This weekend, I had an unopened packet of lemongrass waiting to be used up, and some fresh homemade cottage cheese (paneer) that I wanted to finish before it became too stale.
Residing in the Southeast Asian region, I have seen so many appetisers that uses lemongrass as skewers; wrapped around which are different types of meats, from pork to beef to seafood like prawns. Commonly seen in Vietnamese, Malaysian and Thai cuisines, most of them unfortunately do not cater vegetarian options.
The ingredients in my fridge gave me a good opportunity to make my own diet-appropriate lemongrass skewers.
Paneer seekh kebabs are [Indian] spiced and minced cottage cheese balls which are arranged in skewers and cooked in the oven. Replacing an iron rod with lemongrass hence did not seem like a wrong idea!
Seekh kebabs are generally served with yoghurt-mint sauce and salad. I wanted my sauce to be more on the sweeter side, so I decided to compliment it with a simple honey and lime dressing. I think this dressing is what made the dish so much more tastier than it would have been had I stuck to the mint sauce!
- Whole cream milk: 3 cups
- White vinegar: 3 tbsp
Paneer seekh kebabs:
- Lemongrass stalks: 5, cut to preferred length
- Cottage cheese
- Green chilli: 1, diced
- Rice flour: 1 tsp
- Plain flour: 1 tsp
- Ginger-Garlic paste: 2 tsp
- Black pepper powder: 1 tsp
- Cumin powder: 2 tsp
- Garam masala: 2 tsp
- Cardamom powder: 2 tsp
- Salt: to taste
- Sugar: to taste (optional)
- Oil: 2-3 tbsp
- Lime wedges: 2-3
- Chaat masala: to sprinkle
- Heat milk to boiling point
- Add vinegar and stir till milk curdles
- Strain the curdled milk into a muslin cloth
- Tie the muslin cloth and hang it to drain the water away (takes at least an hour or two)
Paneer seekh kebab:
- Grate the cottage cheese into a bowl
- Add all ingredients listed under ‘Paneer seekh kebab’ except lemongrass and oil
- Mix well till the spiced cottage cheese assembles into a cohesive ball
- Divide the mixture into 5 equal balls
- Take one ball and flatten it against your palm
- Place one end of the lemongrass on the middle and wrap the cottage cheese around it, gently sealing ends so that they appear as elongated lollypops
- Repeat process with the rest of the skewers:
- Heat oil on a flat iron griddle
- Place the skewers on the griddle and evenly cook all sides by gently rotating them, till they become golden brown
- Generously drizzle honey onto your serving plate and place the skewers next to them
- Keep lime wedges next to the skewers and sprinkle chaat masala on the kebabs
- Serve hot
- To eat: Squeeze lime juice onto the honey, dip your skewers into the dressing and munch away!
- You can buy store-made cottage cheese for convenience
- Kebabs are best eaten fresh when it is hot; as it cools down, it will harden in texture
- You can replace oil with butter for a richer taste