So growing up my family had a strict meal schedule- vegetarian meals Monday through Thursday, fish on Friday and meat meals on the weekend. At the time I didn’t appreciate the vegetarian lentil lasagnes, curries and chilis…the freedom of University soon made me drop this strict meal routine.
However, in recent years I have brought it back into my life and I love the challenge of cooking delicious vegetarian meals. Its also healthy, cheap, better for the environment and means I can splash out on good quality meat when I do indulge. I understand many people may ask why I haven't turned fully vegetarian...I have tried and failed. So instead of giving up altogether, reducing my meat intake has worked really well for me and maybe one day I will end up reducing it down to nothing.
Moving on...to Paneer
India does vegetarian food particularly well, not surprisingly given it has one of the lowest meat consumptions per person in the world.In my opinion it also has one of the best meat substitutes in the world…paneer!
Paneer is a fresh, soft cheese eaten across India that is made by simply curdling milk. It works as a great meat alternative because it’s delicious and it doesn’t melt when cooked. It is so versatile from being grilled on the BBQ for a charred flavor, fried in oil to crisp it up or it can be added as it is to a sauce for a soft texture that soaks up all the flavor.
We used it to make saag paneer, one of my all time favorite Indian dishes. This was a simple recipe frying and blitzing spinach before adding to fried onions, tomatoes, cumin seeds and garam masala. A vegetarian weekday treat for sure!
If you haven’t had it before I would definitely recommend having a go at cooking with it. In recent years I have found it readily available in most supermarkets but you can also make it yourself so long as you have a cheese cloth..
I hope I have you convinced…let me know what you make!