We were not friends with paneer for the longest time. Then it slowly started to make its appearance in our home. Personally I never fussed about eating paneer no matter how it was cooked and how creamy (or not) the paneer was but the husband used to hate paneer thanks to the chewy store bought ones which were hastily cooked by caterers at the mess he used to eat at before he got married. However, since I like to include all kinds of ingredients in the meals we eat I slowly started experimenting with it. As thousands of paneer lovers will agree with me, homemade paneer is the best but in lieu of that I guess fresh, store bought paneer that has been sourced from a reputed dairy is the next best solution.
So after all this hullabaloo about not liking paneer, guess who made these toasts? Roshan of course! He is a paneer convert now (well almost!). We made this when we had some tiny guests for a tiny party at home earlier this year and since that day it has been a major hit with the kids asking us for it every time they visit us and squealing in delight when we take some on picnics or long drives.
The nicest thing about this toast is that it is so party friendly - which means you don't kill yourself making everything at the last minute. You can make the topping ahead of time (minus the onions), trim and cut the bread to size a few hours before you intend to bake them. When you are ready to serve just mix the onions in and pop the tray in the oven, let the cheese sizzle and turn golden and serve them hot and crisp. They taste SO WONDERFUL with a hot cuppa. I have eaten them so many times because personally I don't like an overdose of cheese which is typical of chilli cheese toasts but the paneer balances out the richness and makes it well, eatable :) and yeah, less salty which the cheese is notorious for.
The nicest thing about this toast is that you can decorate it like a bride. Make it look as pretty as you want. Add ingredients of your choice - perhaps some boiled corn or chopped dill, colourful bell peppers or even bacon - get creative...all the way!
Chilli Cheese Toast with a Twist!
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- 9 slices of bread, brown or white as desired
- 200 grams fresh paneer (Indian cottage cheese), crumbled
- 100 grams cheddar or parmesan cheese, grated
- 100 grams mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 small green chilli, deseeded and minced
- 1/2 bell pepper (red, yellow or green capsicum), deseeded and chopped * see notes
- fresh coriander, chopped
- salt to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
2. In a bowl mix all the ingredients mentioned above except the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and the coriander. Spread the slices of bread on a baking tray.
3. Cover the surface of each slice evenly with the prepared mixture. Next, sprinkle the cheddar or parmesan cheese over it, then the mozzarella cheese and finally garnish with the chopped coriander.
4. Place the tray on the top rack of your oven and use the broil/grill mode to grill the cheese toasts for just about 5-7 minutes or till they turn golden on top (not brown) - the time will depend on the size of your oven and mode used (I use the grill-fan mode which helps speed up the process in my oven). I suggest you keep an eye out and don't neglect the grilling process. Cheese gets burnt very fast.
5. Once done, remove from the oven and cut each slice into triangles using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife.
6. Serve hot with a cup of tea or coffee.