Moving (To) My Cheese: Paneer Bhurji

I made my quarterly visit to the gym for a Zumba class. Only to be informed that the instructor had changed.

Now given that I had taken this class exactly three times before, it shouldn’t have made a darned difference. But never one for passing up on opportunities, I picked up my car keys, ready to dash back home. Only I couldn’t get past the door.

For there she stood. Spiky, short, ash blond hair. Bright pink pants. Silver hoodie. And old enough to be my grandmother (ok, I exaggerate – perhaps an old auntie?). The All-New Zumba Queen. Mother.

I turned around nonchalantly, feeling pretty smug. She was one of Those Types. She would ask us to march in place for 30 minutes and gently sashay around for another 30. I could totally handle this.

Off came the hoodie. My heart sank. There was only lean muscle underneath that tank top. Thankfully the pants stayed.

The routine started. I had barely made it through the warm up when she cranked up the volume and started to bounce around like a vintage pogo stick. I slowly started to feel like a bunch of wilted spinach in an outdoor vegetable market on a hot summer day (yes, I always think of food).

As the hour drew to a close, I was praying for a tranquil cool down. As if she read my mind, she folded her hands in prayer.

Were we doing a quick yoga routine? Yay!

I recognized strains of the Oscar-winning Jai Ho! from the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire.

This was not yogi-music.

She began to grin. Not a “thanks for coming to my class” grin. But one that bordered on euphoric hysteria. Or was it hysterical euphoria?

This was not looking good.

She started doing squats to the riff. Moved on to a manic mambo. And then lunged across the room at the first Jai Ho!, still grinning and praying.

I made for the door. And once home, fell upon a plateful of paneer bhurji that I had the foresight to make earlier. This is also my entry for my very first blog event JFI – Paneer,  hosted by Cardamom.

What next, salsa to Sonu?

Paneer Bhurji

I never EVER make my own paneer. Apart from the usual block I also keep a packet of cubed paneer handy in my freezer to use when strapped for time.

½ lb paneer
2 small tomatoes
1 small onion
½ cup shelled peas (frozen is fine)
½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp whole cumin
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp chilli powder
Pinch of garam masala
Fresh coriander
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Chop the onion, tomatoes and paneer (if using a block) into little pieces.

Heat the oil in a small skillet. When it is hot, add the cumin seeds. As they sizzle up, stir in the ginger-garlic paste. Saute for a minute and add onions and tomatoes.

Fry, stirring well for about five minutes. Add the peas and fry until they are soft.

Now mix in the turmeric and chilli powders and fry for another two minutes until the raw smell of the spices go.

Finally, stir in the paneer and mix thoroughly smashing it up with your spoon as you do to get a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle the garam masala and add salt to taste. Garnish with fresh coriander.

Goes best with rotis, or serve for brunch with hot buttered toast.

Serves 2


  1. hilarious...
    not the recipe... but the rest of it

  2. Ooh, paneer, my favorite! I have to say, though, I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to paneer, and I make my own (which ends up being once a year or so). Of course, when the time comes to scour the vessel clean, I wonder why I allowed myself to succumb to that madness.
    By the way, I tried your badam kheer: two thumbs up! It was divine! (I did add the cardamom). Thanks!
    And I just love the stories that accompany your recipes. Such fun!

  3. Nita: Glad you enjoyed hearing about my newest adventure in the gym.

    Kamini: Even though I don't make paneer, I can totally understand - fresh paneer is like Tom's toothpaste, once it makes its way into your life you'll never go back! Glad you tried and liked the badam kheer recipe - one of my favorites.

  4. nice post and well written. Got refered to this by Ferooza .


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