The lovely people over at Savera Paneer sent me some of their paneer to play with. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you will have seen the bloggers pack I came home to last week. Inside the large saffron hued box were a bag of cumin seeds, a bag of turmeric powder, a branded water bottle and a really cute yellow and blue lunch box containing an ice pack and two packs of paneer made from skim milk thus containing only 8% fat. There were also a couple of delicious sounding recipe cards which had been developed by the talented food writer, Deena Kakaya who is probably familiar to many of you as she visits so many of our blogs, commenting and encouraging. Well, the lunch box came in really handy as Jake started work experience at a law firm this week, which he has really enjoyed. He’s been to court nearly every day and also written official letters to clients detailing progress on their cases. Not bad for someone who has to be reminded 3 times to take the rubbish out!
I had not cooked with paneer before this so I had a little research to do before I started experimenting. Paneer, an Indian cheese, is traditionally made at home from the curds formed when lemon juice is mixed with hot milk. It’s a fresh, bland, unsalted cheese which can be substituted with Queso Blanco or Fresco. It is quite crumbly, an excellent source of protein and absorbs flavours beautifully. It really is a cheese to cook with rather than eat as is and is most often found cubed, sautéed and added to spicy vegetable based sauces and gravies.
There are hundreds and hundreds of Indian recipes which use paneer so, I really wanted to use it in a different way. And as Savera had gone to the trouble of developing a low fat cheese, I wanted to make something fairly healthy. No frying or rich sauces but lots of vegetables and flavourings. At the green grocers, a bag of sweet potatoes caught my eye and which made me think about latkes and so idea for these Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters was born. Keeping in mind the tips I had gleaned on how to use it, I grated and seasoned the paneer and set it aside to absorb the flavours. Honestly, I was a bit hesitant when I saw how crumbly the paneer looked but it grated easily and absorbed the flavours of the spices absolutely perfectly. I also grated the sweet potato and courgette and left them to drain separately. When it came time to assemble the fritters, I mixed them all together with a light hand then added a little flour and some raw couscous and stirred in a beaten egg. Set on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and brushed with a little more oil, the fritters baked up beautifully. The Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters were light and crunchy with a lovely smoky flavour from the paprika and cumin. I had wanted to add fresh mint to the mixture but realised that I didn’t have any when I started cooking – I think it would be a lovely addition. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a little tzatziki and some salad leaves and you have a delicious light lunch or first course. A big thank you to Savera Paneer for introducing me to this lovely product! I have a few more recipes to make and post in the coming days.
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Sweet Potato, Courgette and Paneer Baked Fritters
- 1 medium sized sweet potato/kumara – about 200g
- 1 medium sized courgette/zucchini – about 200g
- 125 g grated Saveera Paneer
- 1 clove of garlic grated or crushed
- ½ tsp smoked paprkia
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- juice of ¼ of lemon
- ¼ cup parsley
- 50 g flour
- 1 Tbsp raw couscous
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- olive oil
- Peel the sweet potato and grate – try and get long strands. Place in a colander sprinkle with a little salt, mix and leave to drain for at least half an hour.
- Grate the courgette - try and get long strands. Place in a separate colander sprinkle with a little salt, mix and leave to drain for at least half an hour.
- Grate the paneer. Sprinkle over the garlic, smoky paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin powder, coriander powder and squeeze over the lemon. Using a fork, toss to mix and leave to marinate for at least half an hour.
- When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Line a baking tray with parchment and spray with an olive oil cooking spray or smear with a little olive oil.
- Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from both the sweet potato and the courgette and place in a mixing bowl.
- Add the chopped parsley and the paneer and using a fork, toss to mix well but lightly. Have a taste of the mixture at this point to see if it needs any salt. I found that the salt I used during draining was enough.
- Sprinkle in the flour and couscous and again, using a fork, toss to mix.
- Stir in the lightly beaten egg and mix.
- Mound about 1 ½ Tbsp of the mixture on the prepared tray and press down with a fork to flatten and make a rustic looking fritter. You should get about 12 portions from the mixture. I baked six at a time in two batches.
- Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip them over and bake for 5 minutes more or until golden brown and crispy
- Serve hot, with a wedge of lemon and a dollop of Greek yoghurt mixed with a little mint.
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