Friday, May 22, 2015

Quick Palak Paneer( Indian cottage cheese cubes in spinach gravy).



Who here has not heard of the popular Indian dish palak paneer ??Palak means spinach and paneer is Indian cottage cheese.Which Indian here does not like palak paneer?? Well, there may be a few.. most Indians however like palak paneer. It is also a great way to sneak spinach into kid's meals. Speaking of spinach, how many of you buy spinach with the intention of making something, keep it in the refrigerator for days and one fine day you see that the spinach has gone bad and you toss it into the garbage!! Well, my this recipe will help you prevent that from happening  again.




How many of you find the thought of making palak paneer tedious ?? You have to cook the palak, cool it and then purée it. You have to sauté onions, garlic, tomatoes, cool it and purée it.. Yes, I agree.. It can be rather tedious!! Well, this recipe can help fix that too! This recipe was inspired by the clever idea shared by Shikha Kapoor on CAL, a good group I belong to on Facebook. I tried it and found it to be perfect!! It helped me solve several of my palak paneer problems at the same time! I loved it! Ever since, I have been using this recipe to make palak paneer. It is so easy, you can make palak paneer whenever you want in a jiffy!! Serve it with peas and carrot pulao rice and you will have restaurant style meal ready in minutes!




The idea is so: whenever you buy spinach or have excess of it, clean it and cook it with a little water, chopped onion , ginger,garlic, green chillies and tomato. When it cools down, purée it and freeze it. When you feel like eating palak paneer, you just prepare a tempering ( tadka) and add the purée, heat it and then add the pan fried paneer.You are all set! Now wasn't that easy peasy?? Try it and you will never go back to making palak paneer the regular way again!!



Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:


Spinach( palak): 1 medium bunch
Onion: one medium
Tomato: one medium
Green chillies: 2
Ginger : one inch
Garlic: 3-4 cloves, chopped ,
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Onion: one small
Water: 1 cup
Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder: 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder/ haldi: 1/2 tsp
Salt: to taste
Kasuri methi( dry fenugreek leaves): 1 tbsp
Oil: 1 tbsp
Pan-fried paneer cubes:200 gms or 6 oz
Fresh Cream: 1 tbsp ( optional,for garnishing).

Method:


Wash and clean the spinach thoroughly. Chop it roughly. Take it in a pot. Add 1/2 cup water.Chop the onion, ginger, garlic,green chillies, tomato. Add this to the pot containing spinach and cook it until the spinach is tender, around 8-10 mins.

Let it cool down completely. At this point you can choose to store it in the fridge/ freezer in an airtight container or you could blend/ purée it using an immersion blender or in the regular blender and then freeze it.

Whenever you feel like having palak paneer, just take the purée out of the fridge/ freezer.

Make a tadka by heating oil on medium heat in a sauté pan. Add finely chopped onion and sauté for a few seconds until the onions turn slightly golden in color.

Now add haldi powder, red chilli powder, garam masala and sauté for a few seconds. 

Add the spinach purée and let it cook for 2 mins until it warms up. 

Add pan-fried paneer and kasoori methi to this. Let it cook for 5 mins so that the paneer can absorb some of the sauce. 

Garnish with fresh cream before serving.

Serve with plain rice or peas and carrots pulao like I have! For the recipe for the pulao, go here.




Enjoy! I am bringing this to Angie's Fiesta Friday #69! Juju@cooking with aunt Juju and Amanda@ The Chunky Chef are co-hosts this week!! Yay!!


Cooking made easy:


Similar tricks can be used while making Chana masala or Chole too. Just add chopped onion, ginger, garlic and tomato while cooking the chick peas and then just temper in with the spices. These are short-cuts to the traditional method of making these dishes which can be rather time consuming and tedious.


Tip for healthy living:


We all know that we must include greens in our diet. There are hundreds of health benefits of eating atleast 2-3 servings of greens daily. Spinach is one of the easiest greens to eat/cook.Some of the health benefits of green leafy vegetables is that they are rich in folate and help prevent anemia. They also are a great source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers.

Food for thought:


Patience is the art of hoping. Luc de Clapiers