A delicious Indian sandwich recipe made of paneer (Indian cottage cheese), vegetables and a few Indian spices.
It makes for a filling high-protein breakfast or snack, and a great kids-friendly finger food.
This paneer sandwich recipe is basically Karnataka’s popular Iyengar bakery-style toast with a twist, making it more delicious and healthier.
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What is Paneer Sandwich
Paneer, that is the Indian cottage cheese is so popular, loved by a lot of people in India, and used in different ways in the cuisine.
This paneer sandwich is one of the ways you can use the freshly made or store bought paneer to make the filling.
I can say this recipe is an improvised version of the popular Iyengar bakery style masala toast.
For the uninitiated, Iyengar bakeries are one of the oldest bakeries in Karnataka started by the people of the Iyengar community.
The filling of this paneer sandwich is made by sauteing the vegetables in oil with some basic Indian spices and spice powders, with the addition of paneer.
This is then spread on a slice of bread, covered with another and toasted on both sides with some butter.
The filling is super simple, not high on masala and is perfect for kids or adults alike.
The best part is, the filling is totally customisable as per your taste and choice of vegetables.
Paneer, being a good source of vegetarian protein, this sandwich/toast is nutritious, wholesome and delicious.
Sliced bread of any variety can be used in this.
White bread, whole wheat, multigrain, sourdough are some of the possible options. I have used spelt flour sourdough bread here.
The type of bread does influence the overall taste of the sandwich/toast.
If you want the authentic bakery style toast, go for white bread, although it is not really the most nutritious variety.
You can use store-bought or freshly made paneer in this.
In case you have made paneer at home and it has not turned out firm to hold the shape, this would be a great way to use it.
Considering that we will be crumbling/grating the paneer, homemade paneer that is quite soft and crumbly works perfect for this.
I used store-bought paneer, and grated it using the smaller shredding holes of my box grater.
You can also use a food processor to shred the paneer.
Make sure to use fresh paneer for best taste.
As this is basically the Iyengar bakery style toast, I have used only onion, tomato and grated carrot in this recipe.
Some bakeries also use green bell pepper (capsicum), you can definitely add it too, if you like.
If you want to make it more nutritious and don’t care much for the authentic taste, you can add in your choice of vegetables as well.
Finely chopped cabbage, grated beetroot, shredded broccoli, grated zucchini, steamed/canned corn can be some good additions.
However, the taste of the sandwich will definitely alter based on the veggies you use.
For tempering, you will need mustard and cumin seeds. However, these are completely optional.
The spice powders you will need are turmeric, black pepper, red chili (paprika), chaat masala.
I use this brand’s chaat masala regularly.
You can also go fancy and add in smoked paprika, chipotle or Italian seasoning, suitable to your liking.
Oil and Butter–
Oil of choice can be used to saute the vegetables. I used peanut oil.
You can use ghee instead of oil if you like.
To toast the bread, you will need butter. You can, however, use ghee.
If you want to skip toasting the bread slices, feel free to do it. In that case, butter will not be needed.
Alternative Ways of Using the Paneer Mixture
If you do not want to make sandwiches, you can still make this paneer veggie mixture and use it in different ways.
As Chapati rolls:
One of the ways would be to spread it on chapati/roti and roll it up. Cut into smaller pieces and serve it as finger food.
As Paneer Puffs:
You can make paneer vegetable puff using store-bought puff pastry sheets.
Cut the puff pastry sheet into smaller rectangles or squares, spread the mixture on each of them, fold the sheets and seal them. Bake and enjoy.
As stuffed Idli/stuffed Appe:
Make some exciting stuffed idli or stuffed appe (paddu). Definitely something that kids would love!
To make these, pour some batter into the idli plate/appe pan. Fill in a teaspoon/tablespoon of the mixture and pour some more batter.
Cook/steam them and enjoy.
As a side dish with chapati/dosa:
The easiest option would be to use it as a side dish with chapati or dosa.
You can add more veggies to the mixture in this case and make it a wholesome nutritious side dish.
Super easy balanced meal with minimal effort guaranteed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this vegan?
While this recipe is basically not vegan considering the main ingredient is paneer (made of whole milk), you can still customise the recipe.
The nearest possible alternative is tofu.
The method remains completely the same, except for using crumbled/grated tofu in place of paneer.
Can I make authentic bakery style toast using this recipe?
Yes, just skip paneer or tofu and use the remaining ingredients as is.
You can include finely chopped green bell pepper (capsicum) along with the other veggies for the filling.
To make open toasts, toast one side of the bread slices and then spread the filling on the other side.
Alternatively, you can toast both the sides of the bread and keep them all aside, followed by spreading the filling mixture on each of them.
It is as simple as that, and your authentic bakery style toast will be done.
Can I store the filling mixture for later use?
The filling mixture can be refrigerated upto a day.
It can get a little hard/dry due to the addition of paneer.
You cannot mostly store longer than a day, as paneer can get spoilt.
If you have not used paneer but only the veggies, you can refrigerate it for a maximum of two days.
How to make Paneer Sandwich: Step by Step
Heat 1 to 2 teaspoons oil in a pan. Add in 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (if using them) and let them crackle.
Next, add in 2 sprigs curry leaves and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder.
Add in the chopped onions, and saute them for a few minutes until they cook but remain slightly crunchy.
Next, add in the chopped tomatoes and saute until they soften.
Once the tomatoes are done, add in the grated carrots.
Add some salt and let the carrots soften.
Time to add in the spice powders- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, and 1.5 teaspoons chaat masala.
Add a little more salt if required (approximately 3/4 teaspoon in total).
Give everything a good mix.
Next, add in the grated paneer mixing everything well so that paneer absorbs all the flavors.
Leave it for minute and lastly, add in chopped cilantro and lemon/lime juice if you like.
I skipped lemon juice since the tomatoes were quite sour.
Transfer the filling mixture onto a plate and let this cool before proceeding to make the sandwiches.
To make the sandwiches, you can either use a flat pan, a grill pan or a sandwich maker. I used a grill pan.
Spread butter on the bread slices, place a bread slice on the pan. Spread the filling mixture on it.
Cover with another bread slice and gently press so that the mixture stays in tact.
Flip and toast on both sides, take them off the pan, and cut them into halves. Follow the same procedure for the remaining slices.
If you are using a sandwich maker, club two butter-laden bread slices with the filling and directly place them in it.
Enjoy the sandwiches as is or with ketchup.
Variations of Paneer Sandwich
Green Chutney Sandwich
Spread some flavorful green chutney on a slice of bread, and then spread the paneer mixture.
Cover it with another slice of bread and toast them.
The chutney adds in a lot more flavor to this sandwich.
No cook Paneer filling
Make a no cook oil-free version of the filling by simply mixing all the ingredients in a bowl.
Add the crumbled paneer, chopped onion, tomato, cilantro, curry leaves (optional), and grated carrot into a mixing bowl along with salt, red chili powder, and chaat masala, mixing everything well.
Yogurt based filling
An extended version of the no cook filling is this yogurt based version.
To make this, use hung curd or greek yogurt along with the other ingredients to make a thick, creamy filling.
Although you can make hung curd at home, for a quicker and easier option, I would suggest using greek yogurt.
A fan of cheese sandwiches?
Feel free to make this paneer sandwich extra delicious by adding a slice of cheese before spreading the filling.
Toast and enjoy some cheesy goodness, absolutely yumm!
More Snack Recipes
I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed preparing it and writing it down for you all. 🙂
If you have any questions about the recipe, kindly post them below under comments.
I would love to see your recipe recreations. 🙂