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Monday, September 20, 2010

Palak Paneer

I met a couple of friends last night who mentioned that they really enjoy reading the recipes and try them out occasionally. I must say that it definitely motivated me to update the blog more frequently. So keep posting and emailing your feedback and comments. Also, requests for recipes are most welcome. Today's recipe is one that you can find at most Indian buffets in the US. The problem is that most of the times it is one of the worst vegetarian dishes on the menu. I am talking of none other than the famous palak paneer. I think it is one of the most well known Indian dishes here and have even seen it in the frozen section of grocery stores. But none of the versions I have eaten here in the past several years have come close to being tasty or appetizing.
This is my mom's version of palak paneer. I had prepared it a couple of times when friends came over for dinner and I was asked for the recipe on all occasions. Well, I finally got a chance to take the requisite pictures for the blog and here it is. Palak paneer does not need to be bland and flavorless anymore!!

1 bunch spinach/palak - chopped coarsely
3-4 cloves of garlic - finely chopped or grated
1/2 inch ginger - finely grated or ground into a paste
1 tomato - diced
1 red onion  - diced
1/8 tsp - cinnamon
2 tsp garam masala
4-5 mint leaves
green chillies to taste, diced
salt to taste
paneer - cubed
1 tsp ghee
1 tbsp oil

Heat oil and to it add the onions, ginger and garlic. Fry till the onion transluscent, then add the chillies and tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes till the tomato is cooked and then add the spinach to it. Cook for a few minutes till the spinach is wilted. Add the spices - garam masala, cinnamon and if you want add the mint at this stage. Add the salt, stir and cook for a couple of minutes and then take it off the heat. Puree it in a mixer/blender. Add a 1-2 tbsp water if needed to grind it.
In a pan, heat the ghee, sprinkle a pinch of salt and add the cubed paneer to it. Roast it on a least two sides of the cube. Add this to the pureed spinach mixture and heat for a few minutes. Serve hot with chapati, naan or jeera rice.

The little amount of mint and cinnamon enhance the palak taste. If you want to make it more decadent, you can add a tbsp of cream to finish it off after you heat the puree with the paneer.


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