Saffron-Marinated Paneer Cheese with Fresh Basil, Cashews and Pomegranate Seeds

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Saffron-Marinated Paneer Cheese with Fresh Basil, Cashews and Pomegranate Seeds

I can never heap enough praise on Raghavan Iyer, the author of 660 Curries. A truly indispensable addition to any spice-filled kitchen, this inspired cookbook is consulted weekly and I certainly will be revisiting many of the creations I have tried already. It has also proved to be a well received gift on more than a few occasions.

Saffron-Marinated Paneer Cheese with Fresh Basil, Cashews and Pomegranate Seeds

As I have noted before, this informative and creative book is not strictly vegetarian, but Mr. Iyer includes hundreds of vegetarian-friendly recipes, most of which do not take much trouble to prepare. There is no shortage of ideas for spice blends, pastes, appetizers, paneer, legumes, vegetables and rice. His helpful cooking hints and focus on ingredients is highly instructive. Recently my focus has been on his Contemporary Curries section. If you are looking for dishes to impress your dinner guests, you need look no further. My regular readers will know I can never resist the allure of paneer cheese and this recipe for saffron-Marinated paneer cheese with basil, cashews and pomegranate seeds was simply heavenly. Mr. Iyer describes the dish as "sexy" and humorously notes that even if you don't smoke, "you may well wish for a cigarette" afterwards.

 Saffron-Marinated Paneer Cheese with Fresh Basil, Cashews and Pomegranate Seeds Saffron-Marinated Paneer Cheese with Fresh Basil, Cashews and Pomegranate Seeds
Recipe by
Adapted from 660 Curries
Cuisine: Indian
Published on June 10, 2010

Paneer cheese marinated in a saffron cream, baked, and topped with fresh herbs, pomegranate seeds and roasted cashews

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  • 2/3 cup heavy cream, yogurt or kefir
  • 1 scant teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 - 4 fresh green chilies, seeded and minced
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 14 oz (400 g) paneer cheese, cut into 1-inch thick and 3-inches long narrow strips
  • 3 to 4 scallions, finely chopped (include some of the green tops)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup roasted cashews, crushed into coarse pieces
  • saffron-marinated paneer cheese

    Bring the cream, yogurt or kefir to a boil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle in the saffron, add the salt and chillies, stir, and remove from the heat. Add the paneer and gently stir to make sure the cheese is covered with the creamy marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  • Remove the paneer from the marinade, setting aside the marinade, and transfer the cheese to a greased broiling pan. Broil on the top rack of the oven, turning the paneer every few minutes. Broil until they are golden brown on both sides, about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate.

  • Bring the marinade to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, uncovered, until the mixture thickens. Stir in the scallions, basil and cilantro. Pour the sauce over the broiled paneer and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and roasted cashews.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Saffron-Marinated Paneer Cheese with Fresh Basil, Cashews and Pomegranate Seeds

Other delightful paneer dishes from Lisa's Kitchen:
Mung Bean Paneer
Massaman Curry
Macaroni and Paneer Cheese
Mattar Paneer

On the top of the reading stack: Elias, Or, the Struggle with the Nightingales by Maurice Gilliams

Audio Accompaniment: Translucence/Drift Music by Harold Budd and John Foxx


Raghavan Iyer said...

Lisa - thank you so much for all your great support. I am thrilled you are enjoying the book so much. I am always accessible through my website if you wish to get in touch with any qs. you may have as you cook from the book.

Unknown said...

Lisa, that is surely one delicious looking recipe. I am bookmarking it to try it out later.

sally said...

This looks delicious! With paneer and saffron, it must be good! 660 Curries sounds great too.

MapMaster said...

I never would have dreamt of putting pomegranate seeds, paneer and basil together in one dish, but this is an incredible recipe. I've eaten many preparations from Iyer's book, and I can definitely recommend it.

Johanna GGG said...

wow that top photo looked some gorgeous that without even knowing what it was my tastebuds were bursting to get at it - having looked through the recipe I am still keen to try this

AJ said...

Looks delicious!! Paneer is the best!!

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

I have never seen paneer cooked thios way. The flavours are pretty much Indian. but this is so un-Indian (is this a word, I wonder).
Looks and sounds delish.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I do love paneer Lisa!!!!

saveur said...

Wow - this looks delicious! I recently bought 660 Curries based on your recommendations, and I hope to delve into Indian cuisine. This looks like a great place to start!

Susan said...

660 Curries is *the* best cookbook gift I've ever received. : }

What a spectacular dish. I'd want to smoke after dinner, too.

(Tried emailing you, but the message bounced back twice.)

kitchen table said...

This is a darling! I love the recipe. Something so new to me.

Sweet Artichoke said...

This paneer looks delicious. Pomegranate makes it look very lovely and it must be so tasty :-)

eatme_delicious said...

I love that this has pomegranate seeds! And that the paneer is marinated. I've never tried that before.

janet said...

Hi Lisa, I made this and it was fabulous! Very tasty and filling! Thanks for sharing. :)

I wrote about it here: