Our journey continues with Palak Paneer.
Paneer is an Indian curd cheese. Paneer was accidental invention by Mongols riding their horses carrying milk in Mushki (Bags made of raw-hyde). The heat of desserts and the rennet in the leather turned the milk into Paneer. Making paneer these days takes a little less riding and can be done in your kitchen, not just in the dessert.
I have been threatening to make paneer for years, after I was given a recipe by one of my fellow food bloggers on Food24 blogs. It hasnt happened yet. This paneer I bought from Kebab Mahal in sea point. If you are going to be lazy like me and buy it call around, most places need a day or 2 advance warning. If you cant get your hands on the stuff, buy some haloumi and leave it in fresh water to extract the saltiness
Spinach really is a very delicious green if done well. Remember to always wash it well (fill a bowl, in which you will be able to see sand clearly, with water and dump the leave sin. Rinse them in the bowl then put them in a colander and repeat until there is no sand at the bottom of the bowl)
What you need:
250 grams paneer (ask your local indian restaurant if they will see you some) or Haloumi
2 bunches of spinach
3 medium sized onions (finely chopped)
2 medium size tomatoes (finely chopped) OR tomato puree as per convenience
2 green chillies (slit into half)
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ ginger paste
½ garlic paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp chana masala
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Cream or yogurt for garnish
What to do:
Cook the spinach for about 5 minutes in boiling water and grind it to fine paste after it is cold.
Cut the paneer into small cubes and fry till light golden brown (the original recipe said deep fry but I didnt)
Heat the oil in non-stick pan and add the cumin seeds. Wait till it crackles and ensure that it does not burn. Add the chopped onions and green chillies and sauté till the onions are golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and sauté for another minute. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder and the chana masala powder and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes/tomato puree and stir till the oil separates.
Add the spinach paste to this mixture along with 1 cup water.(Tip: You can use the water used for cooking the spinach)
Add the paneer, garam masala, sugar and salt and cook till you start to see the gravy bubbling. If the gravy seems a bit dry, you can add some more water.
Garnish with some cream or yogurt in the end
The Shopping List
Journey to India part I