By Veggie Tom
I’ve tasted Waitrose Paneer Masala… should you put a pack in the trolley or leave it on the shelf?
The Waitrose Paneer Kadhai Masala blurb reads: Strips of fried paneer cheese in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce.
OK: The big supermarkets all have their own curry ranges, but vegetarians typically have to make do with generic vegetable curries and a couple of veggie side dishes. Waitrose’s paneer masala sounds like a treat, then – but is it?
The tasting note: There are quite rich flavours in this microwave curry. You can taste the tomatoes and peppers, and the use of whole spices adds a touch of authenticity (though you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled, and leave them on the side of the plate). The paneer is a treat, giving it the body that’s missing in most similar veggie options.
The full ingredient list: Onion, paneer (23%), tomato, water, rapeseed oil, green peppers, red peppers, yogurt, chopped coriander, garlic purée, ginger purée, paprika, green chilli purée, ground coriander, salt, lemon juice, crushed coriander seeds, ground cumin, cumin seeds, dried whole red chillies, chilli powder, turmeric, bay leaf, fennel, fenugreek, black peppercorns, Paneer contains milk, barley malt vinegar.
Paneer? It’s a fresh cheese popular in South Asia made by curdling heated milk with an acid like lemon juice or vinegar. It doesn’t melt, making it perfect for curries. The taste is very lightly yoghurty, and the texture falls somewhere between fresh mozzarella and firm tofu.
Can you eat it? It’s veggie-friendly, but paneer and yoghurt means it’s not OK for vegans or others avoiding lactose.
Should you put it in the trolley? Microwave curry with paneer? Waitrose is being kind to us veggies. Don’t miss this – but watch out for the whole spices.
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