Christmas has come and gone and now that the New Year has arrived, I thought I’d share a dish I made for Christmas and that I will be giving up in the new year (for a while, at least). Although I am not necessarily a cheese fiend, I do love Indian paneer cheese and these skewers really are a vegetarian’s best friend: they are absolutely delicious and will get you through many a barbecue.
About the giving up: I will be sticking to a vegan diet for the month of January. Not so much because I believe in New Year’s resolutions (although I did successfully give up smoking on New Year’s Day, years ago) but because I have been thinking about switching to veganism for a while now and January seems like a good month to try it out in. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes and what comes after.
Back to the skewers. This recipe comes from the Prashad Cookbook, which I can’t recommend enough. Prashad is a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Bradford, West Yorkshire which has received high praise from Gordon Ramsay (who famously said he’d electrocute his own children if they ever turned vegetarian, bless him) and has won all sorts of awards and accolades. I have cooked at least half the recipes in the book and not a single one has disappointed. These paneer skewers, and the mushroom and spinach curry that I’ve chosen as my first evening meal in the new year, are two of my favourite recipes from the book, and I have made them many times over.
The skewers are made with paneer and vegetables that have been left to sit in a wonderful marinade for a few hours and are then grilled. Perfect for a barbecue, but as I usually cook these on a grill pan I had to make the veg fit the cubes of paneer (I use shop-bought, here). What I mean is that I had to cut the peppers and onions into very fine strips to prevent them sticking out, which in turn would prevent the paneer from touching the grill pan and cooking. My solution is to make a whole batch of the marinade but to marinate veg and paneer separately, in two bowls. I then cook the paneer on the grill pan and roast the veg in the oven and serve them together.
The flavours that hit you when you peel the foil of the bowls of paneer and vegetables is out of this world, and after grilling and roasting the cheese has a great ‘meaty’ chew and the veg is zingy and spicy. Perfect!
I am giving you a link to the recipe here, because I pretty much follow it to the letter. I do use a bit less oil and, as I said earlier, I divide the marinade between two bowls and let the peppers and onions and the Indian cheese soak up the flavours separately if I don’t intend to put the skewers on the barbecue. Grill the paneer skewers on a grill pan until hot and bearing griddle marks, and roast the veg on 200°C for 45-60 minutes until lightly scorched.