Hey friends, how have you been?! I am back with my full program and I have some delicious food treats in the waiting list for the coming days and weeks. Today I am sharing a popular and well known Indian spinach and cottage cheese gravy which is better known as Palak Paneer. Palak is the Hindi word for Spinach and Paneer is the famous Cottage Cheese.
You might remember that I had mentioned in the past my troubles and discoveries with Indian food. The spices, the unfamiliar flavors and curry gravy dishes were nothing what I had seen in my many years in Europe but over time I fell in love with certain dishes and nowadays I am regularly cooking and enjoying Indian food at home, which of course pleases my husband. I hand pick my favorite and most notable Indian dishes and I only share an Indian recipe if it is a must try or how my friend Maureen from the Orgasmic Chef would say – an orgasmic dish!
Another reason, besides the spicy food, why I hadn’t dug into Indian food right away, were the unfamiliar foreign dish names. You see I am not the kind of person who would go through each dish asking the waiter what on earth mutter paneer or cafreal was. Five years ago when I had come first to this country, not many locals knew to speak English. Of course all this has changed enormously, in general Goa has seen a crazy growth and massive changes. You should see the shocked faces of many returning visitors who keep saying “I don’t recognize Goa”!
Anyway, restaurant menu cards were full of dishes with their hindi names, of course written in the roman script, so I was confused. One fine day I was sitting in a beach shak looking at the wonderful beach and sunset when I decided to be bold. Again that proves why I am a food nerd. I ordered a so called Palak Paneer without asking what it was. This was part of the test and I was ready to bring some food excitement into my day.
It was green and had some white chunks swimming in the gravy. I took a spoon full and smelled it first. Looked ok and a second later my tongue was taking in the flavors. Honestly I had no clue what on earth I was eating and I really couldn’t make out what the cook had thrown into it. It wasn’t spicy as such, just a bit tickling and I was having fun with the white chunks.
You won’t believe me but I finished it all with a few rotis. The waiter came and I couldn’t wait anymore and had to ask what on earth I had eaten and what I had enjoyed. You should have seen the waiter he was having a grin on his face when he revealed the dish and noticed my face twist in dismay. Well it was tasty, no doubt! Yet, I was shocked because I had eaten something I had sworn I would never eat again, spinach!
So it came that I had to rethink my attitude towards the green healthy protein rich spinach leafs. My husband has always been a spinach fan and his all time favorite spinach dish is the red spinach stir fry. Nowadays I tend to make this spinach and cottage cheese gravy frequently at home and I am in love with it because the spinach flavors are not over powering the remaining spices and ingredients. It’s a beautiful testament that healthy dishes can be so very addictive and I think my story above all proves it the best.
- 2 Bundle Spinach or 250 grams (weigh before washing!)
- 1 green Chili
- 100 milliliter water
- 1 small Onion
- 2 Tablespoon Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Paste
- 1 flat Teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 1 flat Teaspoon Coriander Powder
- pinch Cinnamon powder
- ½ Tablespoon Garam Masala
- ½ Teaspoon red Chili Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 2 Tablespoon fresh liquid Cream
- few drops green food coloring (optional)
- Salt according to your taste
- Pepper according to your taste
- 200 grams fresh Paneer bite size cubes (Indian Cottage Cheese)
- First wash your Spinach leafs well, blanch them in some boiling water for 30 seconds and then add them to a mixer jar with a green chili (stem removed, keep the seeds) and 100 milliliter water. Blend the whole content well so that no pieces are left, it should be smooth. Keep aside.
- Chop your onion, add 2 tablespoon of oil to a pot and fry your onion translucent for a few minutes stirring frequently. Add the garlic paste and stir for another minute, then throw in the cumin powder, coriander powder, cinnamon powder, garam masala and Chili powder. Stir fry for another minute.
- Add in the tomato paste and stir fry short. Pour in the smooth spinach and stir.
- Continue to add the liquid cream and at this point you can even add a few drops of green food coloring (Restaurant style). Season with salt and pepper and let it cook for 10 minutes on a medium to slow heat. If you feel the whole mixture is getting too thick after 5 minutes cooking, then add little bit water.
- At the end add in the bite size paneer cubes and mix the whole content. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Once the paneer is in, try to not stir too much anymore. Paneer tends to break into little bits and you want the cubes to be in a whole.
- Serve hot with roti or basmati rice.
Are you a bold foodie? Would you order something from a menu card without knowing what it is?
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