How is everyone doing in this real-life sci-fi movie that we seem to be living in nowadays? It just seems so surreal that the whole world has come to an abrupt stand-still. So many have perished already to this deadly epidemic that came out of nowhere and worst still, we have no idea what the future holds for us. Scary. My heart goes to the people and families worldwide who have been affected by corona virus. May the light at the end of this very dark and scary tunnel come into the view very, very soon. Till then, may we all stay both safe and sane.
Coming to today’s recipe, it’s just a spontaneous brain-wave I had, to use the things that I had in my kitchen this morning. Even though our village store has no shortage of things as of now, but we have already gone in the mid-set of rationing the basic things around a fortnight ago. So, for sure I am not going to go shopping for anything other than essentials at this time. Having said that, I was feeling a bit guilty about not having blogged for some time. So I looked at the random elements I had in my fridge (Paneer– an Indian cottage cheese, a sheet of puff pastry and cream) and got cooking, rather improvising at each stage. I named the final product *Eureka Paneer Tikka puffs* as this experiment turned out be something soooo yummmmyy!
Puffs, be it chicken or veggie, are quite nostalgic to me as that’s one snack that I remember from my childhood. That was not a time where we had a huge variety of exotic snacks to choose from. We were allowed a store-bought snack occasionally and the choice was limited to a pack of crisps, a samosa, biscuits or a puff from a nearby bakery. I was partial to puffs and must have eaten countless puffs from the time I grew teeth till my last trip to India (I make it a point to visit my favorite bakeries whenever I am home). Also, I lean more towards chicken puffs yes, but will never say no to a veggie variety as well.
This recipe was an experiment so I don’t have much to say about it, but I can tell you that the end product came out phenomenal! If you are a Paneer fan, try this recipe and you will thank me for sure. I guess you can even substitute Paneer with chicken and the recipe should work the same. I will try that next time.
Stay safe friends, take care, take one day at a time and try to make the most of the isolated time with your loved ones at home. Happy Cooking! xx
- 300 grams Paneer (Indian cottage cheese), chopped into cubes
- 1 Puff pastry sheet
- 1 beaten egg for egg-wash
For the Marinade:
- 3 tbsp yogurt
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilly powder
- 1 tsp amchoor
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- A pinch of Garam masala
- A squeeze of Lemon
- 1 tsp vegetable Oil
- A bit of Salt
For the Filling:
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 Onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste
- 1 tbsp plain flour (maida)
- 1/4 cup Cream or Half and half
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilly powder (optional- for the color)
- Fresh Coriander leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Salt to taste
- Combine all the ingredients in the marinade list and marinate the paneer cubes in it for half an hour.
- Grill or roast the marinated paneer in a non-stick pan in some oil, until the marinade dries up and paneer cubes are coated with a charred, crisp layer. Once cooled, cut into further small cubes, appropriate for a puff-filling. Set aside.
- To make the puff filling, heat your butter in a pan.
- Add finely chopped onions and cook until translucent.
- Add in your ginger-garlic paste and fry for around 30 seconds.
- Add the red chilly powder and salt. Fry for a few seconds.
- Add your plain flour and roast until the raw smell of the flour goes away. This butter and flour mix constitutes something known as a roux, which thickens the mixture to a desired consistency.
- Pour the cream or half-&-half and mix/whisk well, until you get a smooth and homogeneous mixture with no flour lumps…like a smooth sauce
- Throw in the grilled paneer cubes and mix gently until well coated.
- Add some water if the mixture is too thick. Let it come to a boil and once you have your desired consistency, switch off the heat.
- Throw in the grated cheese and mix.
- Lastly, garnish with chopped coriander and give one final mix. Cool completely and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour prior to making your puffs.
- To make your puffs, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C.
- Let the puff pastry sheet thaw to room temperature before working with it.
- You can make any puff pastry design of your choice. To make the braided puff pastry design like I have, cut the pastry sheet into four rectangles.
- Place a rectangular pastry piece vertically in front of you.
- Leaving some space at top and bottom, line your paneer filling in a straight line, right in the center of the rectangle.
- On both side of the filling, make cuts so that there are horizontal strips on either sides.
- Start braiding. Start at one end, bring it across the center. Then do the same with the opposite strip. Keep on doing this, overlapping and alternating, till you come to the end of the sheet. Close gently with the pastry on both ends.
- Brush the egg-wash generously all over the puffs, to get a beautiful color and shine.
- Bake for 25 minutes at 200 degrees C or until the puffs look golden-brown. Serve hot with tea or as it is. Enjoy!