Shahi Paneer Parcels

Shahi paneer parcels with mint-chilli chutney

Shahi paneer parcels with mint-chilli chutney

Once, when I was a vegetarian, my parents invited all of their friends over for a drink and we ended up ordering a Chinese takeaway. Not able to partake in the shared dishes, I ordered my own portion of salt and pepper tofu, stir fried vegetables and boiled rice.  45 minutes later, the food arrived.  Delayed to the table by a phone call, I realised, to my utter despair, that they had absent-mindedly put my boiled rice on their plates, leaving me with the three portions of special fried rice, studded with the little bits of chicken and prawn that I could not eat.  I ended up having a very carb-light, and disappointing, dinner.  The moral of the story: when people are hungry, and a little drunk, they don’t always think.

For this very reason, I often hide a portion of the vegetarian snacks when hosting parties.  There is nothing worse than having a vegetarian friend arrive at your house a little late only to find that the meat eaters have scarfed all of the goats cheese puffs and olive gougeres, leaving nothing for your meat-free guest to eat but a sad bag of kettle chips.  Of course, being a buffet nazi and screeching “leave them for the vegetarians!” is enough to kill any party atmosphere, so hoarding is actually a much better option.

Speaking of which, I have been working on a vegetarian party snack using paneer and one of the new Vini and Bal sauces.  Paneer is a bit of a divisive foodstuff: genius Asian vegetarian ingredient to some, tasteless rubber to others.  Of course, on its own it is a pretty unremarkable cheese, but it is a cheese that can go into a curry, which makes it a winner for me.  These paneer parcels are similar to a samosa and use the Shahi sauce from the Vini and Bal range, a tomato and cream based sauce, to create a slightly spiced cheese filling.  The addition of some black onion seeds, a chopped green chilli and some fresh coriander give it a kick and the paneer some much-needed flavour.  To accompany these parcels is a simple mint-chilli chutney that has a freshness to cut through the rich pastry and filling.


The recipe below makes 15 parcels.  Double the recipe if you have a larger group of veggies in attendance.

Shahi Paneer Parcels

  • Olive oil
  • 225g paneer, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tsp black onion seeds
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Vini and Bal’s Shahi sauce
  • Small handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 10 sheets filo pastry

Mint-Chilli Chutney

  • 3 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.  Gently fry the paneer for a few minutes until lightly coloured, then stir in the black onion seeds and chilli and cook for a few minutes more.  Pour over the Vini and Bal’s Shahi sauce and stir to combine.  Continue to cook over a medium heat for approximately 20 minutes – the sauce should thicken and reduce by about a third in this time.    Turn off the heat.

Lay one sheet of filo pastry on a clean work surface, brush with olive oil and lay another sheet on top.  With the pastry in ‘portrait’ (short edge facing you), slice in three lengthways, giving you three long strips.  Spoon a couple of teaspoons of the Shahi mixture on to the top of each strip, before folding over to enclose in a triangle, brush with olive oil and fold over again.  Keep repeating this process, folding in a triangle formation, until all of the pastry has been used up and the parcel resembles a triangular samosa.  Brush with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Repeat this until all of the filo and Shahi mixture has been used up.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and flaky.  To make the chutney, pulse all of the ingredients together in a food processor and spoon into ramekins.

More abut Vini and Bal’s here