Palak Paneer

With cottage cheese/Paneer , there are a wide variety of side dishes one can prepare. Palak (spinach) paneer is one such variety, i always make an effort to cook at home. Not because, it is so healthy but also it is yummy :). Spinach usually is not a favourite among my family members. So i indulge myself in such dishes where spinach flavour is subsidised by adding other spices like garam masala, ginger-garlic, green chillies and ofcourse paneer. Here is the look at the dish i prepared for yesterday's dinner, we had it with chappati .


The Palak paneer recipe i'm gonna share with you all is little bit creamy and thick - made out of cashew paste and also fresh cream. Our family likes it that way. If you are vegan, you can ommit fresh cream and add little more of cashew paste. Other way to cook this palak paneer is to avoid the cashew paste altogether and just add cream towards the end.


It is advisable to use home made paneer, as it stays fresh and spongy unlike the store bought ones. Those store bought paneer cubes are harder as we store it in a freezer and not so fresh as well. We prefer to make paneer cubes just an hour before preparing any paneer recipes. Sometimes, i end up making a lot of paneer, in which case i store the extra paneer cubes in an air tight container and keep it in fridge (not freezer), as i finish it off in the next 2/3 days max. If you are not sure to use it in next few days, you can always freeze it up and use up to one month. But i would definitely suggest you to use it immediately to enjoy the awesomeness of paneer/cottage cheese.



Ingredients:
1 cup tightly packed spinach
5 cashews, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
1 green chilli
1 cup paneer cubes
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
a pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp crushed kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, finely chopped or pureed (no need to blanch the tomatoes)
1 tsp fresh ginger garlic paste or (1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger and 1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic cloves)

Raw spices:
3 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 green cardamom
1 tsp cumin seeds



How to make palak paneer:

1. In a pan, wilt the spinach leaves along with green chilli for 3-4 minutes.



 Keep it aside to cool.



2. Once cooled down, add it to a blender along with soaked cashew nuts and grind it to a smooth paste using 2 tsp of drained water from soaked cashews or plain water.







3. This step is optional. In a pan or tawa add a tsp of butter or ghee or cooking oil and fry the paneer cubes for 3 minutes on medium flame on each side.





4. Heat a heavy bottomed pan or kadai, add a tbsp of butter or cooking oil.



 Add in the spices cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds and cinnamon stick.



5. Add finely chopped onions and saute for 4-5 minutes on medium flame. You can add a little bit of salt to quicken the process.



6. Add ginger garlic paste and cook till raw smell goes off.







7. Add pureed tomato and stir well. Cook until oil releases from the sides of the pan.



Tip: You can add finely chopped tomatoes instead of tomato puree and cook till it becomes mushy and oily.

8. Add spice powders, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, sugar, salt and cumin powder. Saute for a minute.



Tip: You can add kashmiri red chilli powder and cut down the green chilli.



9. Add a 1/2 cup of water and bring it to boil.





10. Now add the ground chilli, spinach and cashew paste. Boil it for 2-3 minutes. If needed added a few tbsps of water to it.





11. Add kasoori methi and stir well.



12. Add paneer cubes and let it simmer for 2 minutes.



You can add the paneer cubes as such without sauteing on the tawa.





13. Top it with fresh cream, switch off the flame.



14. Relish the yummy palak paneer with roti or jeera rice or pulkas. Serve the palak paneer when it is warm, as it tends to form a thcik coat on top of it once chilled.



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