Paneer is an indispensable part of a keto diet, especially for vegetarians. The paneer or cottage cheese is best made with full-fat milk. You can also use malai paneer that is made from the rich cream of the milk.
Malai paneer is deliciously creamy in texture and it literally melts in your mouth. But you do need to be careful about the quantity as it is very high in calories. The fat content of malai paneer is much higher than paneer made from whole milk. It is best to avoid paneer made from skimmed milk if you are on a ketogenic diet.
Most starter recipes call for some amount of flour or cornflour for batter frying or for thickening the sauces used for coating the cooked paneer pieces. These ingredients can be easily avoided or substituted to make the recipes more keto friendly.
Here we have compiled 5 delicious keto paneer recipes that you can serve as starters or snacks.
Tandoori paneer tikka is a vegetarian Indian classic. It is a must for festive occasions like Diwali. Mint chutney is always served with it as a dip.
The marinade is made using thick curd, ginger garlic paste, ajwain, kashmiri chilli powder, jeera powder, dry mango powder and other powdered spices like turmeric and coriander seeds. Chaat masala and garam masala add a good punch to the mix while lemon juice and black salt take it to the next level. You can add a little oil to the marinade or you can brush the oil during the cooking process.
Marinated paneer is arranged on skewers with pieces of onion, tomato and capsicum and then baked in a tandoor oven which gives it a smoky barbecued flavour. If you don’t have a tandoor oven, you can bake it in a normal oven or even an air fryer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 240 degree centigrade. Remember to turn the skewers over after the first 10 minutes. When the panner is golden in colour and its sides start looking slightly charred, the tikka is cooked to perfection. You can also make easy tawa versions of paneer tikka by keeping the skewers of paneer on a non stick tawa and brushing them generously with oil.
Though tomatoes, onion and green capsicum are the usual vegetables in a tikka recipe, you can add any combination of vegetables you like. Cauliflower, baby corn, tomatoes, broccoli, or mushrooms are some great options. Using red, yellow and green coloured capsicums make paneer tikkas look very appetizing and colourful on the skewers.
Hung curd, fresh cream, cheddar cheese, fennel powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, garam masala powder and chaat masala powder are mixed with lemon juice and saffron to make an exotic marinade for the Saunfia paneer tikka.
To make this keto paneer recipe, you should keep the marinated paneer for a minimum of two hours for the flavours to merge well. Keeping this for overnight in the fridge is an even better idea as the spices will be well absorbed by the paneer pieces. Brush any leftover marinade on the vegetables and paneer just before cooking it. Use butter for basting while cooking the paneer.
The crunch of toasted sesame seeds and the softness of the paneer make this dish a sensational play of textures on the tongue. This is one addictive keto paneer recipe even for the non vegetarians.
The paneer is cut into triangular pieces. Dried oregano, basil, and red chilli flakes are mixed with salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice to make a light marinade for the paneer. A little oil is also added to this mix. After marinating and keeping this aside for a few hours, the paneer pieces are coated with a thick layer of white sesame seeds. This is the grilled till the top is a nice golden brown.
Keep in mind that it is very easy to overcook paneer. When cooked correctly paneer is deliciously soft. When overcooked it becomes tough and rubbery.
The question of adding corn flour for thickening sauces or in the batter can be a confusion for many people who are new to the ketogenic diet.
A tablespoon of corn flour is just 7 gms of carbs. If you are using the cornflour in a recipe, then you need to factor this into your total carb consumption for the day, so that you don’t get kicked out of the keto state. When we normally make a thick sauce with the cornflour, we may eat only a part of the sauce with a single meal. So the carb intake can be calculated according to the portion you eat. This recipe for paneer manchurian calls for 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, but you can easily get away with using just one tablespoon or even less of it.
Marinate the paneer with chilli powder, pepper and salt and just a teaspoon of cornflour. Shallow fry this in a little oil till golden brown. The manchurian sauce for coating the paneer pieces is made by sauteing vegetables and then adding sauces like soy sauce and tomato sauce. Chilli powder, pepper and salt are used for flavouring while another teaspoon of cornflour can be used to thicken the sauce. The carb intake from the cornflour will be less than 5 gms even if you eat this entire keto paneer dish.
This is an extremely simple keto paneer recipe that can be made in just 10 minutes. No long marination periods are involved.
Garlic, kashmiri red chillies, salt and vinegar are blended together with a little water to form a paste. You must skip the sugar mentioned in the given recipe. It’s actually tastier without the added sugar which will anyway break your keto fast. After sizzling some cumin seeds in hot oil, chopped onion is added to the pan and cooked till the onion is browned. The blended spices are added at this point and sauteed lightly. Chopped paneer cubes are mixed with this and cooked for a few minutes.
This can be served garnished with spring onion, coriander leaves or chopped celery.