Paalak Paneer Recipe (Cottage Cheese in Spinach Gravy)

There was a time, I didn’t overthink about words too much. I love wearing a variety of colours. Yes, all things garish are beaituful to me! I never paid attention to the quotes or notes on my tees. It was all about the colour and design, you see. So I was wearing this gorgeous loose grey ganji (tank top). It had something written in foil print (shiny chrome-reflecting silver). These were the words inscribed: ‘I just want to sleep, drink wine and save animals.’When my friend seen this, she laughed so much because she knows I’m a savage carnivore and said, “tu toh kha jaayegi saarein jaanwaron ko!” That’s Hindi for, ‘you’ll just end up eating all the animals!’ I couldn’t stop laughing when she said that. Well, I still have that tank top but ….๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ™ƒ. So, you’ve guessed I include meat in almost every meal. But, among the vegetarian options, I just love paneer. It’s just as good as meat to me. If you haven’t tried paneer ever ….well, good soft paneer tastes and feels somewhat like savoury marshmallows. Paalak paneer is a North Indian delicacy that almost everyone loves. It’s a great way to eat spinach. It pairs well with any kind of roti/Indian flatbread. This is what I made today and here is my recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 200 gms paneer, cubed
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 2.5 green chillies (for medium spicy)
  • 7-8 cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp jeera/cumin seed powder
  • 2″ piece cinnamon/cassia stick
  • 2 tbsp beaten curd
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Method:

  • Spinach is sold as a bunch here. 1 bunch should weigh approximately 600gms. But that includes the stalks and stems. So cut about 1/3rd – 1/2 of the stems from the bottom. They’re usually filed with mud anyway. Now, you’ll be left with the leaves as well as some stems. Many people discard the stems but I always use them. They’re neither harmful nor poisonous. They’re just as healthy and nutritious as the leaves. Clean and wash the spinach very well in several changes of water.
  • Add it to a pot of salted boiling hot water. (1tsp salt) for just 1-2 minutes. Remember, we are just blanching it, not boiling the spinach.
  • Now, immediately drain and transfer the spinach to a bowl of cold water. If you wish to use ice, that’s a god idea too. We don’t want to overcook the spinach because then it will turn into an olive green shade and not retain it’s beautiful leafy green colour. It’s just purely aesthetics.
  • In a hot kadhai/pan, add some oil. Then throw in the green chilies and saute for a while.
  • Once the chillies are cooked, add the cashewnuts. Remember cashews burn very easily so be careful.
Grind the blanched spinach and the chillies along with the cashews to a smooth paste and keep aside.
In the same pan, add some oil, the cinnamon sticks or some cassia sticks followed by chopped onions. Saute till done.
Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell disappears stirring continuously.
Add the spice powders – jeera and garam masala and stir a few seconds. If you’ll notice, there are very few spices used in this dish. It’s all about letting the greens shine.
Add the spinach paste and salt, sugar and cook for a few minutes. Once cooked, add the beaten yoghurt/curd followed by the paneer. Adjust your seasonings as per taste. A lot of people fry the paneer cubes beforehand. I don’t feel the need to do that especially because I like really soft paneer. I don’t need crispy edges. I am fine with the edges crumbling away a bit into the gravy. Just make sure you stir/reheat this dish very gently.
Don’t cook dairy for too long or it will split/become hard and chewy. Always cook paneer on a low/medium flame, never on high heat.
Ta-da! I served it with chapatis, potato-capsicum sabji and a minty green peanut salad.
Take the arrow left and right to reveal the image below.

I hope you enjoy cooking and eating/serving this dish.

-RUELHA 
www.ruelha.com 
ยฉ Copyright Protected. All Rights Reserved.

23 Comments

                    1. Woooaaah….you do remember the place very well….๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜โ˜บ
                      My my Collin….sometimes I just forget you’re not Indian….๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ต

                      Liked by 1 person

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