PANEER BITES – पनीर पॉपकॉर्न (with vegan option)

Festivals, especially those like Diwali or Christmas are a wonderful time when one gets to enjoy with family and friends but it also is a time for parties, shopping, buying gifts, cleaning. And if you have a few parties planned before the Diwali, it also means that you have the cumbersome task of planning the party menu, which you would hope is easy to cook, tasty and quick to make so that you can actually enjoy the party with your guests and not spend the entire time cooking in the kitchen. And with that thought in mind I am sharing this year’s Diwali recipes. The Dulce de Leches Peda are exactly that. They are an east-meets-west kind of dessert and come together in fifteen minutes.

As for these paneer bites (or paneer popcorn, as some prefer to call it) they are super easy to make and yield a crunchy, munchy, finger food that will be loved by your guests and family. The soft spicy paneer with a crunchy coating is a scrumptious and addictive snack / starter. You can make it dairy free by using tofu instead of paneer. Also, you can prep them ahead and freeze them. Keep a huge batch ready coz it gets polished off in no time. All you need to  do later is to either fry them in oil or air fry them or bake them. They are great for movie nights or game days. Serve with a dip of your choice or with tomato sauce or freshly made green chutney, if you wish to.

You will require the following,

200 gm Paneer (cubed in one and a half centimeter size pieces)

Dry Flour Coating

3 tbsp Maida / APF

3 tbsp Cornflour

½ tsp Garlic Powder

½ tsp Onion Powder

¾ tsp Black Pepper Powder

¾ tsp Red Chilli Powder

1 tsp Salt

For Slurry

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh Coriander OR 1 tsp dry crushed Oregano

70 – 75 ml Water

For Crumb Coating

¾ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

For Sprinkle 

Chaat Masala

For Hot Mayo Dip

¼ C Mayonnaise (I used garlic mayo)

1½ to 2 tbsp Sriracha Sauce

Take a large mixing bowl and add the panko bread crumbs to it. Set it aside.

In another mixing bowl, whisk together the ‘dry flour coating’ ingredients.

Throw in the paneer pieces and toss the bowl gently so that the pieces are nicely coated with the dry flour mix.

Remove the pieces on to a plate and set aside.

Add the herbs of your choice to the same dry flour mix and add water to make the slurry.

Dip a few pieces of the paneer in the slurry and then transfer them to the panko crumbs bowl and coat each piece well.Remove the paneer pieces in a plate and set aside.

Proceed with the rest of the paneer pieces in a similar fashion till all the pieces are dipped in the slurry and then coated with the panko crumbs.

(I prefer to do this process in batches)

Heat sufficient oil in a frying pan or kadahi and fry the paneer in batches, while continuously stirring them, on high heat till the coating becomes golden brown.

Take them out in a bowl or a plate lined with an absorbent tissue. Sprinkle some chaat masala (optional but recommended)

For the Hot Mayo Dip, mix together the mayonnaise and sriracha sauce and its done!

Serve the paneer bites with the dip, sauce or chutney or may be all three so that your guests have a choice.

Serves – 3 to 4

Note – If you want to prep and freeze the paneer bites, lay them out on a tray in a single layer and allow them to freeze. Once frozen, transfer them into a zip lock bag and store them in freezer.

Thank you so much for you visit and see you soon again, with another exciting recipe