Thursday, February 5, 2015

Palak paneer

Paalak paneer , is one of the most popular North Indian vegetarian dishes. Palak means spinach and paneer is Indian cheese. Sometimes I prepare this cheese in my leisure time and keep it in freezer. But buying the paneer in any Indian grocery shop is my first choice, as there are many options like low fat paneer, traditional paneer etc. Palak or spinach as we say in USA is almost similar to the pasali keerai of Tamilnadu, which has thin leaves and purple stem and grown as ornamental plant in a kitchen garden. While Malabar spinach (the thicker leaved palak with thick stems and entirely green in color) is different and it gives a texture like okra. I am not sure, if anyone can use malabar spinach for this curry.

My knowledge on North Indian foods is through restaurants, internet and my neighbors only. My neighbor aunty from Gujarat, prepares all the vegetarian foods of North India, just like restaurant made. I like the way she includes butter and ghee in the foods and I totally agree with her that her foods have good nutrition, just like mine :) We try to share our best foods frequently and will exchange recipes. I think I am very lucky, to get her as my friend, as I am growing my cooking skills with her guidance. She elaborates me the traditional way to arrive at a recipe and also the best short cuts using masala powders.

Making palak keerai in a traditional North Indian pattern is a popular recipe. But if you want to make a palak paneer which tastes like restaurant-made in a jiffy, then here is one of our versions of palak paneer and hope you all love it!
Palak paneer

Cooking the spinach with all the masala

Step 1

Spinach - 1 large bunch (doesn't matter if it is excess or lesser)
paneer - 15 pieces (Cubed)
butter - 4 tbsp
salt - to taste
red onion - 1 (big)
sugar - 1 tsp
tomato puree - 1 cup
ginger - 1 inch
garlic - 5 pieces
green chillies - 3
cilantro - handful
fresh methi leaves - few (optional)
cinnamom - 1 inch
cloves - 3
fennel - 1 tsp
cumin - 1 tsp
kasoori methi - 1 tbsp
whole milk - 1 cup

Cut the paneer into small cubes of 1 inch size. Heat 1 tbsp ghee / butter in a frying pan. Fry the paneer cubes and take out. keep this aside.

Coarsely chop onion.
In the frying pan, add some more butter (2 tbsp).Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, fennel , cumin and add the chopped onion, sugar. Fry till onion turns golden. Then add chopped ginger, garlic, whole green chillies, few fresh methi leaves (if available), cilantro and fry till they wilt.
Then add a cup of tomato puree (or chopped fresh tomato) and cook well.
Clean the spinach leaves and remove the thick stems. 
Put the spinach and cook for 1 minutes. Switch off.
Add required salt and let cool.
Then grind to a medium fine puree with whole milk.
Return this to the frying pan and cook till raw smell goes (5 minutes). If needed add little more water.
Then add the fried paneer pieces and mix well.
Crush some kasoori methi (dried fenugreek / methi leaves) and switch off !
If needed add some more molten butter while serving.

Palak paneer is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with chapati, naan, pulka.


Suja Manoj said...

Healthy and creamy curry,looks yum

Jaleela Kamal said...

எனக்கு ரொம்ப பிடிச்ச கலர் புல் ரெசிபி மிக அருமை, நானும் செய்து வைத்து போஸ்ட் பண்ணாமலே இருக்கு
விக்கி நல்ல இருக்கீங்களா?
பேசி ரொம்ப நாள் ஆச்சு..

sudha rawal said...

Delicious mouthwatering palak paneer.lovely pictures.

Sanoli Ghosh said...

Scrumptious palak paneer.