Masala Paneer or Herbed Cottage Cheese is a wonderful version of plain paneer or cottage cheese. It tastes awesome and can be made easily.
We are vegetarians and we consume paneer like, almost on daily basis. My kids love to eat Paneer or cottage cheese just as is. Besides that we do make paneer dishes also, like Butter Paneer Masala, Paneer Lababdar, Kadai Paneer, Malai Paneer Korma etc.
I like to prepare paneer (cottage cheese), fresh at home. Somehow, I have never liked the store bought or frozen paneer (cottage cheese ). I feel it lacks the freshness and the wonderful subtle flavor which fresh homemade paneer has.
For all the paneer dishes that I make at home, I make plain flavor paneer. Yes, even paneer (cottage cheese) can also be flavored. Don’t tell me you never had any such type of masala paneer?! If yes, then you must try out this recipe.
What is Masala Paneer?
Masala Paneer or herbed Cottage cheese, is a paneer with added spices and herbs , not while cooking but while preparing it. I learned this recipe from my mom’s recipe book, in which she noted recipes told by her friends or shown on TV programs etc. So the original source of it is not known to me also.
Masala Paneer is a great snack option. Just to think of making a paneer with the fresh flavors of herbs and some spices, and which is not fried or carrying any type of fat…Awesome, Isn’t it?! It is such a great food to include in your diet if you are trying to loose weight. You know, you can just make it in anyway you like. Chatpata, Spicy, little subtle, oozing with the freshness of fresh or dried herbs. There are so many options. I bet you’ll keep trying all the different flavors of masala Paneer.
Preparations for Masala Paneer
To prepare Masala Paneer or herbed cottage cheese, all you need is;
1.Full Fat Milk – It is good if you use full fat milk to make paneer or cottage cheese. It gives a good amount of paneer after curdling. However, you can also use the less fat or skimmed milk also, but you will get very less amount of Paneer from such milk. So I prefer full fat milk only. Also, if I am keeping a check on my diet, then I eat it in controlled portions. But for my kids, its a great protein rich food and they love to snack on these.
2. Fresh Herbs – Whenever available, I try to add the fresh herbs like, coriander, mint, dill leaves etc. They give a wonderful green color in between the fresh and soft white paneer. The taste of these herbs in each bite you take, is bursting of freshness in this masala paneer.
3. Dried Herbs – Fresh herbs are not always available with us. So what I generally do is, dry the fresh leaves of mint, coriander and sometimes dill and powder or crush them and store in a jar. This way I am able to use them even if they are not available fresh. So many a times, I have made paneer using these dried herbs too.
4. Spices – I just love adding spices to masala paneer. You can get creative here and add what ever spice you like. Just be sure that spices you add should be dry roasted and powdered or coarsely grounded. My personal favorites are black pepper, roasted jeera (cumin ) powder and chilli flakes. I have tried masala Paneer with chat masala, fennel seeds and dry mango powder also. All these make a yummy and delectable snack of masala Paneer.
5. Vinegar or Lemon Juice – To prepare fresh paneer (cottage cheese) at home, we will need vinegar or lemon juice. Vinegar is never added directly to the milk to curdle it. Always mix vinegar or lemon juice with water in equal quantities and then use it for curdling the milk.
How to serve Masala Paneer
Masala paneer can be served in the following ways;
1.Snack – It is a great and such a healthy option for snacks. Just prepare the masala paneer, cut in long pieces like french fries and serve with the dip or chutney of your choice. You can even toast it lightly. I generally serve it to my kids like this only. Just add a tsp of ghee or butter in a pan and lightly toast the masala paneer cubes to light golden and serve.
2. Paneer Dishes – Masala paneer can be used in all the paneer dishes. In fact I have used it so many times in my paneer dishes at home, and it just takes the flavor of the dish to the next level. Do try it and find out yourself.
3. Tikkas – This herbed cottage cheese can definitely be also used for paneer tikka snack. The added flavors in it, will enhance the taste further.
4. Stuffing – The herbed cottage cheese is also great to be used as a filling in parathas. The added spices will only increase the flavor further. But be careful while adding extra spices in the filling as the masala paneer will already have some spices in it.
Some other interesting recipes;
- Samosa – crunchy and market style
- Pav Bhaji recipe
- Alu Ki Puri
- Instant Garlic Naan
- Mint chutney and dip
- Aloo Paratha (with tips)
Recipe Video of Masala Paneer
- Full Fat Milk – 1.5 ltr
- Dried Coriander Leaves Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Black Pepper Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Roasted Jeera (cumin ) powder – 1/2 tsp
- Chilli flakes – 1/2 tsp
- Mixed herbs – 3/4 tsp
- Salt as per taste
- Vinegar as required
- Water as required
Note : You can increase or decrease the quantity of any spice or dried herbs as per your taste. Also fresh herbs like, finely chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves, dill leaves etc. can also be added in the milk.
1. Heat milk in a pan. Keep stirring the milk in between while heating it to avoid the formation of malai or cream layer on top of milk.
2. When milk is just about to boil, lower the flame and add 2 tsp of vinegar and water mixer (mix vinegar and water in equal quantity and keep in a bowl).
3. Mix and add all the spices and salt as per taste and mix nicely.
4. Now start adding the vinegar water mixer again, 1 tsp a time.
5. Keep stirring the milk in between so that whenever the milk starts to curdle, all the spices are equally infused in the paneer.
6. When the milk is curdled completely and the whey (greenish water left after the milk has curdled) has separated, strain the milk.
7. Wash the masala Paneer with plain water after straining.
8. Cover and keep a heavy weight on the masala paneer to give it a good shape. Keep it like this for about an hour.
9. After about an hour, the masala paneer is set.
10. Cut the paneer in cubes or in your desired shape.
11. Serve with dips or chutneys and enjoy.
This amazing recipe is tried and tested and is very much popular in my home with kids and adults both. Do give it a try and let me know in the comments section, how it came out.
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