Paneer Pakora & Portobello Caps

Paneer Pakora & Portobello Mushroom Caps

Last week I posted a couple Indian inspired items on ye old blog, but my taste for Indian inspired cooking was not satiated yet.  I needed some paneer pakora, and I needed it BAD!  If you’ve never had paneer pakora before, it is the most amazing vegetarian source of protein all fried up crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside.  I like to dip it in a plum chutney, but it goes well with a mint chutney or tastes just as good plain.

I’m lucky that there is a wonderful little Indian grocery store near my house, and knowing that I wouldn’t be able to find a hunk of paneer (Indian cheese — it has a tofu like taste and a low moisture cheese-like consistency), I happily made the trek.  The store is amazing with rows of shelves from floor to ceiling with exotic ingredients I’ve never cooked with before.  I grabbed a package of paneer from the refrigerator and a jar of chutney, but I was stumped as to the breading for paneer pakora.

The older Indian woman behind the counter led me to the back for a 4lb package of besan (chick pea flour) and instructed me to mix it with water, yogurt (to make it fluffy) and spices.  I may have chick pea flour that will last me for the next five years, but I was making one of my favorite dishes that night!

I also had some beautiful Portobello mushroom caps marinating in balsamic vinegar and garlic ready for the grill and some fresh green beans ready for the steamer.  A little basmati rice and I had a nice vegetarian dinner on the menu for the night.

Little did I know that Angie’s own Fiesta Friday #18 this week at The Novice Gardener was going to be just that — vegetarian inspired.  Hopefully my meal can compare to her beautiful turmeric roasted cauliflower and lemon rice.

Ingredients for Paneer Pakora and Marinated Portobello Caps:

8 oz of fresh paneer, cut in 1 inch by 1/2 inch square pieces

1 Cup besan (chick pea flour)

1 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbs plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)

enough water to make the mixture the consistency of a batter

1/4 Cup vegetable oil (or more if needed)

3 Portobello caps

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbs olive oil

salt and pepper to season mushrooms


portobello mushroom caps

Remove stems from mushrooms and save for stock or using in another dish.  Scrape gills from mushrooms with a spoon.  You can leave them if you’d like, but I find they muddy up the mushrooms and they taste “cleaner” with them removed.  Marinate mushrooms for at least 1 hour in vinegar, olive oil, and garlic adding a pinch of salt and pepper to each cap.  When ready to cook, grill for 5 minutes on one side, then 5 minutes on the opposite side.  Serve hot.

balsamic portobello mushroom caps on the grill


Mix up the batter for the paneer pakora using the besan, spices, yogurt and enough water to make a smooth batter.

paneer pakora

Heat your vegetable oil over medium heat until a small drop of batter sizzles.  Coat several pieces of the cheese in the batter and fry until golden on both sides.  Let drain on paper towels as you cook the rest of the pieces.

paneer pakora

I had a lot of batter left and fried up pancakes of this delicious chickpea mixture.  It was absolutely delicious dipped in a bit of chutney.  Even the kids loved it — and it tasted just like I remember it tasting at our favorite restaurant.

I served all of this up with some basmati rice and fresh, steamed green beans.  There were no complaints.  This will be in the rotation again (heck — I have a lot of chick pea flour to use!).






12 thoughts on “Paneer Pakora & Portobello Caps

  1. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #18 | The Novice Gardener

  2. I love your fondness of Indian food and it is a wonder that you just made it with casual instructions from the lady in the shop!

    • Thanks! I think for most of us, once you’ve been cooking long enough, you have a good flavor intuition, right? The woman in the shop had this curious display of sandwich baggies full of herbs. She told me they were curry leaves. Hmmm…now, what to make with that? Maybe next time 😉

  3. This looks (and sounds) SOOOO good!!!! I need to try new dishes like this, thanks for sharing, I love it!

    • Thanks, Stephanie! You should try it…it was really simple to make and packed with flavor. Plus, I love a good vegetarian meal every now and then.

  4. Don’t you love it when you find exotic ingredients…. and realize you have enough for the next five years? Our place is, ahem, full of such ingredients. This looks absolutely delicious!!

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