When I first moved to the US as a student and was learning to cook, I began with experiments on Bawarchi.com. However, I soon got tired of the hit and miss results from that.
Hence, one sunny afternoon, boredom with class morphed into a frantic search for all possible Indian cookbooks in the school library. One of the recipes I found was for a classic and very common dish in my family…Palak Paneer. I had always loved this the way my Mom made it and although my version does not taste exactly like hers, I have received many compliments for it (one even from my notably hard to please mother! :-) ) and hence am assuming it is mighty good too!
Here it is.
- 1 big bunch spinach, washed thoroughly (or 2 bags of triple washed baby spinach, which you don’t have to get the grit out of! :-)) To wash spinach, I soak it in a big bowl of cold water and take out just the spinach that floats to the top as all the grit sinks to the bottom of the bowl.
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 small pack of paneer (or 16 oz of homemade paneer), cubed
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 dried red chillis
- 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
- Add the paneer and fry them on all sides until they are golden. Drain on paper towels.
- Meanwhile, add the cleaned spinach to a saucepan with about 3 cups of water.
- Drain the spinach after the water comes to a boil. Save some of the water.
- Blend the spinach, turmeric, chilli powder, salt with about 2 tbsp of the drained spinach water.
- If there is oil remaining in the pan in which the paneer was fried, you can use that. Else, add about 1/2 tsp oil. Heat the oil.
- Add the cumin seeds and the dried red chillis (stemmed and broken into pieces) to the hot oil, until they sizzle.
- Add the spinach mixture from the blender to this pan. If you can’t get it all out of the blender in the first try, add upto 1/4 cup of milk to get it out.
- Stir to mix. When the mixture starts to boil, add the yoghurt and stir it in.
- Finally, add the paneer, stir and let it simmer for about 3 minutes.
- Serve with rotis or rice.