Palak Paneer

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

Palak Paneer
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian-Vegetarian
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • 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
For the Microwaving
  • Paneer/ Cottage Cheese preferred homemade OR 1 Large & 1 Small packet
  • salt
  • 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
For Roasted Masala
  • 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
Instructions
  1. FOR microwaving.

  2. 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.)
  3. Remove bowl from microwave and let the steam shoo itself away- let it sit for a while. Puree. Set aside.
  4. For the Kadai/Wok :

  5. Dry roast All the ingredients till they get a little light brown and throw a fragrance in the entire kitchen
  6. Leave them alone. Once a tad cool, make a fine powder of them. Fresh Masala to add to Palak Paneer -ready.
  7. METHOD:
  8. Puree: Onion+ Garlic+ Ginger/aadu/adrak+ Cilantro/Kothmeer + green chilli.
  9. 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
  10. Add the Puree : Onion+ Garlic+ Ginger/aadu/adrak+ Cilantro/Kothmeer + green chilli.
  11. Lower the gas flame to lowest.
  12. Allow the Puree to brown
  13. Add tomato paste
  14. Add the roasted masala
  15. Stie well till the oil is released from sides
  16. Add the Cubed Paneer/cottage cheese
  17. Here add salt for the Paneer/cottage cheese.
  18. Add 1 tbsp. of cream- this will keep the paneer soft and give it a pleasant fragrance
  19. Let the Paneer/cottage cheese brown a little
  20. Add Spinach puree.
  21. Add another 1tbsp. of cream
  22. TASTE & adjust salt.
  23. Cover th Wok til the excess water evaporates.
  24. Transfer to the serving bowl
  25. Make a nice Cream Swirl
  26. READY TO EAT.