I was unfamiliar with this dish until very recently. According to my sources at Wikipedia, Cafreal is a type of preparation introduced to
For more on the beautiful coastal state of
I will also share some pictures of my travels around this tropical paradise in my next post.
Recipe for Paneer Cafreal
For the marinade
- 2 medium sized bunches fresh cilantro (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
- 6 small green chilis (I used Indian, but you can substitute with 3-4 serrano peppers)
- 6 cloves garlic, or more if you love garlic 1 inch fresh ginger root
- 2 T white vinegar
- 2 T oil
- 1 t. sugar
- 1 t cumin seed
- 1/2 t. turmeric powder
- 1 pinch cardamom powder (optional)
- 2 cloves (optional)
- 1 C yogurt (an extra sour variety is especially good)
Grind all ingredients, except yogurt, into smooth paste and set aside.
Cut Paneer into 1-inch cubes and add to marinade. Add yogurt and mix well with your fingers; set aside for 15 minutes.
Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add 1T oil.
Add marinated Paneer in a single layer into skillet and allow it to brown, tossing periodically to prevent sticking. This should take 5-7 minutes per side.
Serve with freshly cut cilantro or a dash of lime juice. Enjoy with Basmati rice or Naan (Indian flat-bread).
To make Fresh Paneer
Paneer is an acid-set rennet-less cheese that is commonly used in Indian cuisine. You can prepare this from scratch as described below or purchase it pre-made from an Indian grocery store. If you are going to make it yourself, you will need:
- 1/2 gallon milk
- Lemon juice or vinegar
- Cheese cloth
Bring 1/2 gallon of milk (or more) to boil with constant stirring.
You can even use skim milk here if you're counting calories. The 1/2 gallon of milk will give you enough paneer for 2-3 people, but I don't recommend making this in batches larger than 1 gallon.
As milk comes to a boil, take off heat and slowly add lemon/lime juice (citric acid) or vinegar (acetic acid) while stirring.
I much prefer the taste of paneer made with citric acid. Amount required will vary; add just enough until your milk splits.
Drain the liquid portion (whey) or reserve for use in a stock or pancake batter etc. Rinse the cheese curds under running water.
Transfer curds to a cheesecloth and put it under a heavy weight to press out the remaining water. Do this for at least 20 minutes, or for firmer paneer, place in refrigerator overnight.
I usually put the cheesecloth with curds on a stack of tissues, place a flat plate on top and a gallon jug of milk/water on top.