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Paneer-and-Pepper Fritters


"It took me a while to figure out how to make these fritters," says Rajat Parr. "My mom never gave me the exact recipe." He creates the delicate hors d'oeuvres by combining paneer (fresh Indian cheese), diced bell pepper, garlic and ginger, then rolling the patties in Japanese pankobread crumbs and frying them.

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  1. 1/2 pound paneer (see Note) or farmer cheese, crumbled
  2. 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  3. 1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  4. 1 garlic clove, minced
  5. 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  6. 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons crème fraîche
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  9. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  10. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  11. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  12. All-purpose flour, for dredging
  13. 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  14. 2 cups panko
  15. Vegetable oil, for frying
  16. Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. In a bowl, combine the paneer, red and green bell peppers, garlic, ginger and crème fraîche. Add the cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Shape into 12 balls and flatten each into a 2 1/2-inch patty.
  2. Put the flour, beaten eggs and panko in 3 separate shallow dishes. Dredge the patties in the flour, then dip them in the beaten eggs; let any excess egg drip off. Coat the patties with the panko.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large saucepan, heat 1 1/4 inches of vegetable oil to 350°. Fry 4 patties at a time, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fritters to a paper towel–lined platter and season with salt. Keep warm in the oven while you fry the remaining fritters. Serve right away with lemon wedges.
Paneer, the firm-textured fresh Indian cheese, is available at large supermarkets and Indian groceries.

Suggested Pairing

Parr serves the fritters with Sauvignon Blanc because he likes the wine's grassy citrus notes with the slightly tangy cheese.