream if you want a richer curry. I also cook everything as spicy as I can but please feel free to reduce the amount of chilli if you can’t handle too much heat. A great dish for a main meal and can be served with naan bread or basmati rice. I served mine with naan bread, recipe will follow shortly.

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Chickpea and Butternut Curry with Coconut Milk
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Instructions
  1. Chop up the butternut and set aside. Blend the onion, chilli, ginger/garlic into a smooth paste.
  2. Heat oil and fry the onion mixture until the onion is transluscent
  3. Add the cumin, coriander, chilli powder and garam masala. Mix well and fry for a minute. Add a drop of water to prevent it from burning
  4. Drain the chickpeas and give it a quick rinse, I prefer to do this but you don't have to. Add the chickpeas and butternut and mix it well with the spices.
  5. If you are using the Knorr stockpot you can add it in and add a cup of warm water with it. If you using a cup of vegetable stock then add it now but do not add any more water.
  6. Add the can of coconut cream.
  7. Mix it all together and simmer on a low heat until the butternut is soft but not mushy and the sauce reduces.
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I woke up this morning not feeling so great, ask women that have thyroid issues and they will tell you what it’s like too be affected by this “making your hormones crazy” disease. Somedays I feel down for no particular reason, I will wake up just feeling deflated and those are the days I wish I could stay in bed all day. But as I said cooking always gives me that “pick me up” that I need so today I had my few hours of kitchen therapy and I must admit I do feel a little better already. As a mum I don’t think you can have those “do nothing” kinda days, whether you like it or not you have to keep going or your kids won’t have a chauffeur, homework won’t get done, there will be no food to eat, the house will not be cleaned amongst a million other things mums have to do.

Some days when I am totally not in the mood to cook I do cheat and use store-bought stuff, especially when I’m short on time. Most days I love making things from scratch, it’s really rewarding when you make dishes from scratch and it’s a success, then it makes all your effort seem worth it. This is a sauce I make mostly when I make pizzas and seeing I need to make pizza during the week I thought I will make some today so I can use some for another dish I made and refrigerate what’s leftover for my pizzas. It’s a great sauce to make ahead and you can freeze it for later use. It’s also very simple to make and you can double the recipe if you want to make extra for later use. You can also keep it chunky or you can use a stick blender to make a smooth sauce, it’s a matter of personal preference. You should be able to use this sauce for at least 3 large pizzas.

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Pizza sauce
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil. Add onion and fry until translucent. Add garlic and chilli and fry for a minute
  2. Add the dried herbs and mix well. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the honey or sugar if required. Season with salt
  3. Cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until oil surfaces to the top. Add fresh, chopped basil
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These fish cakes have been on my mind for a while now, don’t know why it took me this long to make them again. They are so yummy and like most of my recipes, fuss free too. I remember my mum making these fishcakes when I was younger, mine is probably not exactly the same but close enough. I have tried making them with dill once but I’m not crazy about dill, it’s one herb I can’t get used to so no more dill in my recipes. I’ve used coriander and mint in this recipe, my most loved herbs, together with thyme. You will see that I use a lot of these 3 herbs in my recipes. I think this is something I get from my mum. She always has these 3 herbs in her refrigerator and her garden and it’s the same with me. I always have these in my refrigerator, I wouldn’t say garden as I don’t have green fingers nor do I love gardening.

This recipe will let you have a meal in a jiffy and if you don’t add a lot of chilli the kids can eat them too.

I poached my fish in some milk but you can also poach it in some water if you prefer. You should know by now, if you’ve been following my recipes, we love spicy so I’ve piled on the chilli, the chilli wasn’t too hot so I had to use a little more than usual, you can add less if you can’t handle the heat of the chilli. I also used a mixture of panko and normal breadcrumbs, you don’t have to do the same, either one will do. The panko crumbs gives the fishcakes that extra crunch, it’s why I’ve used it. You can serve these fishcakes with a side salad  or potato wedges and a tangy dip, with a drizzle of lemon. Great as an appetizer too.

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Spicy Hake Fishcakes
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Makes 12-14
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Makes 12-14
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Instructions
  1. Add the milk to a pan and place the fish in and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn of the heat and allow the fish to cook further in the hot pan. Boil the potato with the skin until soft and set aside.
  2. Drain the milk and flake the fish. In a large bowl, grate the potato and add the fish.
  3. Combine the green chilli, coriander, mint, onion and egg yolk with the fish and potato. Season with the salt and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with 3 tablespoon water. Place the breadcrumbs in another bowl.
  5. Divide the fish mixture into 12 to 14, depending on how big you want the fishcakes, round balls. Flatten them in your palm.
  6. Dip the fishcake into the egg and then roll into the breadcrumbs. Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook them until golden brown and crunchy. Drizzle some lemon juice over.
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Growing up we never heard of a dish called Jalfrezi,  If we wanted spicy we had to settle for our mums South African way of cooking, it’s the only way we knew.  We also didn’t have many authentic Indian restaurants in South Africa, back in the day, no I’m not that old but let’s just say it was a while ago. Today we have authentic Indian restaurants all over Johannesburg and I’m sure in other cities too.  It’s how we’ve been introduced to many of the Indian dishes we’ve never heard of before. My hubby has been a fan of Jalfrezi, since he first tasted it at a restaurant and I think I only ever tried cooking it once before. I thought today was a good day to try it again,  this is a stir-fried dish consisting of onion, tomatoes, green chilli and bell peppers.  I have read though that the Jalfrezi was originated by the British in India, it’s how they curried their cold meat. We don’t mind how it was created, it’s super delicious and I love the slight crunchiness of the onion and bell pepper. I also love the use of fresh chilli in my Indian dishes so this ticked all the right boxes for me. The cherry on the top is that it is so quick and easy to prepare.

You can adjust the amount of chilli, we love everything hot so it was perfect for us.  Can be served with rice or naan bread.

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Salmon Jalfrezi
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Instructions
  1. Marinate the salmon with the cumin, chilli powder, turmeric, salt and garlic. Refrigerate for half an hour.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Flash fry the fish and set aside
  3. In the same pan, fry the finely sliced onion until it's slightly brown, add the garlic and ginger. Add the tomato and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the turmeric, chill powder, and garam masala. Cook for a minute
  5. Add the bell pepper, cubed onion and chilli. Add a few drops of water and allow to cook for about 8 minutes or until peppers are just cooked. Will still have a little crunch. If you prefer a more saucy dish add about a 1/4 cup of water when adding the onion and peppers.
  6. Drizzle the juice of half a lemon over the fish and serve. Can be served with rice or naan bread
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Firstly, I’m not even sure what’s the correct word for this dish anymore, far too confusing for my brain. Pilaf or Pulao is supposed to be a dish with a touch of spice and the rice and curry is mixed together and then cooked. Breyani or Biryani on the other hand is supposed to be a layered dish, a little more spicy than a Pilaf. Even for an Indian this can be much too confusing at times. I love food and I love reading all of the history behind some dishes but at the end of the day if something tastes great, quite frankly does it really matter if it’s a Breyani or a Pilaf.

I tried to keep this dish as simple as I could, it can be a tedious task but so worth it so you really don’t mind putting in a bit of effort. It is great to marinate your chicken overnight but if you don’t have the time to prep in advance it’s perfectly ok not to. I decided to make this on the  spur of the moment so I didn’t have time to prep in advance but it still tasted divine. It is a beautiful piquant dish and so worth the effort put into making it.

I used a cup and a half of rice but you an always increase the quantity to two cups. I also used about 80 grams of butter but you can easily leave out the butter or add less butter. If you not eating Pilaf everyday you can indulge in a little extra butter. It’s also best to roast your spices and grind them yourself, nothing beats freshly ground spices, the aroma is nothing compared to a store bought one.

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Chicken Pilaf/Pulao
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Instructions
  1. Wash rice, season with salt and cook until it's half done. Sprinkle a little food colouring in, cover and set aside. Do not mix in the food colouring immediately. After a few minutes it will give the rice a few different tones, when mixed.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 deg celcius. Boil your potatoes until half cooked, season and shallow fry them, set aside
  3. Heat oil on low heat, add the 2 pieces of cinnamon stick, elachie, star aniseed and bay leaf. Fry until fragrant and add onion, curry leaf, chilli and thyme. Sauté the onion until it is a little brown
  4. Add the ginger/garlic paste. Fry for a minute. Add the chilli powder, masala, ground coriander, cumin, soomph, turmeric, ground cardamom and garam masala. Add a few drops water and fry for a minute, then add the yogurt, mix well
  5. Add the chicken and the mint. Season with salt. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes
  6. Mix the curry, potato and rice together. Place the cubes of butter on top of the rice. Sprinkle a cup of water over the rice and cook in the oven for an hour. You can leave it in for a short while longer if it's not fully cooked and add a few extra drops of water, if required. Once cooked garnish with coriander.
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It’s been a hectic day, from having a sick child and tons of laundry to wash, I barely had time to breath. Luckily, I had some paneer in the freezer which I made about a week ago. I could never freeze meals and feed that to my family but paneer is not a cooked meal so it’s okay to freeze. I have a spoilt family that has gotten used to the idea of having freshly cooked meals everyday. I guess when you quit your corporate job and stay home your family expects a clean home, clean laundry, fresh food everyday…and then some days I still get asked the question “what have you been doing all day”. Never mind the fact that I have a helper only a few days a week and I clean on other days, I play chauffeur to the kids, I do homework, I have clients and I play maintenance lady. I fix things that I can, call on people to help with things I can’t, doesn’t my day look all rosy! So I shouldn’t be complaining about cooking???

Enough of my ranting! Let me share with you my paneer recipe. I always thought it was difficult to make but it is about the easiest thing ever! You boil milk, add lemon juice and you’ve got paneer. For those that don’t know what’s paneer, it is a cheese made by curdling milk with an acid such as lemon juice and vinegar. It is used in Indian cooking and normally homemade but you do get store bought paneer too.

I tried to be a little adventurous so I made my paneer a little different to how it’s usually made. I added some spice to it and it didn’t turn out bad at all. I’ve never seen anyone else do this before so I thought it was quite ingenious, if I should say so myself. I used this paneer in my Paneer Makhani and it was delicious!

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Paneer
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Instructions
  1. Heat milk on medium heat until bubbles form on top
  2. Add 4 tbsp. lemon juice and mix until it starts to curdle. Wait a few seconds and if it doesn't curdle add more lemon juice until the curds and the whey starts separating
  3. Line a stainless steel colander with a cheese or muslin cloth
  4. Pour the curdled mixture into the cloth and allow all the whey to drain out
  5. Add the herbs, chilli, salt and spices. Mix well
  6. Bring the ends of the cloth together and squeeze out the excess whey. Wrap it into a neat little bundle and place something heavy on top, I use a heavy pot. Set aside for 30 minutes
  7. Cut into cubes. Paneer can be frozen
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