Kerala Style Paneer Pollichathu recipe with step-wise pictures. Cottage Cheese wrapped in banana leaves, cooked in coconut oil – this is a vegetarian’s delight!
You know we vegetarians get mocked a lot for using Paneer quite a lot and as it is one of the easiest vegetarian proteins that’s easier to cook and please, no wonder restaurant menus are long with Paneer recipes. But, my blog is full of vegetarian recipes and you can make a lot of amazing dishes too. Then why make Paneer Pollichathu? I really want to try my take on Kerala style Meen Pollichathu and whats better than to try it with Paneer/Cottage Cheese? I adapted from this recipe of Kalpana from lifewithspices and it turned out delicious!t
Paneer Pollichathu is cooked in banana leaves and out of all the spices used, the best flavor comes out of cooking the paneer in the banana leaves. The cottage cheese cooks in no time at all, just like the fish (I should assume) and that’s why this recipe turns out so good, even though it is vegetarian. I packed up the masala made with onion and tomatoes along with all the spices in with the paneer and wrapped it up tightly in the banana leaf. Pollichathu in Malayalam means roasted/grilled. The paneer is subtly roasted, absorbing the flavors of the banana leaf too.
I served up Paneer Pollichathu with some golden crispy dosai for dinner and it was an instant hit. I can see that it will go really well with rotis or chapati too. We saved up some of the left over in the fridge for next morning and it was really simple re-heating it in the same banana leaf package. I must admit that it was more flavorful than before. If you don’t find banana leaves, you can also make this in aluminum foil, although the whole flavor isn’t going to be there.
How to make Paneer Pollichathu | Kerala Style Paneer Pollichathu –
Detailed step-wise picture recipe of making Paneer Pollichathu | Kerala Style Paneer Pollichathu –
1. In a mixing bowl, add all the spice powders to marinate the paneer – Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala powder and salt.
2. Add lemon juice and make a thick paste out of it.
3. Cut Paneer in half breadth-wise and coat the masala paste on it nicely.
4. Let them marinate for 20-30 mins.
5. Meanwhile, heat a cast iron pan or a heavy bottomed pan and add 2 tsp of oil. Carefully place the paneer slices and cook them on both sides for 2-3 mins on medium flame until they are golden brown.
7. Remove the paneer slices and in the same pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil. Add fresh curry leaves and finely chopped onions.
8. Fry until translucent on medium flame and then add ginger garlic paste. Fry for a minute.
9. Next add finely chopped tomatoes and cook for 2-3 mins.
10. Add spice powders – red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, turmeric powder and salt as needed.
11. Cook until the tomatoes are mushy and oil starts to leave from the sides.
12. Prepare the banana leaves by removing the thick vein that runs in the center (don’t discard, can be used to tie the leaves) and show them to mild heat so that they become soft.
13. Place 2-3 tbsp of prepared masala on the banana leaf.
14. Place a slice of paneer on top.
15. Now add the masala again on top of the paneer and coat it nicely. You can also place 1-2 slices on tomatoes and fresh curry leaves/slit green chillies on top.
16. Carefully fold the banana leaf in such a way that the paneer is wrapped well.
17. Use the banana vein or a thread to tie the banana leaf parcel carefully. Repeat this with the other half of the paneer too.
18. Place the banana leaf parcels on a medium hot cast iron pan (I used the same where I made the masala) or on a heavy bottomed pan. Keep them covered and cook for 7-8 mins on low flame. Turn them to the other side after half-cook time.
19. Unwrap the banana leaf parcel and serve hot with a side of dosai, roti or even rice/pulao.
- You can replace paneer with tofu. I am assuming the same recipe works for fish too, although I cant talk about the cleaning process.
- Adjust spices as per preference.
- You can also use coconut oil for an enhanced flavor.
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