These paneer bites are an irresistible snack, appetizer or side dish! Pan fried with a honey and harissa glaze, these are so easy to make in one pan with just a few core ingredients. The perfect blend of creamy, crispy, sweet and spicy, these are sure to keep everyone coming back for more.
Christine’s Notes: Why I am loving this versatile paneer snack
Paneer cheese is a fantastic vegetarian staple, but it doesn’t always have to be for curries! Today we’re going to make a simple side dish or snack out of our paneer, crisping it up and then drenching it in a seriously tasty sticky glaze made from harissa paste and honey. It’s really easy to make, and even easier to eat.
Paneer’s exact texture and taste can vary a little from brand to brand, but it tends to have a very mild and milky taste which is the perfect backdrop for this spicy-sweet glaze and whatever toppings you want to add. You can throw a lot at paneer without it getting too rich (like our salty friend halloumi can, if we’re not careful).
With an Indian cheese + a North African spice paste, this recipe has no idea what region it belongs to, which is just how I like things sometimes. I love that this is such a versatile concept and I have a bunch of suggestions coming up for you if you’d like to incorporate this idea into a larger meal, play around with the toppings, or make other modifications, so let’s get stuck in.
🛒 Ingredient Notes & Topping Ideas
There are three core ingredients to this recipe:
- Paneer cheese: Store bought paneer can vary from very firm to a little crumbly. If you can try to get one that’s more on the firm side, it will make pan frying easier.
- Harissa paste: I used a plain harissa paste but I know there are some epic variations out there like rose petal and apricot- so feel free to experiment.
- Honey: makes it sweet and, crucially, sticky and glaze-like. I’ve used a firm, set honey but runny honey will be fine too.
This is all you need, but it’s also very fun to add toppings:
- Chopped cilantro (fresh coriander) – pictured.
- Pomegranate seeds – pictured
- A twist of lemon or lime
- A sauce of some kind. I like the tahini drizzle from this recipe (I use honey instead of syrup when I make it to go with the paneer bites), though there are plenty of other sauces that will slot in fine, such as a tzatziki or another yogurt based sauce or dip.
How to serve as a meal or side dish
If you’re looking for a snack to put on a plate, eat, and be done with things – you can safely scroll past this section! But if you’re interested in taking this idea and making it into a meal, I can help with that:
- Try these bites as a side dish / topping to a bowl of dal with rice. I’d suggest my Lemon & Coconut Red Lentil Dal or my Best Easy Dal Recipe. These are simple red lentil dals that will serve as an ideal backdrop for this paneer.
- You can also structure this into a salad, serving it on top of some chopped greens dressed in a creamy dressing, with fresh veggies.
- Incorporate it into a bowl meal with some rice, hummus, and roasted veggies.
- Roll into a wrap with lot of lettuce, tomato and garlic or harissa mayo.
More Paneer Recipes
Honey Harissa Paneer Bites
- 225 g (8 oz) paneer, cut into cubes
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp harissa paste
- olive oil, for cooking
- optional: chopped cilantro + pomegranate seeds for topping
- The first step is to pan fry the paneer. In a large frying pan, heat a thin layer of olive oil. Add the paneer cubes and allow them to cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until browned (it's tricky to make sure that each side of each cube actually browns, so don't worry, it doesn't have to be perfect). Note that the paneer can spit oil as it cooks, so stand as far back from the pan as you can and be mindful of this.225 g paneer
- Once the paneer is cooked, add the harissa and honey to the pan. It will start melting – use a spatula to mix it through and get each bite coated in it.1 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp harissa paste
- Allow the honey-harissa mix to stay in the pan for another minute or two- it will bubble up, then reduce and thicken to form a glaze.
- Place the paneer bites onto a serving dish and add your toppings of choice.optional: chopped cilantro + pomegranate seeds for topping