Soft succulent paneer coated with a flavorful blend of pickling spices and tucked in buttery flaky golden puff pastry . Now this is what I call a party perfect appetizer.Today I am happy to share our house favorite appetizer recipe – Achari paneer braided puff pastry with you .
The braiding appears intimidating and complicated but trust me its super simple. Make it for your next potluck , tea party or dinner and you are sure to impress your loved ones.
Achar refers to pickle in Hindi . Does the word achar make you drool!!! I am sure it does. Achar/ pickle is a must have condiment in every Indian household and paneer needs no introduction . This paneer recipe is bursting with striking achari flavors which is nothing but epic deliciousness.
Achari paneer can be found on every North Indian cuisine menu at a restaurant .
So I have decided to take it up a notch and make it all the more exciting by tucking it between layers of puff pastry sheets. Seriously guys these savory PASTRIES are to die for!!
Best part of this recipe is that you can make it well ahead of time.
Preparing achari paneer filling is a breeze and it’s absolutely versatile.
Don’t wish to make puffs then make toast sandwiches.
Looking for a lip smacking meal – try achari paneer with roti or rice.
Bored of roti’s !!! then stuff this filling in a wrap with fresh greens or make quesadillas.
Not in the mood to eat your classic pizza !!! then use this filling instead of your usual toppings.
These are just handful of examples. You are only limited by your imagination.
Achari paneer braided puff pastry
- 3 tablespoon mustard oil*
- Spices for achari masala
- 2 cloves / laung
- 1 bay leaf / tej patta
- 1 teaspoon cumin / jeera
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds / kalonji
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds / rai
- 2 teaspoon fennel seeds / sauf
- ½ teaspoon crushed fenugreek seeds / methi kuria
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon powder* / dal chini
- 2 teaspoon red chili powder / lal mirch
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder / dhania powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder / haldi
- 1 tablespoon grated garlic
- ½ tablespoon grated ginger
- To be chopped -
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 1 cup bell pepper finely chopped
- 200 grams paneer cubed in small pieces
- 3 tablespoon fresh tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon ketchup *
- 2 teaspoon vinegar*
- Heat oil in a non – stick skillet on low heat.
- Once warm add in the cloves, bay leaf, cumin, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, nigella seeds and saute for 20 seconds .
- Now add in the onions and sprinkle some salt.
- Cook the onions well until wilted and translucent for about 2 minutes.
- Add in the ginger garlic paste and cook for 1 minute.
- Add in the bell peppers and cook it for 1 minute.
- Now discard the bay leaf and the cloves .
- Add in the tomatoe puree , red chili powder, turmeric , coriander powder and cook the mixture on medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Add in the vinegar and ketchup.
- Now add in the paneer, crushed fenugreek and some salt to taste.
- Cook it for a minute.
- Give a taste test and adjust the spices if needed.
- Switch off the flame .
- Cool the filling completely before filling the pastry sheets.
Sub vinegar with 2 teaspoon of lemon juice towards the end .
Always use crushed Fenugreek seeds towards the end as mentioned or else the mixture can turn bitter.
Optional spices- cloves , bay leaves, nigella seeds , fenugreek , cinnamon if unavailable .
Sub ketchup with ½ teaspoon sugar.
This filling is enough to make 3 braided puffs serving 4 -6 pieces each .
Double or half the recipe as needed.
Wish to make it vegan ? Simply swap paneer with firm tofu . Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets are vegan already.
Sure you can fill this mixture by simply filling and folding pastry sheets or you can make it more elegant like it’s shown below . Follow these easy step by step pictorial for making and assembling achari paneer braided puff pastry .
I have used Pepperidge Farm pastry sheets which already unfolds into a square . You will find 2 sheets in one box. I always stock up on it as it is so easy to use and you can make delicious treats hassle free .
Start by pre heating the oven at 400 degrees F / 200 deg C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Lightly roll it in a square if needed.
Place the pastry sheet onto the baking sheet. Divide the sheet into vertical 3 equal parts by marking them lightly and not cutting through. Follow pictorial above.
The marking is just a guide so that you have 3 parts . Cut diagonal slits at the bottom as shown in picture 2 and 3. Now cut equal diagonal lines ½ ” is width on both sides as shown in picture 4 and 5.
Make a ½″ slit on the top of the center part for sealing the mixture as shown in picture 6. . Spoon the achari paneer mixture lengthwise down the center part of the pastry sheet leaving ½″ space at the top and bottom of the sheet for sealing in the mixture. Starting at one end, fold the pastry strips over the paneer filling , alternating sides and gently stretching if needed to cover the filling.
Brush the top with milk and sprinkle some nigella seeds/ kalonji . Place it back it the freezer for 10 minutes before baking . Remember this important TIP- For flaky crispy crust ,the pastry sheets needs to be cold throughout the process until it hits the oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes on the middle rack or until golden brown . Look how flaky and gorgeous it has turned out .
Let it cool at least for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with a side of your favorite chutney or ketchup.
Thaw the sheets on room temperature for 40 -60 minutes or as directed on the package. The sheets should be pliable but cold to use . If the sheets turn soft, place it back into the freezer for 10 minutes and the proceed.
For flaky crispy crust ,the pastry sheets needs to be cold throughout the process until it hits the oven.
Use foil lightly greased with oil in case parchment is unavailable.
Make ahead of time tips
You can make the filling up to 3 days ahead of time and refrigerate.
You can fill in puffs and place it in the fridge up to 2 days ahead of time .
These puffs taste great at room temperature too.
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Hope you like this achari paneer braided puff pastry recipe and do give it a try. I would love to hear from you.
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