Easy lemon saffron paneer kebabs
My husband has a tendency to eat a lot of meat. And while I’ll love meat too, vegetables and grains make up the majority of my daily diet. But getting him to eat a meal without a significant source of protein is tough. He says that he just doesn’t feel satisfied enough. So, I’ve been on a mission to find more vegetarian sources of filling protein.
That’s where paneer comes in. One serving is packed with 18 grams of protein and just over 300 calories. It’s also thick, meaty and super filling. On it’s own, I don’t think paneer has much flavor — unless it’s freshly made. So that’s why you so often find it in curries and stir fry, where it picks up all the flavors of the wonderful spices around it.
I first started making these paneer kebabs when I had to think of vegetarian alternatives to chicken skewers for a friend’s party. I used the same marinade for the paneer as the chicken skewers that I was serving, and the result was awesome. The paneer takes on the flavor of all the spices in the marinade, yet is still mild enough to pair perfectly with a fresh chutney or dip.
In my opinion, paneer is one of the best alternatives for meat lovers who need that significant source for protein in every meal. And eating it this way, on skewers, is fun and great for a takeout lunch or picnic.
Marinated in cumin, coriander, lemon zest, garam masala and other spices, these paneer kebabs have a wonderful flavor that’s both surprising and mild. This dish can be eaten on it’s own or with a fresh chutney and served alongside a big salad for a complete meal.
This requires some marination time. While you could cook them after a quick 20 minute marinade, the longer you let it sit, the more flavorful your paneer will be. You can use already ground coriander and cumin instead of seeds to minimize steps here. However, freshly ground spices yield a much deeper flavor.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
¾ cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch piece ginger, minced
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 lemons, one zested and juiced and the other cut in wedges
¼ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
½ teaspoon saffron
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds paneer, cut into cubes
- In a coffee or spice grinder, grind the cumin seeds and coriander seeds until powdered.
- In a large bowl, add the spices along with the yogurt, garlic, ginger, oil, lemon zest and juice, cilantro, saffron, garam masala, pepper, chili and salt. Mix well to combine.
- Add the paneer and mix gently to combine, making sure all the pieces are coated by the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
- Meanwhile, soak the skewers in water.
- Once marinated, string the paneer through the skewers.
- Place an oven rack about 4 inches from your broiler. Heat the broiler to high.
- Place the skewers on a pan and transfer the pan to the oven. Broil the paneer, turning once, until just browned on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Serve with the lemon wedges, a chutney of your choice or yogurt.