‘Palak-paneer’ is most likely the prettiest of all the Indian dishes, as well as one of the most delicious ones. This main-course dish is a gift from north-India to the world and consists of soft cottage-cheese cubes in a mild, flavorsome spinach gravy. ‘Palak’ literally means spinach and ‘paneer’ literally means cottage-cheese.
There are many ways of making palak-paneer but the following improvised recipe gives me a dish closest to the ones we get at Indian weddings and good restaurants. Cold winter night and a hot bowl of palak-paneer, with ghee-smeared chapattis/naan and lemony onions…….Heavenly.
So, give this recipe a go and enjoy!
1 kg spinach, washed and cleaned.
100 grams cottage cheese, cut in cubes.
1 big tomato.
1 green chili chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoon oil
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 pinch of crushed kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
1/4 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
1-2 tbsp whipped cream
-Blanch the spinach in a little water and salt for around 5-7 minutes. Keep to cool and preserve the water.
-In a blender, put the tomato, green chilly, garlic and the cooled blanched spinach and blend to a smooth paste.
-In a pan, heat the oil. Next, pour your spinach mixture carefully in it as it will splatter because of the water in the gravy coming in contact with the oil. Also add your preserved water.
-Once the gravy comes to a boil, lower the flame. Cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
-Add your dry spices next along with salt and cook for more 7-8 minutes on a low flame.
-When the gravy seems cooked and fragrant, throw in your raw cottage-cheese cubes and fold carefully with the gravy. Some people fry the cottage cheese beforehand but I like the taste of raw paneer in palak-paneer. You can opt for either way.
-Simmer for 2 more minutes after adding the cheese cubes and then, switch off your gas.
-Add two table-spoons of whipped cream to your palak-paneer and mix the whole thing gently. Cream enhances the flavor dramatically and also makes the gravy silkier and smoother. Check and adjust salt.
-Serve hot with naan or chapattis. Enjoy!