Monday, October 27, 2014

Homemade Palak Paneer

I was that kid who ate her veggies. Well, not always without protests. But my mother somehow managed to convince me to eat my greens without camouflaging it. This dish was one of the few "exotic ways" she agreed to prepare. She learnt this from one of her non-bengali friend and back in those days always used to add homemade paneer instead of the store bought that I use.

This palak paneer is very different than that you get in various Indian restaurants across the globe. Instead of the creamy gravy that we see in the palak panner dish around, here the gravy is coarse and you can bite into the greens. Of course, you can use your blender to blend it and make it smooth. I, however, never do that. I am, in a way, like my Mom. I try my best to have a taste of varied dishes/cuisines but do not go too far that often to make it perfect. Rather,  I like to steer away from being close to "perfection". 


Paneer - 200 gm
Palak/Spinach - 250 gms
Methi/Fenugreek leaves - 100 gms
Onions - 2 medium, chopped lengthwise
Tomatoes - 1 medium, chopped
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste -1/2 teaspoon
Red dry chilies - 1 or more as per taste
Green chilies- 1 or more 
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - 1 tablespoon (I used mustard oil)

Cardamom - 4-6 pieces
Clove - 3-4 pieces
Cinnamon - 1'' stick
Fennel - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Clean your greens well under water. My greens were a bit wilted, they have been in the refrigerator for few days.

These are your spices. You can used them in 2 ways. You can dry roast all the spices except fennel seeds for few minutes, till a nice aroma comes, cool it and grind it into powder. Or, like me, you can use them as whole that saves you a wee bit of more time. Either way, life is good.

Cut your paneer in cubes or whatever shape you like.

I like them a bit brown, so I bake them I bake them in oven at 180C for 10-12 minutes. These babies are a bit more brown than I like, I do not know what I was thinking when I set the timer for 15 minutes.

Temper your oil with red dry chilie and  the spices. Add the whole or powdered spices and saute for few minutes. Add the chopped onions, saute it till slight brown. 

Add the tomatoes along with a teaspoon of sugar. This helps to caramelize. 

Add your greens to it and saute for few minutes and leave it covered for couple of minutes more. You could have pre steamed the greens before adding, but really not required.

After the greens have softened and mixed well with the spices, you can cool them and puree the entire onion, tomatoes and greens with few tablespoon of water. Or, you can leave them as it is.

When the greens have mixed well, add the browned paneer cubes, cumin powder, turmeric and salt to it . Cover the lids and cook for few more minutes.

Enjoy your palak paneer with steaming white rice or rotis. 

For BWW, I converted one of the above images to sepia. BWW is a gallery of culinary images started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and now looked after by Cinzia of Cindystar. This weeks special edition is being hosted by Lynne of Cafe Lynnylu

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