Paneer is a popular cheese (made with milk) from India, white, firm, cohesive and spongy with a close-knit texture and kind of sweet, sour, nutty flavour. Slightly bland, but maybe that’s why it’s usually used for stir fry, curry or other meals that are made with lots of spices. Paneer doesn’t melt when heated and stays firm and spongy. So it’s perfect if you wont to grill it, fry it or add to a hot meals. And because of its neutral taste, it gets all the flavour from spices. It will go great with hot and aromatic spices like curry, paprika, garam masala or tikka masala, cumin and chilli, in other words with all Indian spices, so if you like this type of cuisine, you should definitely try paneer if you didn’t.
According to this article published by Journal of Food Science and Technology: “Paneer is of great value in diet, especially in the Indian vegetarian context, because it contains a fairly high level of fat and proteins as well as some minerals, especially calcium and phosphorus. It is also a good source of fat soluble vitamins A and D. So its food and nutritive value is fairly high. Superior nutritive value of paneer is attributed to the presence of whey proteins that are rich source of essential amino acids. Due to its high nutritive value, paneer is an ideal food for the expectant mothers, infants, growing children, adolescents and adults.“
About 120g of paneer contains about 3g of carbohydrates, 22g of proteins and about 29g of fats. In which saturated fats is about 16g, polyunsaturated fats 1.3g and monounsaturated fats 7.3g. Polyunsaturated fats include Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. Omega 3’s helps to lower inflammation in your body and to keep proper hormone levels. Omega 6 fatty acids are important to support healthy brain and muscle functions but, but on the other hand it can increase inflammation if that’s your issue. Monounsaturated fats (which you have plenty in avocado, macadamia nuts and olives) protect the heart and support insulin sensitivity, fat storage, weight loss, and healthy energy levels. So it makes paneer a great source of healthy fats and proteins, if you’re not very keen on eating meat, or you need some more variety on keto diet.
I will definitely use it more in my keto meals. But today I’ve made paneer jalfrezi. Jalfrezi recipes appeared in cookbooks as meals made with leftovers fried with chilli and onions. I make mine using onions, bunch of bell peppers and tomatoes in different forms (cherry, chopped, chopped and passata) depending of my liking. You can also use variety of spices, in this one I’ve used: chilli flakes, sweet paprika, garlic granules (normally I would use fresh garlic, but I’ve run out of it), cumin and a little bit of coriander I had in my freezer. Today I’ve added only couple of cherry tomatoes, but adding adding can of chopped tomatoes add this dish another, more sour flavour and adds a bit of shakshuka vibe.
You can experiment adding different spices and veggies, depending of what’s in your fridge, as it’s a leftovers meal 🙂
paneer jalfrezi (keto)
INGREDIENTS (for 2 really big portions):
- 450g of paneer (I’ve used two 225g packs)
- 3 bell peppers (green, yellow and red)
- large brown onion
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic granules
- 1/3 tsp chilli flakes (and additional teaspoon for my partner)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- good pinch of natural rock salt
- couple of cherry tomatoes/can of chopped tomatoes/some passata
Dice paneer in slightly less than 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes. Slice the onion lengthwise and all the bell peppers in stripes. If you use fresh garlic, chop it finely.
Heat a large pan adding 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Toss diced paneer and fry till golden on each side, it will take a while, flip each cube on the other side every couple minutes. When paneer is nicely golden add onion and peppers. Sprinkle with good pinch of salt and the rest of spices and fry for couple of minutes. Stir occasionally, so the cheese won’t burn. At the end add chopped tomatoes or in my case cherry tomatoes and fry for a while. If you add chopped tomatoes it might need couple more minutes, so tomato sauce reduce slightly and gets the flavour from spices. Your paneer jalfrezi is ready 🙂