Palak Paneer (Spinach and Cheese)

High in iron and protein, this is a great dish for those that don’t eat a lot of meat, but still packs a fair bit of flavour.  You’ll see there aren’t too many spices in my recipe – I like to let the spinach and paneer flavours come through.  I blend my spinach to give a smoother texture, but you can equally leave it without blending for a more rustic texture.  Fun fact, if you see ‘Palak’ on a menu, it’ll be pure spinach – if you see ‘Saag’ then it’ll be mainly spinach, but also some other leafy greens, like watercress.  Having a green with some tang to it is a great addition to this dish to turn it into a ‘Saag Paneer’.

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Ingredients:

250gms of Paneer, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium tomato, chopped
Half an onion, chopped
500gms spinach (I’m using frozen spinach because it’s out of season at the moment, but fresh also works)
1cm knob of ginger, grated
1 dried chilli (or more, to taste)
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsps ground coriander
2 tsps ground cumin
A splash of cream (optional)
Ghee/oil for cooking
1 cup of water

Method:

Start by cutting your paneer into cubes (if it’s not already cut).  Shop bought paneer is fine, but making your own gives a much richer flavour, in my mind.  Warm your knife under hot water to make the paneer easier to cut.

IMG_7459Fry your paneer on all sides in a little oil/ghee.  It’ll brown very quickly, so keep an eye on it.  A lot of recipes don’t fry the paneer first, but it gives a beautiful crispy texture to the paneer and a richer flavour.  Once browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

IMG_7463Add in your spices and onion into a frying pan with a little more ghee/oil and fry gently till the onion has gone translucent.  I haven’t chopped my onion too finely, because I’m going to blend it all later.

IMG_7466Time to add in your spinach and chopped tomato.  Throw in a cup of water and mix together.  If you’re using frozen spinach, like me, then break up the spinach to ensure the spice mix covers all the spinach.

IMG_7467Cover and allow to steam over a gentle heat for 10 minutes.

IMG_7469I like to blend my spinach – you don’t have to and keep it more rustic or even just blend half of your mixture and leave half unblended.  Do what suits you.  If you don’t want it too chilli, then remove your chilli before blending – I keep mine in and it gives a nice background heat.

IMG_7470Return your blended mix to the pan and add in a splash of cream to give it a silkier texture and taste.

IMG_7476Bring your spinach mix up to a simmer and gently add back your panner and warm through. Serve immediately with chapati or rice.  Enjoy!

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