When I met my husband, he didn't eat any vegetables. He would turn his nose up at the most delicious salads and wouldn't even hold an eggplant - let alone eat it. That said, even in those dark, dark days, he would eat this - completely vegetarian- dish, because it's JUST. SO. GOOD.
Palak paneer is a truly delicious, north Indian dish of cubes of Indian cheese (paneer) which are lightly pan fried and then submerged into a creamy, spinach (palak) gravy.
Paneer is a firm, fresh cheese with a texture that is a cross between feta cheese and tofu and a very mild flavour. If eaten raw, it can be incredibly bland. However, when fried and paired with a savoury sauce, it is sublime and satisfying.
Unlike the palak paneer you'll find it most restaurants, my version is not swimming in oil, stays a vibrant green and (dare I say) tastes even better than the one from your local takeout. You can find all the ingredients in most supermarkets and most definitely any Indian grocery store near you.
Serve this with some fluffy basmati rice and naan bread. Recipe for the latter coming, soon.
large bowl of ice water
1 package paneer cheese - cubed
900g fresh spinach
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion - minced
1 tsp garlic puree
1 tsp ginger puree
1 tomato - chopped
1 green chilli chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp butter
salt to taste
1. in a large pot of boiling water, blanch spinach for 30 seconds or until wilted. remove and immediately place in ice water.
2. once spinach has cooled (2-3 minutes) drain well, squeeze out excess water and place in blender or food processor. puree until smooth and set aside.
3. in a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp oil and, when heated, fry paneer cubes until golden brown. remove to a dish and set aside.
4. in a heavy bottomed pot, heat 1 tbsp oil and add cumin seeds.
5. when cumin seeds start to crackle, add onion and sautee until golden.
6. add tomato, green chillies, garlic, ginger, turmeric powder, garam masala, cumin powder, black pepper and a pinch of salt. cook down until tomatoes have broken down and are soft - 2-3 minutes.
7. when tomatoes are soft, add spinach puree and 3 tbsp water. mix well.
8. add in paneer cubes and stir to coat. cook 3-4 minutes or until the spinach is heated through. add butter and heavy cream and stir to combine.
9. taste for seasoning and adjust salt to your taste.