[caption id="attachment_4570" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Paneer Pakora"][/caption]
Paneer pakoda is very popular crunchy crispy deep fried snack or starter dish. Paneer is coated with gram flour and spices and deep fried into paneer pakora or fritters. These are excellent as starter or cocktail snack is served with green mint chutney.
Many of us paneer in some form or either be it a dish like paneer butter masala or palak paneer, paneer tikka masala or paneer pakoda every dish has its unique taste and flavor. The paneer pakora is a very simple and easy to prepare dish very yummy to taste and an excellent appetizer to the kids. Kids would love eating paneer pakoda as it’s crispy to look and eat and soft and little spicy inside. It is truly a comfort snack especially during rainy season or winter season and a hot cup of tea would make it still a mouth watering treat. It not always that one to eat deep fried stuff but once in while treating the family and kids would make it special and different.
Paneer in Hindi is derived from the Persian word panir, a fresh cheese common in South Asian cuisine. Paneer is of Indian origin especially very popular with the north Indian and is generally called as Chhena in the eastern parts of India. It is an unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese or curd cheese made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice or other food acid. It best making at home as its fresh and hygienic. Unlike most cheeses in the world, the making of paneer does not involve rennet as the coagulation agent, thus making it completely lacto-vegetarian and providing one of the sources of protein for vegetarians in India. It is generally unsalted.
Paneer is the most common types of cheese used traditionally in South Asian cuisines and more common in northern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh due to the prominence of milk in their cuisine. It is very popular when wrapped in dough and deep-fried or served with either spinach (palak paneer) or peas (mattar paneer). Rasgulla a very popular sweet of Kolkata and well known world wide is made of Chhena beaten by hand and shaped into balls which are lated soaked in syrup.
Pakora or Pakoda or Bajji or Bhajiya is all one and the same. It is a fried snack (fritter) popular all over South Asia. Pakoras are prepared by taking one or two ingredients such as onion, eggplant, potato, spinach, cauliflower, chilli, or occasionally bread and dipping them in a batter of gram flour and then deep-frying them. The most popular varieties are palak pakora, made from spinach, paneer pakora made from paneer (soft cheese), pyaz pakora, made from onion, and aloo pakora, made from potato. Pakoras are usually served as snacks or appetizers. In Scotland, pakoras are popular as a fast food snack, available in Indian and Pakistani restaurants to take-out as an alternative to french fries or kebabs.
Taking about the paneer and pakora lets see how we prepare the paneer pakora. First mix all the first set of ingredients well as shown in the link. Beat them in a blender for about 4 to 5 mins to incorporate air (this helps make the batter fluffier) and then let the batter rest of ½ hour in a warm place. Cut the paneer into thick cubes or as per your choice and sprinkle little salt, chilli powder on the cubes and deep fry in oil that is heated to 375o . Drain them onto the papter towels and serve immediately. Serve the paneer pakora with coriander chutney or mint chutney.
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Pakora are popular across Pakistan also, where they generally resemble those found in India. They are sometimes served in a yoghurt based curry (salan), as a main dish, Pakora Kari, rather than as separate snacks. In this case the pakoras are generally doughier and are made of chopped potato, onion and chili mixed into the batter, instead of individual fried vegetable slices. Pakoras are also encountered in Afghan cuisine.