Paneer Bhurji is a popular and delicious North Indian breakfast recipe made with crumbled paneer (Indian cottage cheese). This recipe from Paneer Bhurji is Punjabi style and the way it’s made at home.
In this easy and quick vegetarian recipe, crumbled homemade paneer (cottage cheese) is added to sautéed onions, tomatoes and spices for a satisfying hot breakfast dish.
What is Paneer Bhurji?
Bhurji means scrambled, so this dish is commonly cottage cheese or scrambled paneer. A perfectly flavorful, tangy and spicy blend of onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic paste, green peppers (hot peppers) and various spices is then used to mix with the scrambled paneer.
This tasty dish, like most bhurji recipes, is quick to prepare and great for breakfast.
You can tell it is the vegetarian version of Indian style scrambled eggs which is called Egg Bhurji or Anda Bhurji in Hindi.
Besides paneer bhurji, egg bhurji is also very popular and served in most dhabas in northern India (roadside restaurants). In Punjabi houses, they also make Mooli Bhurji with chopped or grated white radish roots.
For a vegan version of bhurji, you can use firm tofu instead of paneer. Do not use silken tofu or soft tofu.
Ingredients you need
- Paneer (Farm Cottage Cheese): Obviously, paneer is the main ingredient in this recipe. Paneer is a fresh cheese where the milk is curdled by adding a food acid (lemon juice or vinegar). I prefer to use homemade paneer rather than store-bought paneer whenever I cook a dish using paneer because it is tastier and fresher.
- Homemade Paneer: Making paneer from scratch can seem intimidating at first, but once you try it you’ll find it’s pretty easy and the taste is so good.
- Ginger and Garlic Paste: A ginger and garlic paste is also used in this recipe. To make this paste, simply use a mortar and pestle to crush the fresh ginger and garlic together. While a freshly made paste is always best, a ready-made ginger-garlic paste can also be used.
- Spices: The added spices are the usual Indian ground spices like red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Most of these ground Indian spices are readily available outside India in Asian stores and also online. For garam masala, I always use homemade garam masala in all of my recipes.
- Onions and Tomatoes: Onions and tomatoes are unanimously added to many Indian dishes. For onions, you can use red onions, yellow onions, or white onions. For tomatoes, use tomatoes that are ripe, red and not too tangy or sour.
How to make Paneer Bhurji
1. With your fingers, crumble 200-250 grams of paneer (cottage cheese) and set aside. I used homemade paneer.
2. In a pan or kadai, heat 3 tablespoons of oil. Instead of oil, you can even use ghee or butter. Add ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds and let them roast.
3. Then add ½ cup finely chopped onion.
4. Sauté the onions until they become soft and translucent. Sauté the onions over medium-low heat.
5. Then add 1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste and the chopped green peppers.
6. Mix very well and sauté for a few seconds until the raw aroma of ginger and garlic is gone.
7. Add 1 cup of finely chopped tomatoes.
8. Mix the tomatoes and start to sauté them over medium-low heat.
9. Sauté the tomatoes until they are completely soft. To make the tomatoes cook faster, you can also add a pinch of salt. You will see oil leaking out from the sides of the mixture once the tomatoes are softened.
10. Now add all the spice powders – ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon of red chilli powder (or ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper), ½ teaspoon of red pepper powder. cilantro and ¼ to ½ teaspoon of garam masala.
11. Mix it well and sauté it for 5-6 seconds.
12. Add the crumbled paneer and salt for taste.
13. Mix well and cook the paneer for 1 minute. Do not cook the paneer for a long time as it hardens and loses its softness.
14. Turn off the flame and finally add 3 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves. Mix very well.
15. Serve the Paneer Bhurji hot with any bread or paratha (Indian flatbreads) or rolls (pav) or roti. You can also serve it with toast. Serve with a side of chopped onions and lemon wedges. Squeeze lemon juice over the bhurji paneer when eating.