Paneer Pollichathu: Kerala classic reimagined

God’s own country is one of my favourite states in India. Not just the lush greenery but also the cuisine is one of the tastiest and healthiest. Karimeen Pollichathu is a Kerala specialty as everyone knows. Since, I am a self-confessed vegetarian, I never got to tasting it. However, I recently tried Paneer Pollichathu in a restaurant. Naturally, wanted to recreate that magic at home. Yeah yeah, we vegetarians are good at “paneerization” of literally any dish. 

Kerala and Tamil Nadu are well known for serving traditional meals in banana leaf. I am a huge fan of eating food served on banana leaf. The taste gets enhanced when you eat in banana leaf. So this dish calls for frying the paneer in banana leaf.  

 

Ingredients:

  • Paneer – 200 g
  • Red chilli powder (aka Kashmiri chilli powder) – 2 to 3 tsp or as per required spice level
  • Turmeric – pinch
  • Pepper – 1 tsp
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Lime juice – 3 tsp
  • Small onions or shallots – 8 to 10 or medium sized onion – 2
  • Tomato – 2
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Corriander powder – 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a sprig
  • Banana leaf – cut into 4 small squares about 8 or 10cm depending on the size of paneer slices

For marinade. 

  • Red chilli powder (aka Kashmiri chilli powder) – 2 to 3 tsp or as per required spice level
  • Turmeric – pinch
  • Pepper – 1 tsp
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Lime juice – 3 tsp

For masala paste:

  • Small onions or shallots – 8 to 10 or medium sized onion – 2
  • Tomato – 2
  • Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Corriander powder – 2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a sprig

Preparation:

  1. Slice the paneer into four pieces or two pieces if you prefer big slices. 
  2. Marinate with red chilli powder, turmeric, pepper, salt, lime for about 15 mins.
  3. In the meantime, chop shallots or small onions finely and sautee them along with tomato, ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, corriander powder and tempered curry leaves.
  4. Allow it to cool and grind it to a paste in a mixer grinder. 
  5. Shallow fry the marinated paneer slices for 2 mins on each side. 
  6. Grease a square piece of plantain leaf with oil. 
  7. Spread the ground masala paste on the leaf and place the paneer slices on it. Finally, apply another layer of the masala on the paneer slices.
  8. Wrap the leaves with paneer slices and tie them as shown in the picture.
  9. Heat a tawa with oil and place the wrapped slices on it. Cook for 2 mins on each side. 
  10. Once the leaf changes colour slightly, remove from the tawa and serve hot. 

 

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