Paneer is a soft cheese cheese that holds its shape, doesn’t loose it’s shape and is very versatile. It is a favourite in our house. What’s not to love about phyllo pastry paneer pillows?
This recipe is simple and can be made ahead. The pillows can be made and reheated before eating. I make mine in the afternoon and zap them in the toaster oven or oven just before eating – just leave them a tad underdone, so when you reheat them, the pasty doesn’t burn.
Gathering the Ingredients
Peel and chop a medium sized red onion. Red onions have more flavour and are sweeter than the yellow or white onions. Seed and chop a green chilli (optional). We like our food a little bit spicy so the chilli offers a great spiciness. Peel and chop one large garlic clove. Finely grate a 1 inch piece of ginger. Set aside.
Grate the paneer into a bowl and set aside. You can always use tofu if you are not a fan of paneer. If using tofu, use the medium type and using your hands or a fork, crumble it into a bowl.
Making the Masala
In a medium sized pan, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and place the cumin seeds in the pan. Let them pop and get fragrant. Add the chopped onion, garlic, green chilli (if using) and grated ginger into the pan. Stir and let cook for about 5 mins – until the onions get soft and start to brown.
Once the onions have browned, add the garam masala, turmeric, paprika, and salt and stir. Add 2 table spoons of water to the pan – it prevents the dry ingredients from burning. You can replace the garam masala with curry powder. But if you do, then skip adding the turmeric. Curry powder has turmeric in it already.
Add 1/4 cup tomato puree to the pan and stir to combine. Substitute the tomato puree with 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Let the mix cook for about 2 mins and add the grated paneer into the pan and stir well. Make sure that all of the paneer is coated and there are no white bits left. At this time, you can add the frozen peas to the mix and let cook for about 5 mins or until the peas are softened. Remove from heat and let the mix cool for about 5 mins.
Assembling the phyllo pastry paneer pillows
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the thawed phyllo pastry from the plastic wrapper. Always keep the phyllo pastry under a damn cloth or else it will dry and crumble. Cut the pastry into half lengthwise. Remove on sheet of the pastry and place it on the counter. Using a brush, coat the sheet lightly with oil. Remove another sheet from under the cloth and place it on top of the oiled sheet. Brush with oil again. Place a third sheet on the second oiled sheet.
Place about a pack of card size of the paneer mix close to the bottom of the phyllo pastry – leaving about 1/2 inch of the bottom. Fold the pastry to form a pillow.
Fold all 8 of the pillows and place them on a parchment lined 9×13 inch baking tray. Bake the pillows for about 25 mins or so. Each oven is different, so the baking times will vary. Bake till you see the pastry has browned and looks crisp.
Remove from the oven and serve warm. Enjoy the phyllo pastry paneer pillows with a side of green salad of choice. I serve it with arugula sprinkled with some balsamic and olive oil.
Enjoy as a dinner, lunch or even keep for the next day. Zap them in a toaster oven to re-crisp and enjoy. Make ahead and freeze before baking so you have a ready meal for another day. Phyllo pastry paneer pillows are bound to become your go to when for company. Make them into small starter size bites and impress everyone!
The Perfect Phyllo Pastry Paneer PillowsCourse: EntreeCuisine: Indo CanadianDifficulty: Medium
Phyllo Pastry Paneer Pillows – a crunchy spicy delicious meal that can be enjoyed in any season. Serve with a fresh leafy salad.
2 350 gram package paneer
1 small red onion
1 green chilli (optional)
1 large clove garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil of any kind
1 tablespoon garam masala (or you can use curry powder)
1 teaspoon turmeric (skip if using curry powder)
1 teaspoon paprika (or chilli powder if you prefer it spicy)
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup tomato puree (or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste)
1/2 cup frozen green peas
Salt to taste
1 package phyllo pastry
4 tablespoons oil (or oiling the pastry)
- Defrost the phyllo pastry as per the package instructions.
- Grate the paneer and set aside in a covered bowl.
- Chop the onion, chilli, and garlic. Grate the ginger.
- In a medium sized pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Once the oil is heated, put the cumin seeds in and let them pop.
- Add the onion, chilli, garlic and ginger to the pan and let them cook for about 5 mins – stir to avoid burning.
- Once the onions have softened and browned slightly, add the garam masala (or curry powder), turmeric, paprika and salt.
- Mix well and quickly add the two tablespoons of water. This will prevent the dry ingredients from burning.
- Add the tomato puree (or paste) and stir to mix well. Let it cook for about 2 mins.
- Add the grated paneer and mix all the masala into it. You should not see any more white paneer. It should all be coated well with the masala.
- Add the peas and stir well. Let the mix cook for a further 5 or so mins – this will allow the peas to soften.
- Remove from heat and let the mix cool for about 5 or so mins.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Remove the Phyllo pastry from the plastic wrapping. Cut the pastry in half – lengthwise. If you prefer not to cut it, you can use the whole pastry and fold it in half. Remember to oil the pastry.
- Keep the pasty under a damn cloth. Phyllo pastry dries up really quickly and crumbles when dry.
- Remove one sheet of the pasty and lay it flat on the counter. Brush some oil on it and place a second sheet on it. Repeat with a third sheet.
- Place a pack of card size paneer filling close to the bottom of the pastry – leave about a 1/2 inch space on the pastry at the bottom.
- Fold the pasty into a pillow and oil the top of the pillow with a brush.
- Make the rest of the pastries and place them all on a 9×13 inch parchment lined baking tray.
- Bake them for 25 mins – or until the pastry is browned and crisp.
- Enjoy with a side of green salad.
- – These can be made in advance and heated when ready to eat.
– You can freeze them before baking. Defrosted and baked and enjoyed.
– You can make the pillows into a bite sized pillow and serve them as a snack. To do this, reduce the amount of pastry and filling accordingly.
– Check out other entree recipes here.