I hate blanching. I like to utilise the ingredient or food item optimally.
Thus, microwaved the spinach/Palak, Pureed onion, garlic & ginger
I avoid using readymade masalas as much as possible. I believe that lesser I use the masalas out of a packet, the more authentic the taste. I will clarify: here the smoothness of cream blended with the spinach / palak cascades on the tongue right from the first morsel, roasted spices are all the way fragrant, right from the first to the last morsel..ooohhhh so earthy and such clarity in tastes… and abundance all the way.
I try and make fresh masalas by roasting spices on the spot – fresh for the recipe which is being cooked
Puree and use ALL of the spinach/palak- no sieving for removing fibres. Believe me, it still gives “just like the restaurant” feel and taste
I DO use cream
I believe eating happens in three steps. The first is with the eyes – if it looks good it will taste good. Second with the aroma. Three with mouth and Five, most important-with MIND.
It is important to satiate the Body hunger and Mind hunger – Both
Eating should be a pleasure and so should the act of preparing it
I see it this way: if I am successful in avoiding at least one restaurant meal then small luxuries added into a home cooked meal goes a long way
Example: using cream, ghee, a dollop of butter, freshly roasted and ground spices… besides all of it is seriously fresh
Well…now the recipe… PALAK PANEER- from my kitchen
- 4 bundles Fresh spinach - washed, strained and drained
- ½ bundle Methi / fenugreek leaves washed well
- 1 cup water
- 2 nos. medium Onions
- 8/10 buds Garlic cloves peeled
- 1or 2 Green Chillies
- Fresh Ginger/ Adrak / aadu as thick and big as first 2 fingers put together
- 1/2 bundle Cilantro / Coriander / Kothmir/Hara Dhania - washed and finely chopped -washed well
- 1 tsp. Tomato paste / puree
- Powdered Roasted Masala
- Pureed Spinach
- Paneer/ Cottage Cheese preferred homemade OR 1 Large & 1 Small packet
- 1 Tbsp Oil + Ghee + 1/2 Tbsp. Half
- 3 Tbsp. Cream or by preference fresh or packaged
- 1 tsp. Mustard seeds / Rai I like the black grain's contrast against the spinachy green but optional
- 2 tsp Cumin seeds / Jeera
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder it does change the green color a tad bit optional
- 2 tsp. Cumin seeds / Jeera
- 1/2 tsp Methi / fenugreek leaves If no fresh Methi/fenugreek seeds (half)&/or kasuri methi 2tsps.
- 4 nos. Cloves/laung/laving
- 8 nos. Green cardamom/elaichi
- 6 nos. Black Peppercorns/ mari
- 1 stick Cinnamon/ taj/ dalchini - size of a little finger
In a microwave-safe large bowl add a cup of water. Dump all the greens: Spinach/Palak & Methi/fenugreek leaves. I prepared this in peak summer so no methi leaves had to make do with seeds... was out of kasuri methi too. Microwave on a high for 7 minutes. (my microwave takes 7minutes.)
Remove bowl from microwave and let the steam shoo itself away- let it sit for a while. Puree. Set aside.
For the Kadai/Wok :
Dry roast All the ingredients till they get a little light brown and throw a fragrance in the entire kitchen
Leave them alone. Once a tad cool, make a fine powder of them. Fresh Masala to add to Palak Paneer -ready.
Puree: Onion+ Garlic+ Ginger/aadu/adrak+ Cilantro/Kothmeer + green chilli.
On a high flame place the NON_STICK Kadai/ Wok Pour Oil + ghee Once heated lower the flame to medium Add Rai/Mustard+ Jeera/cumin. Allow to nicely crackle
Add the Puree : Onion+ Garlic+ Ginger/aadu/adrak+ Cilantro/Kothmeer + green chilli.
Lower the gas flame to lowest.
Allow the Puree to brown
Add tomato paste
Add the roasted masala
Stie well till the oil is released from sides
Add the Cubed Paneer/cottage cheese
Here add salt for the Paneer/cottage cheese.
Add 1 tbsp. of cream- this will keep the paneer soft and give it a pleasant fragrance
Let the Paneer/cottage cheese brown a little
Add Spinach puree.
Add another 1tbsp. of cream
TASTE & adjust salt.
Cover th Wok til the excess water evaporates.
Transfer to the serving bowl
Make a nice Cream Swirl
READY TO EAT.