Alright, get ready for some serious paneer action! J and I LOVE paneer and can be relied upon to order a dish containing it whenever the opportunity arises. We decided we wanted to see if we can bring our favourite Indian takeaway meal home, and make it ourselves. I’ll be upfront and say that mine is not 100% as good as our local Indian does it – but then again, it’s probably substantially healthy, so it’s more or less a good compromise.
As usual, here is the Vine of us making this dish:
It was delicious, so there was no way I wasn’t going to share this with you. We adapted a lot of this recipe from a more unhealthy version and also made it vegetarian, so this is a great option to try. If you want it vegan, try it with tofu instead of paneer – you won’t need to change the cooking instructions or the quantities, just make a straight switch.
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2 cups paneer cheese (cubed)
1 ½ cups green peas
1 teaspoon ginger
1 tin chopped tomato
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
salt to taste
Heat oil in a large pan or wok. Add the paneer and cook until it's light brown. Add cumin.
Add turmeric, salt, tomatoes, and ginger. A pinch of sugar for the tomatoes is a great addition.
Add the peas. Add some water at this point if it is too thick (2 cups maximum).
Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Great with traditional Indian sides, eg: naan breads, bhajis, samosas.
P.S. This is also one of my favourite dishes because it reminds me of the muttaburrasaurus. True story.
We’re currently trying to move house (hopefully we’ll have updates on that soon!) and the new place is going to be close by a Waitrose. Basically, this means new hunting grounds for veggie burgers! The first thing we’ve found is the interestingly named Indian spiced bhaji burger. It seems a bit like a contradiction in terms – how can a bhaji also be a burger? – so it was certainly worth a try.
First of all, I think it’s fair to say that these are definitely burgers. The name bhaji comes from the ingredients more than anything else, as to be honest they don’t actually taste or feel like bhajis at all. Maybe Waitrose are missing the point a bit with the name – it really should drop the bhaji and have the name curry burger or something similar. I’ve never understood why supermarkets will have misleading product names, as this doesn’t necessarily make it more appealing – what if you love burgers but hate bhajis? You would have missed out on this for no reason.
Anyway, after popping it in the oven we tried one each to see what they are like. They’re £2.39 for two, so really you have to hope for something quite special to justify spending £1.18 per burger – especially when competing supermarkets are likely to sell them at a lower price. I can certainly say they are very interesting, with good Indian flavours that have not been drowned out in the processing. It’s a good looking burger with bright colours, and you can both see and taste slices of carrot and peas in amongst the potatoes. It has a soft, squishy texture on the inside, which is an experience in itself. The exterior is a little more firm, but still soft to bite through.
The first thing you notice is the curry flavour, which is also mildly spicy. There’s actually no warning on this for the package, which might concern those who don’t like spice. It’s just an interesting combination overall, and though it would never replace a proper veggie burger for me, it’s good to have something different now and then.
I always like to try the new veggie burgers I see cropping up in the supermarket, and as this one has an Indian style flavour, I snapped it up immediately. J loves spicy food while I’m not as much of a fan, so we’re always trying to find something that has a nice balance. These burgers look interesting at least, with lots of seeds and different vegetables visible in the mix. I decided they would be perfect for an Indian-style wholemeal burger wrap, so that’s how I served them.
First you take a wholemeal wrap, then you lay a vegcake on it. Cut it up into smaller strips or chunks, and push them all up on to one side of the wrap. Add raw red onion, fresh spinach, gruyere cheese, and a generous helping of mango chutney. Together with the burger, that makes for Indian wrap heaven!
The vegcakes were milder than I expected them to be. At first there was almost no impact at all, though I did notice a stronger spice in the aftertaste. The texture was really interesting with solid chickpeas and peas, and the crunchy little seeds as well. That did make them a little bit more interesting to eat, though to be honest I was expecting more flavour. The chickpeas were as bland as they can be, and despite all the seeds and spices, most of it had little to no effect. In the end, I had to take a bit out of the wrap and eat it on its own to be sure that I really was tasting it right. The mango chutney was the strongest and best tasting element of the wrap, and without that, these would have been in danger of being bland and boring.
I probably won’t be getting these again, particularly given the price for just two burgers. It’s another disappointing supermarket burger – something that I see all too much of.
The Tesco Indian Potato Cakes sounded interesting enough to take a stab at. Not only that, but they were on offer with most of the frozen vegetarian section, so it seemed obvious to give them a try. We quite enjoy a curry in our house, especially as J has Indian heritage, so combining curry spices with a burger sounded like quite a good idea. We decided to cook them up one day to make burger wraps, one of my favourite lazy meals from university. There’s not much to them – you need a burger, a wrap, some lettuce or other leaf, and mayonnaise. Sweet chilli dressing, sweetcorn, roast vegetables, and etc are optional.
We found that the potato cakes just had a mild curry flavour, rather than being a stronger taste as you might expect. They have a quite sloppy and squishy texture which was a bit odd too! They didn’t cut cleanly or crumble when I was putting them into strips for the wraps. They more just sort of smeared everywhere. It wasn’t actually an unpleasant texture, but it just felt a bit strange in the context of a burger or potato cake. There were solid peas and chunks of carrot alongside the potato, but not much else that you could really identify. They were fine, but don’t expect them to be a solid, firm burger.
All that being said, they were actually the perfect fit for a wrap. Once you had them wrapped up and in your hands, they separated up nicely to ensure that you have a bit of burger in every bite. They went well against the lettuce as well. The eventual wraps were a little thin, but filling nonetheless. You could certainly bulk up by adding more peas and carrots to the mix to complement the existing flavours.
On the VegBurge scale, I give this…
Taste – 6/10
Price – 8/10
Rest of experience – 6/10
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