Chickpea & Kale Paneer Recipe

This easy Indian dish features fresh, homemade cheese. Like tofu, it takes on the flavours of other ingredients.

Homemade Paneer
8 cups homogenized milk
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Chickpea And Kale Paneer
1 tbsp each vegetable oil and butter
1 batch Homemade Paneer (recipe above)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced gingerroot
1 tbsp bottled curry paste
6 cups kale, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 cups whey (leftover from making paneer), or vegetable stock
1 can (19 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tsp packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
2 green onions, chopped
Plain yogurt (optional)
Warmed tortillas, roti or naan, or hot rice (optional)


Homemade Paneer

Step 1: In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat milk and cinnamon stick (if using) over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, stirring frequently.

Step 2: As milk starts to boil, stir in lemon juice. Remove from heat. Let stand 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and discard.

Step 3: Meanwhile, line a sieve with a triple layer of cheesecloth. Set over a large bowl. Pour curdled milk into sieve. (Save whey for cooking.) Gather up edges of cheesecloth around curds to make a snug pouch. Twist and tie closed with long piece of string. Use other end of string to hang pouch over the sink or a bowl. Let drip, gently squeezing occasionally to drain off excess liquid, for at least 2 hours or until well drained. 

Step 4: Untie bundle but keep wrapped. Place on a plate. Put another plate on top and then a heavy weight (i.e. large pot of water) and let sit for another 2-4 hours or until flattened to a firm 5″ diameter disk, about 3/4″ thick. 

Step 5: Pat dry, remove cheese from cheesecloth and cut into 1″ squares. (Paneer can be kept, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.)

Chickpea And Kale Paneer

Step 1: In large non-stick skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add paneer. Season with cumin and salt to taste. Cook for 3-5 minutes, turning often until golden brown all over. With slotted spoon, transfer to plate. Reduce heat to medium.

Step 2: Add garlic, ginger and curry paste to pan. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in kale. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Step 3: Pour in whey and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until kale is almost tender (most of whey will evaporate).

Step 4: Stir in chickpeas, tomato sauce, sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. With potato masher, coarsely mash about two-thirds of the chickpeas. Add paneer, gently spooning kale mixture over top to smother cubes.

Step 5: Return to simmer and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes or until kale is tender and paneer is heated through. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro, if using. Serve immediately, topped with yogurt to taste, wrapped in warmed tortillas if desired, or over rice.