03 May 2012

Recipe a Day: Spicy Paneer and Garbanzos

When we moved to Tokmok and it was so cheap and easy to get fresh milk, I started making paneer much more often.  Here's one of my favorite recipes I made up that uses paneer.

This version uses za'atar which my husband stumbled on a few weeks ago.  It's been so nice.  Usually, though, I use a mix of mustard seed, cumin seed, fennel seed, nigella seed, ground coriander, turmeric and red pepper. If I use those, I add them at the beginning, but if I use za'atar, I add it later on. 

Now that I think about it, I ought to do a photo recipe of how to make paneer.

Here's what you'll need:

Oil (how much depends on whether you fry your paneer, but you can plan on using several tablespoons)
Spices (see above for some suggestions)
One large chopped onion
Lots of chopped garlic- you choose, but I use quite a few cloves
3 cups cooked garbanzos (I cook a kilo or two at a time and freeze them)
Paneer from 3 liters of milk, cubed
1-2 tsp salt

When you make this, you have a couple of different choices about the paneer.  You can fry it first, or you can just add it later.  It's so good fried, but it's also very good not fried. This time I fried it, but not very much.  You can get them entirely brown if you want to.

Here's my slightly fried cheese.  You want to be gentle while it's frying because even though it won't melt, it does get softer and might crumble a bit, especially around the edges.

If you are using Indian spices, heat your oil and add the spices and fry for about a minute, then add your onions.  If you're using za'atar, just start to fry your onions

Add your garlic a few minutes later.

When your onions are nice and soft and starting to brown if you like them that way, add the garbanzos.  I like to cook this for several minutes so the garbanzos can get a little crunchy.  But you can just heat them up too.  Add your salt now too.

Finally, add your paneer and spices.  If the paneer wasn't fried first, you'll need to let the food cook longer now to make sure it's hot.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, and serve with flatbread (preferably Central Asian naan, but you can't always be picky).

I didn't get a final photo because the batteries on the camera died right then, but I think you can imagine what it would look like at the end based on the last photo.


  1. Yummy! I love za'tar. They serve it in Saudi Arabia spread on bread and then baked in a wood oven. Delicious!

  2. Do you have a recipe for paneer?

  3. I love za'atar on bread like that.

    I'll post a paneer recipe tomorrow, or you can look here.