Monday, 17 February 2014

Palak Paneer (Spinach and cottage cheese)

Palak Paneer/ Spinach and Cottage cheese
Palak Paneer/ Spinach and Cottage cheese

Palak paneer  is pureed spinach with cottage cheese (Paneer), a type of mildly flavoured Indian curry.

  One thing that comes with human nature is the quality of making assumptions, maybe not all but some do and really funny ones. For e.g. something like all Indians get married to strangers or all Indian curries are hot. And strangely, none of it is true yes there was a time and there are still people who do that but it would be wrong to generalize that  or even to generalize all curries are hot. For once, Indian cuisine uses a range of spices yet balances it.  And not all indian curries are the same, the things that we eat everyday are not heavily spiced, however I love how funny some people can be. And speaking of funny, I was watching Rick steins seafood odyssey the other day  and its funny that even he would agree with me on the fact that there are some delicious mildly flavored/ mildly spiced Indian curries, so I thought I’ll share the recipe of Palak paneer or Spinach and cottage cheese.

 And since eating healthy is so my thing or should I say not my thing, I always like to remind myself the benefits of eating spinach or popeyes veg which is a super healthy leafy green, rich in iron and vitamins ( Spinach health benifits ) and cottage cheese is a low fat cheese. So not too many calories there! What’s more, it’s incredibly delicious.

  One thing I love to do when I boil the spinach (if you have seen Hara Bhara Kebab recipe) is transfer it to ice cold water, this helps it firm up. This recipe is more like what you would find in restaurants and has oil, butter and cream in minimal quantities, I am not saying eat this everyday but whenever you do it should taste rich and creamy.  

Serves: 4

Spinach 200 g
Cottage cheese/ Paneer   225 g or less
Onion (small, finely sliced or chopped) – 1(optional)
Garlic, finely chopped- 5 cloves
Green chilly, finely chopped- 1 (optional)
Cumin seeds- ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Chilly Powder- ½ tsp
Amchur/dry mango powder- ½ tsp
Garam Masala-  ½ tsp
Butter – 1 tbsp.
Cream- 1-2 tsp for garnish.
Oil- 2 tbsp.  And more for shallow frying.
Salt to taste

Cut the Paneer in equal size cubes, sprinkle a pinch of salt and chilly powder and mix, shallow fry (or deep fry if you like) and soak it in water few minutes, drain and leave aside.
Paneer Prep
Cut and season paneer, fry and soak.

Add spinach to a pan of boiling water, boil for 15 minutes or just till it goes mushy. Drain and transfer to ice cold water, drain again.
In a sauce pan, add about 2 tbsp. of oil sauté garlic, green chilly and spinach to infuse the garlic flavor into the spinach.
Palak/ Spinach
Palak, boiled, drained and sautéed with garlic

In a blender, puree the spinach and garlic mixture to a fine paste.
Pureed Spinach
Pureed Spinach

In a pan, add a tsp of oil, add cumin seeds allow spluttering and sauté onions( and cook till mushy consistency) add a pinch of turmeric powder, chilly powder, dry mango powder and salt to taste.
 Add paneer, pureed spinach, sauté and add water for desired consistency (about a cup),cook for a few minutes stir in butter.
cook onions, paneer and pureed Spinach
Cook onions, paneer and pureed Spinach

Garnish with  cream and serve with  Rice or Phulka!
Palak Paneer
Palak Paneer


Shallow frying the paneer, makes the paneer tough and so soaking it in water softens it.

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