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Easy ways to add paneer to your diet for more protein

How do I make my child eat paneer? How does a vegetarian get sufficient protein? Easy and tasty ways to cook/eat paneer. Are you looking for answers to questions on vegetarian protein and paneer? Here's your guide on how to include more protein in your diet.

Frenchman Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said "Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es" which translated means 'Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are'.

You are what you eat, is true. Your diet has a significant role to play in deciding your health. Eating healthily ensures better health. Eating healthily greatly reduces the chances of us contracting diseases that we inherit. Yes, foods that we eat can fight the health issues genetically coded into our DNA.

Bad and/or poor eating habits can result in a whole lot of health issues, starting from weight gain to hypertension, diabetes and worse.

There is a reason that doctors, dieticians and health & fitness experts' stress upon the intake of wholesome foods. A well-balanced diet provides the body with all the nutrients it needs.

But, what happens when our diet is deficient in nutrients? Nutrient deficiencies can lead to a number of health problems, that aggravate with time. Taking supplements is one way of providing the body with the nutrients it needs. Though, the better way is to improve your diet, by including foods rich in nutrients that the body is lacking. It's not rocket science.

What happens if you are averse to foods that your doctor recommends you include in your diet, to help tackle the deficiency? How do you make yourself eat something that you have 'loathed' for most of your life?

Fool yourself into eating foods that you detest

Take the example of paneer. It is a high protein food that also provides a decent amount of calcium, phosphorous, minerals, carbohydrates and fats. A vegetarian diet is deficient in good quality protein, because not all diets give you all the amino acids. According to the RDA, individuals require 0.8 gm of protein per kg of body weight. A person weighing 45 kgs would require 36 gms of protein a day. And if you don't include paneer in your diet, the chances of you suffering from protein deficiency increase. So, how do you fool yourself into eating paneer? Camouflage is the key.

Add paneer to your meals, in ways that mask its texture and flavour. It's possible to cheat yourself. Let me show you the way. The tips mentioned below will show you ways to experiment with paneer. These are not recipes, as such, just helpful suggestions.

Paneer dosa

Spread the batter on the tava, as you would make a regular dosa, and sprinkle some crumbled paneer over it. You'll need to season the paneer though. Add chopped onions, green chillies, hara dhaniya, some coarsely crushed jeera or ajwain or whatever else tickles your taste buds. You could fry the crumbled paneer to make a bhurji, or use it as it is. Play around with the flavours, add chilli flakes or chat masala to improve the flavour.

Have it with a coconut, peanut and channa dal chutney, to up the protein quotient. You could also use raw mango, pudina and hara dhaniya chutney or good old ketchup. The accompaniment will make the paneer dosa more palatable.

Paneer rolls

These make an excellent tea-time snack. Take a mix of boiled potatoes, boiled peas, and grated paneer. Season with masalas of your choice. You could also add an egg to the mix or grated cheese. The egg will help bind the roll and also provide you with extra protein. In the absence of the egg, use whole grain bread slice(s) soaked in water. You could also add other veggies or some boiled, corn kernels or roughly mashed boiled channa to the mix.

The ingredients should be well mashed and shaped into a roll or a disc. Roll them in a mix of rawa and sesame seeds (a source of protein and healthy fast) and fry them.

Serve with a chutney or sauce or better still mayonnaise, which is made from eggs and rich in protein. If you are buying a jar of mayo, make sure you get the non-veg one. You won't be able to tell you are eating eggs, trust me.

Stuffed paneer pakora

This is another delightful way of including paneer in your meal plan. Cut a slab of paneer into one and a half inch squares (approx). Slit them down the middle, though not all the way. Spread a filling of your choice – thick chutney, ketchup, aam kalonji etc. Dip these beauties in besan batter, deep fry until golden brown. Season the flour with strong flavourful spices and you'll have a protein-rich, tasty snack.

Paneer tikka

You don't need a tandoor or a grill or a rotisserie for this. Cut the paneer into chunky cubes and marinate them in a mix of Greek curd (hung curd would do too), a little pure cream, chat masala etc. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.

For cooking, drizzle some oil on a pan and heat it. Lay the paneer pieces flat on the pan, such that each piece touches the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, before the flipping over the pieces. Cook the paneer pieces on both sides, until they get a reddish colour.

Once you remove the paneer pieces from the pan you can toss some onion wedges, capsicum and pineapple into the same pan and cook them in the oil and juices left behind. Transfer all the cooked food onto a platter, sprinkle a dash of chat masala, squeeze some lemon juice and top it with chopped hara dhaniya. Your easy-peasy paneer tikka is ready to devour.

Bedmi Poori

These pooris are traditionally made with a stuffing of urad dal pithi. But, here we'll tweak the original recipe and add paneer, instead. Crumble and fry the paneer in little oil. If the paneer is made from full-fat milk, you won't need the oil. Season with spices and fry it until it loses all its moisture. You shouldn't be able to see water vapour rising from the pan as the paneer is cooking. Cool and use this to stuff your pooris.

Instead of using maida use a mix of whole wheat flour and soy flour, in the ratio of 4:1.

Paneer parathas

You can really play around with the stuffing using paneer. Some ideas for the stuffing are grated cabbage, grated cheese and grated paneer. Grated cauliflower, grated cheese and grated paneer. Finely chopped spinach, grated cheese and grated paneer. Finely chopped methi, grated cheese and grated paneer. Add finely chopped onions, green chillies, cilantro, coarsely ground jeera and ajwain to any of the above combinations, get your filling ready.

Serve the parathas with a potato raita. You get more protein from the curd and potato.

Alternatively, use leftover dal or cooked veggies to make parathas. Make sure they are mashed – use a blender or a fork. Combine crumbled paneer and veggies like grated carrots, chopped fenugreek or spinach etc, and use this mix to make a dough. Use a combination of healthy whole grain flours, such as ragi, bajra, jowar, soy, oats and of course whole wheat. Add pureed avocado for a softer dough. Don't use it for making pooris.

Mashed avocados can be added to chapati dough

Always apply a little salt to the veggies, and let them stand for a bit, to allow them to release the water. Squeeze the water before using them as a stuffing.

Masala milk

When my daughter was young she would attend the swimming camp conducted every year, at the base, where we were posted. The bad thing about the camps was that they were held in the afternoon between noon and one. She'd get home exhausted from the swimming and the heat. So, I concocted a healthy drink that gave her an energy boost, while supplying her with protein and other nutrients.

I'd boil and chill full-fat milk and add to it homemade paneer that I'd run through a blender, to get a smooth texture. I'd flavour the milk with honey, saffron and cardamom powder. I'd lightly fry sliced almonds, melon seeds and chironji in desi ghee and add them to the drink, just before serving. They gave the drink a nice crunch. Sometimes I'd grind either cashew nuts or soaked almonds and blend it into the milk.

The paneer did not split the milk.

I prepared a sweet dish in a similar fashion and called it rabri! I'd allow the milk to boil and reduce it to half. I'd sweeten it and add chunks of homemade paneer. Garnish as explained above, chill and serve.

Paneer stuffed buns

I often make stuffed buns – they are your quintessential one-pot kind of meal. I bake my own buns, you can buy them. Slice off the top, scoop the inside, to create a cavity. Oil or butter the inside of the bun and fill it with stir-fried veggies of your choice. Don't forget to add paneer and cheese. The cheese shouldn't be fried.

Place the bun in the oven and bake them until the cheese melts and the buns become crusty. The scooped out bun can be used as croquettes or turned into crumbs.

Wholesome paneer toasties & sandwiches

I am what is termed a non-vegetarian, but I am really not a 'non' vegetarian – the term is such an oxymoron. I eat healthy amounts of vegetables and maybe eating more veggies than those who eat a vegetarian diet.

My breakfast plate has a healthy dose of veggies, as can be seen in the image below.

This is a simple paneer and sautéed veggie toastie served with sautéed mushrooms, baby corn and slices of red and yellow peppers. The sautéed veggies and paneer were mixed with guacamole, so they would hold together. I topped it with cheese slices. You could use mayo too, as in the image below.

Though these sandwiches do not contain paneer, nothing stops you from adding it.

Pancakes with the goodness of paneer

These pancakes are made from whole wheat flour. You'll need a sweetener, milk, vanilla essence, egg or baking powder, if not using egg, a ripe banana and of course paneer. I also add some saunf to this. Blend the ingredients to form a homogenous batter, the consistency of dosa batter.

Pour a ladle full of the batter on a heated pan that has been given a coat of butter or oil and let it cook. Flip over and cook to get the perfect pancakes. Serve with honey or maple syrup or eat plain.

Paneer kofta

I adapted the traditional malai kofta recipe that uses potatoes and replaced it with grated gajjar and lauki. Seasoned channa atta and mixed it to the veggies. Took small portions of it and stuffed it with panner and chopped raisins before deep frying them.

Here they are served in a palak and methi base. You can play around with the base.

You can also turn them into tikkis, as shown below.

Paneer and mixed veggie casserole

This makes a filling meal. You'll need grated paneer, grated cheese, sliced vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beans, mushrooms etc. A cup of milk and egg. Spread the veggies, cheese and paneer in an ovenproof dish. Whip the egg and milk together, season with salt and pepper and pour over the veggies.

Bake or microwave, until the top, becomes crusty. If you don't want to add egg, substitute it with bits of bread.

The best way to get the best out of your diet is to eat a variety of foods. Add a lot of natural foods to your plate. Don't restrict your diet, eat a combination of foods so you get all the nutrition you need, and in this case different amino acids.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: Reena Upadhya14 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

It is an excellent article describing various ways through which paneer can be added to the daily diet. Around 100gms of paneer offers 10-11g protein. Non-vegetarians have lots of options to fulfill their daily protein requirement. However, vegetarians have been struggling to do the same. I feel it is a wrong belief that a vegetarian diet lacks protein. Paneer is a complete protein food. It is rich in all essential amino acids that make it a complete protein food.

There is no reason to turn into non-vegetarian and give an excuse that vegetarian diet lacks protein. Add paneer to your meals in various forms. Give your regular meals a twist. Enjoy the twist in taste and at the same time fulfill the daily protein requirements of your body. All the recipes mentioned in the article are the best and easy ways to do so.

Paneer can be added to salads, soups, rice items, curries, upma, bhurji, cheela and it can become a part of many such recipes. One easy evening time snack can be prepared by adding small cubes of paneer to sweet corn. Sprinkle some olive oil, salt, and black pepper powder and the snack is ready for a delightful evening.

How about paneer chaat? We all are chaat lovers. How about we start adding paneer to the chaat that we prepare? It may be potato chaat, Sev puri or bhel puri. To every recipe, paneer cubes can be added or else it can be sprinkled in the grated form above it. Both are easy and simple ways to add more paneer to the daily diet. In Pani puri instead of filling it with potato, grated paneer can be used. In all these recipes, paneer is not the main ingredient. Why not use it as a main ingredient and prepare a chaat? Take a few paneer cubes. Add chilli chutney over it. Add favourite veggies such as boiled potatoes, tomatoes and onions. Add salt and spices. Sprinkle a few fresh coriander leaves above it. Lip-smacking healthy paneer chaat is ready to fulfil your daily protein requirement.

Author: Juana14 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

Protein is a combination of 20 amino acids and most plant products contain just a few of these. Animal products, on the other hand, offer complete protein, and this includes dairy products, including paneer. Paneer offers varying amounts of 9 essential amino acids in addition to the nonessential amino acids. 200 grams of paneer can give you over 25 grams of protein, making it a ‘healthy food'.

Paneer seems to be the most ‘desired' food for vegetarians to meet their protein requirement. However, it is important to keep in mind that an excess of one type of food can cause an imbalance of nutrients. One's diet includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds and whole grains and healthy fats, in their natural form. This ensures that the diet is nutritionally balanced.

Paneer should be combined with foods that complement it and help enhance the flavours. Combining it randomly, with other foods, could result in a culinary disaster.

Author: Umesh15 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

An exhaustive article on the various ways of using Paneer in our dishes.

Nowadays Paneer has become an integral part of our food, especially at parties and get together.

Paneer pakoras are the first choice of starters in any party.

This is one of the tastiest and common items which is used in a variety of ways. It is difficult to imagine a party without paneer preparations.

Some people use Tofu in place of Paneer but there is a difference in taste and it is to be adopted depending upon the individual taste.

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