I really want to love paneer. I definitely like it. With virtually no flavour, there is nothing apart from texture to really object to. That said, I am yet to find a paneer recipe that I love. I thought, if anyone can make me love paneer, it’s Sabrina Ghayour. If all else fails, preserved lemon would at least add its potent punch to the dish.
Discounting the boiling water, vegetable oil, salt and pepper, there are only eight ingredients in this recipe. You could probably also discount garlic and onions because most well stocked kitchens would have them in the storecupboard, leaving six ingredients. Just six ingredients to help me learn to love paneer and one of those ingredients is the paneer itself.
Onions are fried, turmeric and dried mint are added, followed by the garlic. Don’t misread the recipe like me, mistaking one whole bulb of garlic for one clove. Realising my mistake mid-cook, thankfully the cloves go in peeled but intact, saving time. The huge quantity of spinach is then added but barely fit in the pan; laughably full. The chickpeas are added with the boiling watered and simmered for 20 mins until the broth thickens. Af this stage, the diced paneer and preserved lemons are added before a final 15 minute simmer. Sabrina remind you to check the seasoning throughout the recipe. Never forget how salty the preserved lemons will be as they could tip the broth from seasoned to sea water.
Has it convinced me love paneer?
In a word. No. But I still like it and will continue to have it on occasion as an alternative to meat or tofu… but I’m still not sold. The chickpea, paneer, spinach & preserved lemon stew was okay, but only really lifted to tasty when you half a preserved lemon sneaks into your mouth with some paneer. I had hoped for more. I did wonder whether I’d been too sparing with the salt, but I don’t if that would have made all the difference.
Sadly, my quest for the perfect paneer recipe continues.
If you wanted to try the recipe, you can find it in Bazaar: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes but don’t judge the book by this recipe.. I’ve found everything else so much more delicious.