Palak Paneer is one of the most humble recipe for the Punjabi cuisine. IT is made with less spice and less of cream and except for Paneer/Cottage cheese which is a good fat, there is minimum fat in this dish unlike its counterparts like dal makhani, paneer mutter or such cream based gravies. The preparation for palak paneer is simple and yet it stands up to the measure to be included in grand feasts Wehn I was growing up, palak paneer was not made regularly in my home. My mom cooked a Typical Maharashtrian swaypak(cooking) and such things were for eating out.We ate out after our exams were done and vacations started. Kind of relaxation time for all. There was always that soft and yummy Nan to dunk into the subji. Subji choices were also fixed, Navratna korma that had grapes and pineapple, aloo matter and palak paneer. that and Nan basket which had only One garlic nan. End it with chickoo milkshake. The menu card got over in 2 minutes with only 2 pages on it. Wonder if such restaurants will survive in today's age. I by no means belong to ice age, but generally we had few choices and more life to be less confused than we are today. People had more tolerance then and family time was not the time to count finances. Today the thought of visiting anyone's home for more than few days ripples our brains, we think of cost and expense they will incur to entertain us, feed us.. and like. We spent our childhood vacations at uncle, aunts, grandma's home for months and no one asked how much it cost them. It was all in one family, they kept saying.
Like me my munchkins also love Palak Paneer. Retaining the green color after cooking spinach is the key to success in this dish. The spinach leaves turn dark very soon so cooking them for couple of minutes more than required will kill the green color. The taste will not be changed significantly. Ideally i amke the palak/spinahc paste the day I get them from the grocers. This is easy on my hetcic week as the paste can be used in Parathas, cutlets and even on hot pasta like pesto. The first post this week was Palak Paratha's, so making this week an official spinach week. Popeye will kiss me only if he liked Indian food.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes if you have the palak paste ready.
To make Palak Paste;
1 Bunch spinach leaves or one bag cleaned spinach4 cups water to blanch the spinach
Salt to tasteBoil water on high heat with salt. Once it comes to a boil, Add the washed, cleaned spinach leaves (. Do not bother to chop the leaves as we will grind them in a grinder to make a fine paste), let them wilt for 2 minutes and take them out. You can dip them in ice water to stop their cooking process or grind it immediately in the grinder. Doing this helps the spinach retain their vibrant green color. You have the paste ready to use.
To make Palak Paneer;
2 cups palak paste
1/2 packet or 10-12 one inch cubes of paneer-- I get cubes of paneer from Indian store.
** TO freshen Up the store brought Paneer I use the tip from my friend Ansh at Spiceroots
She says use 1/2 warm water and 1/2 cup warm milk and soak the cubes in them for 10-15 minutes. Drain and use as needed.
1 small onion-finely diced
1 small tomato diced fine
2-3 cloves garlic mashed
1/2 inch ginger grated
2tspn oil to make the gravy
1tsp Garam Amasala
Salt to taste if needed.--
**Paste has salt
Spray the cubes of paneer with non stick oil spray and fry them on the hot griddle and save them for later.
In a wok. heat the oil, add the onions, ginger and garlic for a minute, add the tomatoes and fry them till they look cooked and sweat a bit, then add the palak paste and the reserved fried paneer. Then lastly add the garam masala and let the mixture heat up a bit. Check for salt and add if needed.. Delicious Palak paneer is ready to be served with any Indian bread.