Monday, 7 July 2014

Palak Paneer

This is probably a dish which every Indian, and these days the firangs too, have tasted at least once in their lifetime, if not regularly. You go to an Indian restaurant and if not anything else, palak paneer will definitely be on the Menu. It is such a versatile dish that anybody and everybody loves it, if prepared the right way and if you like palak. Apart from the ease of cooking this dish, it is also extremely healthy and is a power house of essential nutrients. If you are making this for the first time, you are sure to love it. If you have been making this since ages, you can still go through the recipe and incorporate the changes next time you are making it to enjoy the difference. Serve it with some jeera rice or naan and you will be blessed for such a heavenly meal!

250 gms paneer, cubed
20-25 stalks of spinach, roots cut and thoroughly washed keeping the stems intact
3 + 3 cloves of garlic
1/2 + 1 inch of ginger
2 green chillies
2 medium onions finely chopped
1 medium tomato finely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
A pinch of heeng or asafoetida
2 tsp kasuri methi crushed
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cream
1 tbsp oil or ghee

Heat water in a vessel and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the spinach. Cover and let it remain for 10-15 minutes until wilted. Meanwhile, keep a bowl of water in the freezer and let it chill. Remove the spinach from the hot water and keep in this ice cold water for 3-5 minutes. This will help retain the green color of the spinach. Now squueze out the water partly (do not discard the water) and put the palak in a blender along with 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2" ginger, and green chillies. Make a smooth puree and keep aside.
With the remaining ginger and garlic, make a fresh paste or finely grate it. Now heat oil or ghee in a pan and add the bay leaf and splutter the cumin seeds. Add the chopped onions and fry till translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till raw smell disappears. Next add the tomatoes and fry till they are soft and mushy. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, heeng, and salt. Mix well and fry for a few seconds. Now lower the flame and add the puree. Be careful as the liquid will splutter. Stir well and add some water if gravy is too thick. Bring it to a boil and continue stirring till the gravy thickens and the oil starts appearing on top. Now add the paneer cubes and stir gently. Cover and simmer the gas and let it cook on low flame for 3-5 minutes till the paneer softens and absorbs some gravy. Add the kasuri methi and cream and check for seasoning. Stir and remove from heat. Serve hot with jeera rice, roti or naan.

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