Palak Paneer

Best loved and popular Punjabi Palak Paneer !

Originated in Punjab, this simple green textured dish outshines all the expensive and spicy spread on the table. Palak (means ‘Spinach’) paneer (Cottage cheese or Indian cheese) does it a lot ! Oh, yes, it grabs our attention pretty fast as we give special place for greens when it comes to food. As it says, necessity is the mother of invention, it occurred to me that definitely the excess amount in growth may have nudged them to try the paste form of this green grace. Luck would’ve it, the idea clicked and became one of the star dish…I’m a super fan of this ever since I tasted it:)

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Travelled from Punjab to various corners of the world , palak paneer has become everybody’s favorite -one of the best loved dishes and popular among all. Spinach packed with vitamins while paneer does the job to provide protein and calcium, equally good and healthy – yet delicious – for children and grownups alike. 

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In Atlantic Canada, I’ve couple of my non-Indian pals asked me about the blending of paneer and spinach. They wanted to learn the recipe and if possible they wanted a serious cooking lesson in my Indian kitchen. Since I had to show the preparation, I chose the best and easiest way to prepare this dish, slightly different than my normal approach. Well, things went well!  I was so darn surprised to see the outcome. So glad to know our Indian dish is so popular and well loved outside India as well.

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That being said, when it comes to food, I adore Indian cuisine, cherish everything about it. I respect the invention of special dishes like palak paneer or saag paneer and such. It’s such a delightful dish. The delicate cubes of paneer in velvety green sauce outshines all the non-vegetarian dishes. Pureed spinach provides a soothing as well as healing touch to the tummy if you’re more of a meat eater and adore spicy foods. This recipe is indeed a keeper.

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First and foremost, keep ready – 1 cup of cubed paneer – gently shallow fry for few seconds and keep it aside. This approach would give a nice texture and enhance the flavor of the dish.

Then the spinach. If you get rinsed and ready to eat spinach, even better since it reduces the rinsing and cleaning part. Just grab 3-4 handful of spinach and keep it aside.

Second step:
Oil 1 tbsp
Garam masala 1 tsp
Green chilies 2
2 tomatoes
3 – 4 handful of spinach, rinsed well

Heat oil in a pan and add garam masala and green chilies. After a few seconds once it’s aromatic, add green chilies. Saute it for few seconds. Add tomatoes, and then add the spinach. Cover it and cook it for few minutes until everything well blended and sort of like soupy texture. Turn the heat off. Allow it to cool down. Then puree the mixture.

Third step:
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp minced ginger/garlic
1 tsp kasuri methi, crushed finely
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
1 tbsp cream

Heat oil in a pan; add the spices including ginger/garlic. Saute it for few seconds in low heat. Add the spinach mixture. Stir well. Once it started bubbling, add the paneer cubes and adjust the salt. Just sprinkle some garam masala over and garnish with cream.

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