Friday, June 20, 2014

Palak Paneer from India

I had a great animated discussion with a colleague at work about palak paneer versus saag paneer.  I said palak means spinach and he said saag means spinach.  So after some research we discovered we were both right, although I do declare I was the most right.  Saag means green leafy vegetable which means it can be spinach.  However it can also be mustard greens.  Palak is just spinach.  Regardless of whether you call it palak or saag, palak paneer is a classic Indian vegetarian dish which is really easy to make at home.  The paneer can be substituted with tofu or even sliced mushrooms.
1 bunch fresh spinach
2 green chilies finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 cup water
Put all the ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil.  As soon as the spinach is soft take it off the heat.  Puree the spinach mixture in a blender and set it aside while you make the rest of the dish.
1 onion finely chopped
1 tomato peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon cooking oil
1 block paneer cut into cubes
2 tablespoons cream
Put the cooking oil in a large pan or wok and saute the onion until soft.  Add the tomato and all the spices and let it cook for 2 minutes.  Spoon in the spinach mixture from the blender and mix it in well.  Let it simmer for about 5 minutes so the spices and spinach cook through.  Add the paneer cubes and let it simmer for about another 10 minutes so that the paneer is soft but not disintegrating.  Stir in the cream and let it simmer for another minute.  Serve with rotis, naan or rice.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.

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