Paneer Bhurji Recipe (Punjabi Style)

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Paneer also referred to as Indian cottage cheese is an important source of proteins for vegetarians. The reason Indian cuisine has a variety of dishes made with this milk product. There are different ways you can use paneer in cooking, like make koftas of it, use it cubed or diced in curries and also crumble it to make a lovely Paneer Bhurji. Hence, Paneer Bhurji Recipe is basically spiced scrambled paneer. This recipe is a Punjabi style of making this popular and delicious North Indian dish, just the way it is made in my home.

What is Paneer Bhurji

In Hindi, the word ‘Bhurji’ literally translates to ‘Scrambled.’ So technically, Paneer Bhurji is basically scrambled paneer or cottage cheese cooked with some more ingredients.

In this quick and simple vegetarian recipe, crumbled homemade paneer is cooked with a mixture of onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, green chilies and some spices into a savory, tangy and satisfying dish.

You can actually take it as the vegetarian version of the Indian style scrambled eggs which is popularly known as egg bhurji or anda bhurji in Hindi language. The flavorful Paneer Bhurji Recipe, as like other bhurji recipes, is quick to make and an ideal breakfast dish too.

What’s best is that you can even make a vegan version of the Paneer Bhurji by substituting the cottage cheese (paneer) with tofu. However, make sure to not use silken tofu or soft tofu for the same. To make it easier for you, refer to this recipe of Tofu Bhurji.

In addition to the Paneer Bhurji Recipe, the anda or egg bhurji is also a classic dish served in most of the dhabas or road side eateries in the whole of North India.

While in Punjabi households, even the Mooli Bhurji is quite common, which is made with grated of finely chopped tender white radish of the winter season.

Paneer Bhurji Essentials

Here’s a list of all that you essentially need for a tasty, delicious Paneer Bhurji Recipe:

  • Firm paneer (cottage cheese): It is a no brainer that you would obviously require paneer for this bhurji recipe, as it is the main ingredient here. Paneer is fresh cheese which is made by curdling the milk with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or vinegar. Whenever I make any dish that uses paneer, I prefer to use homemade rather than store-bought paneer, as it is tastier and fresher.
  • Homemade paneer: Making paneer from scratch may sound intimidating at first, but once you try it, it is quite easy and tastes so good. Simply follow the step-by-step instructions on How To Make Paneer and you will have a fresh block of homemade paneer within half an hour.
  • Onions and tomatoes: Both onions and tomatoes are unanimously added in many Indian dishes. For the onions, you can use red onions, yellow onions or white onions. For tomatoes, use the ones which are ripe, red and not too tart or sour.
  • Ginger-garlic paste: A paste of ginger and garlic is also used in this recipe. To make this paste you simply use a mortar and pestle to crush together the fresh ginger and garlic. Although a freshly made paste is always better, a readymade ginger-garlic paste also can be used.
  • Spices: These are the usual Indian ground spices like red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder. Most of these are easily available outside India too, in Asian grocery stores and even online. For the garam masala, I always use the homemade one in all my recipes. To make a fragrant and flavorful garam masala powder at home, refer to this recipe of homemade Garam Masala.

How to make Paneer Bhurji

Prep Paneer and Make Onion Tomato Masala

1. Crumble 200 to 250 grams paneer with your fingers and keep aside. I have used homemade paneer.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a frying pan or kadai (wok) or a sauté pan or frying pan. You can even use ghee or butter, instead of oil.

Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and let them crackle on low to medium-low heat.

3. Then, add ½ cup finely chopped onions.

4. Sauté the onions on medium-low heat till translucent and soft.

5. Next, add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste and 1 or 2 chopped green chilies (about ½ to 1 teaspoon, chopped).

6. Mix very well and sauté for some seconds till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

7. Add 1 cup tightly packed finely chopped tomatoes.

8. Mix the tomatoes and begin to sauté on medium-low heat.

9. Sauté the tomatoes till completely soft. You can also add a pinch of salt, so that the tomatoes cook faster.

You will see oil releasing from the sides of the mixture, once the tomatoes are softened.

10. Now add all the ground spice powders:

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder (or ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper)
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder (ground coriander)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala powder

11. Mix very well and sauté for 5 to 6 seconds on low to medium-low heat.

Make Paneer Bhurji

12. Add the crumbled paneer and salt as per taste.

13. Mix thoroughly and cook for 1 minute. Don’t cook the paneer for a long time, as it hardens and looses its softness.

14. Turn off the heat and add 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves. Mix very well.

14. Serve Paneer Bhurji hot with roti, chapati, phulka, paratha, pav (dinner rolls) or bread, with a side of thinly sliced onions and lemon wedges.

Squeeze lemon juice on the bhurji before eating. You can also serve it with toasted bread.

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