As such it has played its part in most global cuisines, but its energetic dominance over the Indian-menu cannot be taken lightly! Any food-joint of even a remotely decent standing, without fail, dedicates a string of pages to vague sounding paneer-delights….paneer-kurma….. pepper-paneer….. paneer-pasanda (uh-ok…)…. paneer-dikhush (u don’t say !!)….paneer-shahi (indeed !!)……paneer-kadhai (Zzzzz….)…Oh!! The list is crushingly endless……..
Much to the glee of the indian consumer it comes dressed as a spicy brazilian bride, doped with salsa-sauce at McDonald’s or as paneer-extravaganza at Pizza-Hut !!
At a glance, u could say there are two types of people in our world – those who eat paneer, and then those who don’t!! the paneer-eaters swear by their stock as though ‘roti-, kapda, makaan aur paneer were the aspiration of any ‘normal’ family. In northern India, paneer commands a near God-like veneration……if u are a welcome guest in a Punjabi-houslold, chances are you shall be appeased with a generous offering of hot paneer samosas, and paneer-pakodas, and paneer-patties….and…sigh…!
The non-eater clan wouldn’t be caught dead with paneer in their mouths, come hunger-pangs or sheer fainting-spells, their prejudice can only be described as unwavering!!
Well, let’s be fair! Paneer is the vegetarian’s fowl. Paneer is the implacable, invincible avenging hero of the “grass-eating” gentry! While the “meat-mongers” dig their teeth into succulent pieces of tandoori-chicken and exclaim a dismayed “tch-tch” at meager veggie plates, paneer sashays in and holds a decent front!! Besides, paneer has played a prophetic bit in saving the day for many a hostesses, drowning in the wake of unexpected dinner-guests!
In spite of the European-enlightenment and Americanized-options like macaroni-n-cheese, cheese-topped burgers, cheesecakes, paneer’s first-cousin cheese suffers the label of being “waist-expanding”…..therefore, ladies and gentlemen, an irrefutable component of every delectable banquet – PANEER IS HERE TO STAY !!