Paneer is an Indian "cheese", though not what Westerners would call cheese. It is a fresh cheese and does not use a setting agent. Have you ever left fresh ricotta in the fridge for several days? It becomes very firm, just like paneer – which, by the way, is so good in curries too.
- 400 g (14 oz) block paneer
- lemon wedges, to serve
- 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) rice bran oil
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
Fresh tomato relish
- 2 roma (plum) tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 2 tsp soft brown sugar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- ½ tsp celery seeds
- ¼ tsp nigella seeds (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Combine the blackened seasoning ingredients in a bowl, then pour the mixture onto a flat plate.
Cut the paneer into eight rectangles, about 1.5 cm (5⁄8 inch) wide and 6 cm (2½ inches) long — like fat chips. Roll each piece in the blackened seasoning mixture to coat all over. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for several hours.
Soak eight bamboo skewers in cold water for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all the tomato relish ingredients in a bowl and set aside for the flavours to develop.
Preheat the barbecue grill to high. Thread a bamboo skewer through each piece of paneer. Cook the skewers, turning every couple of minutes, for 8–10 minutes, or until dark and aromatic.
Serve immediately, with the tomato relish and lemon wedges.
• Nigella seeds look like little black sesame seeds, but have a peppery, smoky flavour. They are widely used throughout India, Egypt and the Middle East. You’ll find them in spice shops and gourmet food stores.
Recipes and images from Fired Up Vegetarian by Ross Dobson, published by Murdoch Books rrp $34.99.