The winter chill is best complemented with a hot cup of tea and a plate of hot, mildly spiced puffs that remind you of Indian bakeries. These puffs are made with store-bought puff pastry sheets and filled with spiced paneer, and are best enjoyed fresh off the oven!
One of the things (among many!) I miss the most about living in a foreign land is the lack of options for Indian fast food. Office tea break would always involve ‘chai’ and hot ‘puffs’ sold at the bakery next door. So, to relive those moments, ever so often, I pull out a sheet of puff pastry and make ‘puffs’ that remind me of bakeries back home.
Puff pastry is readily available in all supermarkets under the name ‘Blätterteig’. These are extremely handy for a quick and easy meal at home. I usually prepare egg puffs or make a samosa filling for the stuffing, and on occasion, a spicy chicken or lamb mince stuffing will also find their way. This recipe uses grated paneer, which can be bought from local Indian stores. You could also make your own paneer as explained here. The spices used are readily available in most Indian pantries, or you could stock up on these from your nearest Indian store.
Say goodbye to those winter blues and enjoy these paneer masala puffs with a hot cup of ‘chai’ this winter!
- Vegetable oil, to sauté
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
- 3/4 cup grated paneer
- Salt, to taste
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- On the stovetop, add the vegetable oil to a saucepan, and bring to a heat.
- Add the sliced onion and sauté until the onions soften and just begin to brown.
- Add the cumin seeds and sauté for a minute.
- Lower the heat and add the red chili powder, turmeric, coriander, and ginger garlic paste, and sauté with the rest of the ingredients for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato paste, followed by the paneer and stir well to combine all the ingredients. Cook for a further 1 minute.
Finally, season with salt and turn off the heat.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it cool a little.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- Take out the puff pastry sheet from the fridge and cut up the sheet into 6 pieces using a pizza cutter or knife.
- Place a heaped spoonful of the paneer filling in the center of the sheet, and fold the puff pastry along the diagonal. Bring together the edges of the pastry dough and seal them, using a fork.
- Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 180 C or until the puff pastry had baked through and the tops have become golden brown.
Notes: Keep the puff pastry refrigerated until just before use, as it will soften if left at room temperature for too long.