Strapped For Time? Try These Easy 5-Minute Paneer Recipes
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Do you love paneer? If the answer to this question is yes, then it may be a solution to many of your cooking woes. When you are in a rush and don’t know what to cook, paneer can come to your rescue. It is one of the easiest ingredients to work with, especially in a desi kitchen. Whether you scramble them in a bhurjee or cut them into thick squares, the versatile paneer remains delicious. The best part is that your quick meals need not compromise on nutrition or taste. 

Paneer is a rich source of protein, which is good for muscle building and repair. It's a great substitute for vegetarians, who may not usually get their protein fix from eggs, meat, or fish. It is also a good source of calcium, which is important for bone health, and is low in carbs, which means you can eat it even when you are on a diet. It is easier to digest as compared to other dairy products, such as cheese. 

Paneer absorbs the flavours of spices and other ingredients, making it easily adaptable to a wide range of dishes, from savoury to sweet. It can be the star ingredient in curries, snacks, desserts, and salads. You can use it fresh for a soft texture or fried for a crispy exterior. It also tastes great at room temperature and doesn’t necessarily need to be heated, especially if you are eating on the go. This makes it a great lunch box item. Paneer is often used in special dishes for festivals, weddings, and family gatherings, which also means that you can quickly whip up something and serve it to guests who make a sudden appearance.

Video Credit: Mirch masala Madhu's recipe

Paneer can be easily made at home with just milk, lemon juice or vinegar, making it accessible and fresh. While it is best to eat paneer fresh, it also has a good shelf life when kept in the refrigerator, so it can be saved for a rainy day. Here are some recipes for when you want to use paneer to make a dish quickly.

Paneer Stir Fry

In a pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced bell peppers and onions, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the cubed paneer to the pan and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, salt, and black pepper. All you have to do is make sure that the paneer and veggies are coated well in the sauce. Once that’s done, it’s ready to serve.

Paneer Bhurji

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Crumble the block of paneer with your hand. Add chopped onions and green chillies to a kadhai and sauté them for about a minute. Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, and salt. Cook for a minute or two and then add the crumbled paneer and mix well. Add fresh coriander leaves when done. Even though it’s ready in a few minutes when served with bread or paratha, it makes for a filling meal.

Chilli Paneer

Slice the green bell pepper, onion, and green chillies and add them to a heated pan. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Then add the paneer that has been cut into cubes to the pan and stir-fry for 2 more minutes. Add soy sauce and tomato ketchup. When the paneer and veggies get coated in the sauce, the chilli paneer is ready.

Paneer Sandwich

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Spread butter on one side of each bread slice. Then spread green chutney on the other side of two bread slices. Place sliced fresh paneer, tomato, and cucumber on the chutney side of the bread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining bread slices, butter side up. Grill or toast the sandwich until golden brown. 

Paneer Tikka

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In a bowl, mix yoghurt, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, garam masala, salt, and lemon juice. Then add paneer cubes and coat them well. In a pan, heat the oil and add the marinated paneer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally, until lightly browned. When served with mint chutney, this starter will make everyone ask for more.

Paneer Wrap

Cut the paneer into cubes and add it to the pan with heated oil. Sauté for 2–3 minutes until lightly browned. Season with salt and black pepper. Warm the tortillas in a dry pan, cooking them for about 30 seconds on each side. Spread green chutney or hummus on each tortilla. Layer with lettuce, tomato slices, cucumber slices, and the sautéed paneer. Roll it up like roti rolls and cut it in half to make it easier to eat.

Paneer Salad

In a large bowl, put the cucumber, tomato, red onion, bell pepper and cubed paneer. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over the salad. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Mix it gently to combine all the ingredients. Add some fresh coriander or parsley on top. Your paneer salad is ready for a refreshing lunch.