Hello friends! Sharing a quick recipe today. Quick as per Indian recipe standards per se…just kidding. Chaina or the crumbly form of paneer is the base of this recipe. So if you have chaina already made, then this bhurjee recipe is a breeze to put together. Now what if you don’t have chaina already made – don’t worry, we can still work around this recipe pretty quickly – by multi-tasking!
As far as I understand, bhurjee is a dish made by scrambling the major component of the dish or simply a mush-mash. Egg bhurjee, paneer bhurjee, keema bhurjee are some of the versions made with eggs, paneer/chaina, and minced meat respectively. Let’s play out both scenarios in our head:
Scenario 1: You have chaina already made. You then proceed to prepping and cooking bhurjee components directly and when the masala is ready, add chaina into it and call it a day.
Scenario 2: You don’t have chaina..:(. While you prep and get the masala ready, side by side boil the milk and proceed to make chaina. You don’t have to drain the chaina too much for this recipe. Trust me – I have done this many times. It almost comes together in the same time…just a few extra steps.
Scenario 3: Don’t have access to chaina or paneer or there is a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance issue, swap chaina for extra firm tofu. Just crumble or grate some tofu and use just as you would use chaina.
So here’s how the recipe goes:
Chaina – 1 batch (made from 1 quart milk)
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
Onion – 1/2 medium sized
Green chilli – 1 (optional) – use thai chilli or serrano or jalapeno depending on your desired level of heat
Turmeric – 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander powder – 1.5 tablespoon
Tomato – 1 large plum tomato or 2 roma tomatoes
Peas – 1 cup (optional) – frozen peas thawed
Salt – to taste
Garam masala – 1/4 teaspoon
Chaat masala – 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
Cilantro – leaves from 5-6 sprigs (optional)
Slice the onions and chop the tomatoes and green chilli. Set a 12 inch skillet or a heavy bottomed wide pan on medium heat. Add oil. Once the oil is hot and looks shiny, add the cumin seeds. Wait for them to crackle. Proceed to add the onion and green chilli (if using). Stir around the onions for 2-3 minutes till they begin to change color and start turning translucent. At this point, add turmeric powder and coriander powder (See this post on spices) and mix. After about 30 seconds add the chopped tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook for 4-5 minutes till the the oil separates from the masala and all the moisture is gone. If at any point, the masala begins sticking to the pan, sprinkle a few drops of water on it and continue cooking. This method of cooking the masala to get the roasted flavor of spices and onion-tomato mixture is called “Bhoono”. So after the masala is bhoonoed to your satisfaction, add the peas (if using) and stir around. Then add the chaina and with your spatula break it apart till it resembles the texture of cooked ground meat or in other words “bhurjee texture”. Add salt, garam masala and chaat masala. Cover and cook on low heat for around 5-7 minutes. Check and adjust seasonings. Remove the lid, sprinkle cilantro and serve hot with chapaathi or naan or by all means spread it on a toast. All the more power to you..:P
Love – Vaishali.