The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including gluten-free and vegan dishes.


July 8, 2019

Paneer Bhurji with Sweet Peppers

Is it possible to dream about a dish? Every time I see pictures of this dish, I start drooling. My family thinks I have issues but I cannot help it. Of course I am talking about Paneer Bhurji!

Ever since my sister and I ate at Ganesh Restaurant in Jaipur, I've been craving it. It's the perfect combination of spices, vegetables and cheese. Don't take my word for it, just take a look at the picture of this yummy dish below:

Dhaba Style Paneer Bhurji from Ganesh Restaurant in Jaipur
The guy at the restaurant topped the curry with fresh butter and more paneer. Just look at how the butter is melting on top of the warm curry. I'm drooling again. We enjoyed this curry with freshly made garlic naan. What more can you ask for?

I've eaten this dish again a few years back at this Indian restaurant that used to be close to my parents' place but it's not there anymore. Why does it have to be so hard to get what you LOVE? 

My mom made tofu bhurji but it wasn't the same for me. Whenever, I look back at our vacation pictures from Jaipur, I think about the food we had and how much we really enjoyed it.

I started craving it again this past weekend and decided enough is enough. I'm going to make it. I researched online and found a few recipes and realized I didn't have the exact ingredients. However, I didn't let that deter me from making it.

There are two "parts" for making this curry. First is making the paste or base and then adding the paneer and other spices and cooking it all together. Below is the list of ingredients with some substitutions since I didn't have all the ingredients from the original recipe:

Ingredients for making the paste or base of the curry:
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 to 1½ tsp crushed red peppers, seeds removed
- 3 cloves
- 3 whole peppercorns
- 2 green cardamom
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
½ inch ginger, chopped
½ tsp of red chili powder
- 2 to 2½ cups wine tomatoes (ripe but firm), chopped

Other ingredients:
1½ cups grated Paneer (I used Nanak brand), grated or crumbled
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp whole cumin
½ cup onion, finely chopped
½ to 1 tsp red chili powder (or as per taste)
- 1½ tsp dhanjeera powder (coriander and cumin powder)
½ to 1 tsp salt (or per taste)
- 2/3 cup of red and orange sweet peppers, finely chopped (1cm size pieces)
½ to 1 cup Water
- 1 tsp Kasoori methi, crush between your palm
½ tsp garam masala
- 2 Tbsp coconut milk*
- fresh coriander, finely chopped for garnish

1) Heat oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Once you feel the heat on your palm, add in the spices (bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, red chili powder and crushed red peppers). Saute for a few seconds and then add the ginger and garlic. Saute for a minute. 

2) Mix in the tomatoes and cook them till they are soft. Remove from stove and let the mixture cool down. Then puree the mixture. 

3) Wipe down the saucepan and bring it back to the stove. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat. Once it reaches the temperature, add whole cumin. When they splutter, add the onion. Cook the onion until it's translucent in color. 

4) Then mix in the tomato puree mixture. Cook until all the moisture evaporates. Stir intermittently so the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. It should start leaving the side of the pan. 

5) Next add red chili powder and dhanjeera powder. Mix well and cook for another minute. Then add sweet peppers. Mix well. Add water to make the gravy consistency. Let it simmer for 3 to 4 minutes so the peppers get cooked. 

6) Then add garam masala and kasoori methi. Mix well. Next add the paneer and mix again. Simmer for a few minutes. Add more water if needed. 

7) Add the coconut milk. Mix well and cook for another minute. Remove from stove and garnish with fresh coriander. Paneer bhurji is ready to be served. Can be enjoyed with naan, chappati, rice or quinoa. 

Not bad for the first try. I made this for dinner tonight and my husband really liked it. It wasn't dry and was good with garlic naan. It brought back memories from my family's Jaipur trip. Looking forward to visiting again sometime and relive those memories.

Quick Tips
- I think the hardest part of this recipe is that you need all the spices and herbs. It seems like a lot but it makes a difference in how the dish will taste.
- I didn't have heavy whipping cream or malai so I used coconut milk.  I also made a paste out of soaked cashews to give a richer flavor.
- You can also substitute paneer for tofu or scrambled eggs. Check out our recipe for tofu bhurji.

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