Fall is just around the corner and a change in the weather also brings a craving for hearty, comforting meals. And what better way to satisfy your cravings than with a delicious and creamy dish like Paneer Bhurji, a Punjabi culinary delight from India.
Paneer Bhurji is a delightful scramble made with , as the name suggests, the goodness of paneer, a mild Indian cheese. It harmoniously combines the rich flavors of ginger, garlic, and cilantro, creating a tantalizing symphony of taste. The soft and creamy texture of paneer pairs perfectly with the aromatic spices, resulting in a dish that will leave you wanting more. It makes for a perfect breakfast with flatbread or even as a filling with some toasted sourdough (or any bread).
Paneer – the Indian cheese; Methi – An underrrated green
Paneer is a mild non-melting cheese used in Indian and other South Asian cuisines. If you have ever had halloumi, its very similar in texture although halloumi tends to be saltier. There is no salt added in paneer and it is typically made using cow or buffalo milk.
As with other cheeses, paneer is a rich source of protein and calcium. It has also become widely available in various supermarkets like Whole Foods, Costco besides Indian grocery stores.
Methi is the green small leaves of the fenugreek plant(also called methi). Fenugreek including its seeds is widely used in Indian cuisines. Although slightly bitter in taste it more than makes up with its health benefits. Its considered a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and is a well known galactagogue(helps with breast milk production). Note: if you are allergic to peanuts, you may also be allergic to fenugreek. So please check before consuming if you have never eaten it before.
Tips for making a delicious paneer bhurji
This is a deceivingly simple dish for something that tastes so good and the recipe is pretty straight forward.
Paneer: Paneer is difficult to crumble since it has a tight texture as compared to say tofu. Instead I would recommend grating the paneer through a box grater (affiliate). Also keep the grated paneer in the refrigerator until it is ready to go in the pan especially if making it during warmer weather.
Methi(Fresh fenugreek leaves): This is optional to add but i would recommend including it. We only use the leaves of methi and tyically leave out the stems. Once you remove the leaves, make sure to wash the leaves well and soak it in salted water for 10-15 minutes. Drain before using.This is because fenugreek is slightly bitter and the salted water helps draw out the bitterness. Even if you dont want to soak, the cooking process should remove most of the bitterness.
Since i usually soak it before cooking, I add in the end and only cook for 30-60 seconds.This is to prevent the leaves from completely overcooking. Substitute with any other well chopped greens of your choice if you dont want to use methi.
Ginger: Use fresh or frozen whole ginger if you can vs frozen or bottled grated ginger. It makes a world of difference and adds a real pop of flavor.
Herbs: The two herbs primarily used are fresh cilantro and Kasuri Methi(dried fenugreek leaves). Kasuri Methi is easily available in all indian stores or online. It is a finishing herb and adds a unique flavor that makes the bhurji extra delicious!
Making a vegan bhurji
If you want to make this vegan, soft to medium tofu is your best bet. You can just crumble it and directly add to the pan. You dont need to grate it like paneer. Just make sure you press the tofu gently before crumbling to remove any extra water.
How to serve Paneer Bhurji
Paneer Bhurji is a popular breakfast dish in the Punjab region but is also eaten as a main entree during both lunch/dinner. Serve it hot with any Indian flatbread alongside or even as a hearty filling with bread of your choice. For lunch or dinner, serve topped with some julienned ginger,lime wedges, onion/cucmber slices with flatbread. You can again use it as filling for a lunch sandwich . You can also make stuffed bell pepper or tomatoes using the bhurji as a filling.
Storage tips and meal prep ideas
You can store paneer bhurji for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. You can add a little bit of milk or water while reheating to prevent it from drying out. If you want to make frozen rolls or sandwiches with the bhurji as a filling, then prepare them and let it completely cool it to room temperature. Wrap them tightly in parchment paper and store in freezer safe bags/container. Heat it wrapped in a wet paper towel in the microwave until fully warm before eating.
Please consider leaving a comment below if you made this paneer bhurji to let us know how you liked it. You can also leave any questions you might have. Share any recreations on Instagram by tagging us with #dillandthyme. Want more? Follow us on Pinterest/Facebook or sign up for our newsletter.
- 1 tsp Whole Cumin Seeds
- 2 tbsp Avocado or any neutral oil
- 1 tbsp Garlic finely chopped
- 1 tsp Ginger finely chopped
- 2 cups Paneer around 250 g, grated
- 1 bunch Fresh Fenugreek/Methi Leaves washed
- 1 large Red/Yellow Onion finely chopped
- 2 medium Tomatoes finely chopped
- 4 Green Chilis washed and slit
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Red Chilli powder
- 2 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 1/2 cup Milk/Plant based Milk
- Handful of Cilantro finely chopped
- 1 tsp Kasuri Methi
- Remove the methi leaves from the stalks. Wash thoroughly and soak in salted water for 15 minutes. Drain well before using.
- Heat a large or medium sized pan to medium. Add the 2 tbsp of oil and wait for 15-20 seconds. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and wait for it to splutter.
- Now add the chopped onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the ginger and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes. Also mix in the green chilis, turmeric,red chili powder, coriander powder. Season with salt. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the grated paneer and mix well. Add the milk and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the drained methi leaves and cook for a minute. Season with more salt as required. Sprinkle garam masala and mix well.
- Crush the kasuri methi between your thumb and index fingers before sprinkling on top. Finish with a generous topping of chopped cilantro.
- If you want to substitute methi, you can use any finely chopped greens of your choice.
- Use medium or firm tofu in the place of paneer for a vegan option.
- Note:If you have an allergy to peanuts, please be cautious before consuming fenugreek/methi if this is your first time since you may carry an allergy to fenugreek.