A delicious paneer starter for special occasions
The countdown to the most opulent and bright Hindu festival of the year has begun. DIWALI – the festival of lights is knocking on our doors. Delicious spicy shredded paneer bhurji encased in a delicate filo pastry parcel and baked to just the right temperature. These bite-sized mini parcels of deliciousness pack a punch of flavour and are certain to become a crowd-pleaser in no time. These mini ‘firecrackers’ explode when bitten into engulfing one’s palate in a riot of beautiful flavours and textures.
A great recipe to rustle up quickly and impress guests, perfect for both at a planned party or for surprising those guests that drop in unexpectedly. And with ASDA by my side, I can bring home all these beautiful ingredients and unleash my creative side in the kitchen. It also gives me an opportunity to save some precious time and spend it with those that matter most – my family – and celebrate this amazing and lively festival with pomp and pageantry – at home.
PANEER FIRECRACKER PARCELS
- Pan, Oven
- 250 grams Paneer
- 2 sheets Filo pastry
- 1 handful cashews and almonds for purée
- 2 Red onions medium sized
- 1.5 small juicy sweet tomatoes
- 2 Sweet Peppers (small, sweet crunchyones)
- 2 tbsp Tomato purée
- 4 tbsp Oil
- 1 small pinch Asafoetida
- 1/2 tsp Cumin (jeera)
- 2 Green chillies
- 1 tsp Red chilli powder
- 1.5 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
- 2 tsp Garam masala
- 2 tsp Coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper powder
- 1/4 tsp Kasoori methi
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
- 1/2 tsp salt or as per taste
- 2 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 handful Almonds + cashew nuts +Raisins ( for garnishing)
- Grate the paneer to get longcheese like curls, set aside
- Soak a handful of cashews andalmonds in warm water, it becomes easier to peel off the skin, peel and leavethem to soften in lukewarm water. Once they soften, make a thick smooth pasteof the cashews and almonds. Set aside
- Remove the seeds and thenroughly chop the tomatoes
- In a heavy bottomed pan heat 1tbsp oil, then reduce the flame and add a pinch of asafoetida and 1/2 tspginger garlic paste, roughly chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp tomato puree, 1/2 a green chillies chopped roughly, 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
- Cook on a medium flame forabout 2 mins, stirring to ensure the paste doesn’t burn or overcook
- Remove this mixture fromthe pan and allow to cool, once it has cooled down blend the mixture tomake a thick paste. Add 1 tbsp water to blend to a smooth consistency
- Meanwhile, start on the peppers by removing all the seeds andfinely chopping the sweet peppers into tiny bite-sized cubes,similarly chop the red onions very fine. Set aside
- In the same pan add 3tbsp oil, when the oil is hot sputter some cumin seeds and add 1/2tsp ginger garlic paste, reduce the flame
- Then add the chopped onions andreduce the flame to low, allow the onions to brown slightly while stirringoccasionally
- Now add the dry powdermasalas (garam masala, 1/4 tsp black pepper powder, red chilli powder,coriander powder) and saute well until the onions are reduced and releasea strong aroma. To ensure the onions and masalas don’t burn, stir occasionallywhile they reduce
- To this, addthis cashew-almond paste and the thick tomato mixture and mix wellThen add in the chopped sweet peppersand cook them until they begin to soften.
- Now add in the gratedpaneer, turmeric powder, kasoori methi and finely choppedcoriander leaves. Cook on a low flame until the mixturethickens it looses all its excess moisture. Do not cook with a lid on, do notadd water and ensure that you stir occasionally
- Allow this mixture to cool completelyand then rshapeinto tiny bround balls. On a baking sheet lay open the filopastry pack and use two sheets to make a strong outer covering
- Cut the sheet using a pizzacutter into large rectangles. If you find this fiddly place the sheet on amuffin tray and cut using a scissor
- Drizzle some melted butter or use anoil spray to line the inside of the sheets
- Add one small paneer mixture ballinto each filo rectangle and gently fold to make a neat parcel, spray someoil over this and cook in a pre-heated oven at about 150 deg cel (fan oven). Keep an eye so that the outer filopastry does not burn
- While this is in the oven heat gheein a small pan and add the raisins, they are ready when they begin to swell insize, then dunk in some skinless whole cashew nuts and skinless whole almondsfry them in the ghee too, once done, remove and set aside
- When the parcels turn a toasty lightbrown colour on the outside, they are done, remove and serve on a prettyplatter on a bed of chopped coriander, sprinkle ghee roasted nuts on top tomimic tiny jewels
This dish is meant to tease the palate before a festive meal. The vibrant spices ensure an explosion of flavour and the rich cashew-almond paste adds a regal twist which also balances the flavours ensuring those who are not partial to heaty spices can savour this dish too. Congratulations – you have in your repertoire a cracking crowd-pleaser recipe. Now all you need to do is to go stock up that list of ingredients 😉 – time crunch? No problem – shop online!
ASDA has some really cool offers for Diwali, why not check out the special Diwali offers here before you head out to ASDA? I have stocked up on oil, ghee, spices and a few store cupboard essentials – after all, it helps to have time-saving tricks up our sleeve!
*With thanks to ASDA. As always, all opinions expressed are always my own.