As Paneer is an unsalted, fresh white cheese, it makes for a hugely versatile addition to many Indian curries as it is capable of taking on the beautiful flavours of spices and herbs. It's a rich source of protein and is a great alternative to meat-based curries for those wanting to try something different whilst still enjoying the same wonderful flavours of South Asia.
If you're looking for an authentic takeaway to order Paneer-based curries from in the City of Gold, here are some of Dubai's most popular Indian eateries that specialise in vegetarian dishes.
1. Paneer Pasanda, 25 Degrees North – Downtown
Pasanda is one of those delightfully rich, fruity and creamy curries that is perfect for any occasion. The Paneer cuts through the richness of the dish. At Downtown's 25 Degrees North restaurant, they stuff the sliced Paneer with dried fruits and allow them to simmer away slowly in this rich gravy. It's a majestic dish that even the most loyal meat-eater would devour with ease. These guys also do a North Indian-inspired Makhanwala, with a tomato and butter sauce that works perfectly with the Paneer.
2. Paneer Khurchan, Patiala – Souk Al Bahar
Patiala is a fine dining Indian experience, led by celebrity chef, Kunal Kapur. Kapur and his team specialise in a great range of vegetarian starters and main courses, including their Paneer Khurchan. Khurchan means 'scrapings' and, in this instance, the sliced Paneer is cooked with fresh peppers and scraped on a flat iron. This motion thickens the masala and intensifies the flavour of the paneer tikka.
3. Paneer Makhani, Mint Leaf of London – D.I.F.C.
Very similar to the Makhanwala at 25 Degrees North, at Mint Leaf of London, they also make a rich Paneer Makhani. The cheese is simmered slowly in this thick tomato and butter sauce, taking on all of the great flavours of the gravy, including red chili powder and garam masala. This indulgent dish is topped with cashews or cream to add a silky and luxurious finishing touch.
4. Home-style Spinach (Palak), Asha's – Pyramids at Wafi – Healthcare City
You'll find Asha's in the Healthcare City region of Dubai serving up a great choice of vegetarian curries. Paneer has always been an excellent carrier for spinach and Asha's home-style spinach, cooked with ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric, and cumin really packs a punch of flavour. The Paneer quickly absorbs all of those vibrant spices, leaving the spinach light and fresh.
5. Kadai Paneer, Mahec – Garhoud
In the previous dish, we proved that Paneer is versatile enough to take on fruity spices and Mahec's Kadai Paneer confirms its suitability for more fiery flavours too. This dish sees the Paneer diced into cubes before being cooked in onion, tomato, and garlic, dry red chillies, and black peppercorns. It's good enough to enjoy as a dish in its own right, but we would certainly recommend it as a side dish to accompany a lighter, creamier curry too.
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