Grilled paneer cheese with Indian bread salad

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serve

    4

Appears in

Pure Vegetarian

By Paul Gayler

Published 2006

  • About

The inspiration for this light main course dish is based on a similar bread salad from Tuscany, called panzanella. I experimented on the idea of adding some Asian flavours on the same theme, and replaced the more usual bread for naan bread. The result was deemed worthy of inclusion, so here it is. These little kebabs taste even better if cooked on a charcoal grill. Indian paneer cheese is similar to Asian tofu in that it has a bland flavour in itself, but often absorbs the flavours of other ingredients well. It is ideal for grilling and roasting, and can be found in Asian food stores.

Ingredients

  • 75 g fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons natural yogurt
  • 50 g finely grated vegetarian mild cheddar cheese
  • 2 cm piece of root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
  • ½ teaspoon marjoram, toasted
  • 2 x 375 g paneer cheese
  • little sunflower oil for cooking
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Bread Salad

  • 6 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 red onion, cut into thin rings
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 350 g firm but ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 naan bread, cut or torn into pieces
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 cm piece of root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 50 g fresh coriander, roughly torn
  • 25 g fresh mint, roughly torn
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • large wooden bamboo skewers, soaked (see PG TIPS)

Method

Mix together the mint, yogurt, grated cheddar and ginger in a bowl. Add the garlic, cumin, marjoram and a little seasoning to form a thick paste (adding a little more cheddar if necessary).

Cut the paneer into 8 x 5 cm blocks, and then with a sharp small knife, cut down each cheese into three sections, without cutting right through the base, about 1 cm from the bottom. Using a small palette knife, thickly smear the insides of all the cheeses with the paste, then skewer two blocks lengthways with a soaked skewer (or two) to secure them tightly while cooking.

For the bread salad, combine the oil, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water in a large bowl. Add the vegetables and toss well. Add the naan bread, chilli, ginger and herbs and mix well. Allow to stand for about 15 minutes for the flavours to meld and season to taste. Heat a ridged grill pan with a little oil. When hot, place the paneer skewers on it and grill for 3-4 minutes, turning them regularly, until lightly charred all over.

Share the salad between four serving plates or bowls. Remove the cheese from the grill, arrange on the salad and serve immediately.