One Stop Eats

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Palak Paneer (Spinach & Cottage Cheese)

Spinach…. mmmhmmmm….. delicious and nutritious. Hene, I give it a 5 star rating and a “must eat regularly vegetable” status. Of course when eaten raw, its goodness is maintained just fine. But, yes, there can be a right and wrong way to cook spinach.

I’ll share some secrets that my Mom told me to always remember about spinach:

  • It’s a very rich source of Iron, probably even the richest source amongst vegetables. Perfect you say! But, there’s a catch. For that iron to be absorbed in the body to even a respectable scale, you must, yes MUST, eat spinach with a good source of Vitamin C. Anything citrus, tomatoes, strawberries, kiwis, ….. take your pick, but be sure to include it. If not, you shall suffer the in-and-out syndrome, i.e. the spinach will go in and out doing you no good.
  • Secondly, it’s a very rich source of Calcium and Vitamin B. What more could one want? But, this one’s easily wasted away too if you don’t cook it right. Did you know that boiling spinach will get rid of majority of its Vitamin B content?  Try steaming or just pan cooking.
  • Thirdly, ok, this isn’t nutrition related. I often get asked how come my cooked spinach dishes look so bright green? “What kind of spinach do you buy?” they ask. Nah! it’s not in the kind of spinach, it’s in how you cook it. If you ever, cover the spinach during the process of cooking, “something” happens. I’m no food scientist! I don’t know what that something is, but whatever it is it dulls the color. Try it out if you don’t trust me! Never put the lid on and your spinach will remain beautiful and bright green.

A’rite, here goes the recipe for Palak Paneer, one of my favorite dishes. I learned this, like most other things, from my very talented mother. This is actually her authentic recipe. Palak paneer is traditionally had with Makke Ki Roti, but it tastes heavenly even with plain roti and rice.

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer

Ingredients to Serve 4

  • 250 grams of spinach leaves, after removing their stems. Usually two bunches
  • 2 small or 1 big vine tomato, diced
  • 1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger, chopped
  • 125 grams of paneer, cubed (home made is the best)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 cloves
  • 5 black pepper pods
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1/2 inch long piece of a cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)
  • Salt to taste

My Secret Ingredient for this recipe is Kasoori Methi, 2 tablespoons of it will work wonders.

Wash the spinach and chop off the thick stems. If the stems are tender, you can keep them.

In a skillet, heat the oil. Have the heat on a Medium setting and add all the whole spices (cumin, cloves, black pepper, cardamoms, cinnamon). Toss them a little until they start to pop.

Add the onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Saute them on medium heat until the onions are slightly pink in color, not brown.

Now add in the turmeric and coriander powder and saute for just a minute or two.

You should be able to smell all the spices by now. Add the tomatoes and cook this until the tomatoes are done. It should take about 5-6 minutes.

Now add the spinach. Toss it and you’ll see it shrink to one-fourth in a couple of minutes. Give it a good stir and turn the heat off.

Transfer this to you blender and mash this. You can add a little water if it’s too thick. But don’t puree it all the way. A little chunky is yum!

Bring this back to your skillet and turn the heat to Medium-Low. Add salt and the cubes of paneer.

Stir this carefully and do a taste test. If you want it more spicy, now is the time to add some garam masala. I don’t usually need anymore.

Give it a stir, do a taste test again and add the lemon juice, ONLY if it isn’t already sour. This step will depend on how raw and sour your tomatoes were.

Add the kasoori methi and stir slowly.

After cooking it for just 4-5 more minutes (remember no lids), it is ready to enjoy.

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8 comments on “Palak Paneer (Spinach & Cottage Cheese)

  1. Meenakshi Matai
    March 20, 2009

    A friend asked, “No Cream?”
    “Yes, no cream”, I say.
    When palak paneer is made at home no cream is added, that’s the authentic way of making it. I think restaurants add it for two reasons: one, to increase the quantity, since spinach shrinks so much. And secondly, coz adding cream makes the dish so rich that you only eat a little. So, you eat less and pay more.

  2. Subadra
    April 2, 2009

    It looks yummy. I’ve tasted it. It is indeed yummy. I’ve also made it. Yummy recipe.
    So now, how about adding a paneer recipe. Let’s have another of your secrets! ;o)

  3. Pingback: Homemade Paneer « One Stop Eats

  4. Pingback: Spinach Soup « One Stop Eats

  5. Annie George
    January 5, 2013

    It came out really well Meenakshi!! Thanks for the recipe 😉

    • Meenakshi Matai
      January 6, 2013

      Thanks Annie. Glad you tried it and liked it.

  6. swetha
    February 6, 2013

    meenakshi i really like the health quotient you added to the dish….its very tasty and i am glad i saw your recipe…..

    • Meenakshi Matai
      February 6, 2013

      Thanks Swetha. Glad you liked it.

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This entry was posted on March 20, 2009 by in Cooking tips, Cuisine, Indian, Main Course, Recipes, Vegetarian and tagged , , .

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