Monday, May 4, 2009

Palak Paneer, Part Two: Palak

A bit late, but here is the palak (spinach) part of palak paneer. This was actually more intimidating to me than the paneer, mostly because I haven't done a lot of Indian cooking in my kitchen, aside from using easy spices like garam masala and ghee (though I have made naan by hand. I should do that again and blog about it, right?)

I made this when I got home from work last Monday night, and the food wasn't done until 12:30 (I got home at 10:30pm) Anyway, the pictures are NOT up to par and do not in anyway demonstrate how amazing my new camera is. Those types of pictures will hopefully be posted tomorrow.

When it comes to recipes like palak paneer, I really have a difficult time dedicating myself to only one recipe, as I like the components of many. This way I get to label it as my own for my soon to be published cook book (ha ha... maybe in 20 years). I don't have any Indian cookbooks (though I may add this one to my bookshelves eventually as I've read good things about it) so I hit the Internet and complied what I thought looked the most authentic and appetizing. It's kind of hard to make pureed spinach look appetizing (my old boss always said Palak paneer looked like baby poop) but I'm convinced it can be done.

One big bunch of spinach plus two bags of baby spinach (yeah, just buy twice as much as you think you'll need)
Paneer~10 to 15 cubes (browned in butter or fresh, we chose to brown them)
Canola oil
One medium sized ripe tomato
4 green chilies (we could only find Jalapenos, so those had to suffice) Stem removed
1 half onion~ chopped finely into small pieces
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp of fresh ginger
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup roasted salted cashews
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
1/2-1c. water

Pulverize cashews in a mortar and pestle until only small bits remain. Set aside.


Pulverize garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin in a mortar and pestle until a thick paste forms. Set aside.


Wash the spinach, tearing into pieces and removing tough stems.


Heat a tsp of canola oil in a heavy bottomed large skillet. Add whole chilies and cook on medium until tender. Add spinach and saute until wilted. Meanwhile blanch the tomato in a small pan until the skin splits.



Shock the tomato in an ice bath and remove the skin. Mash remaining tomato into a pulp.


Once the spinach is wilted, remove from heat and blend spinach and chilies together with an immersion blender (you can certainly add this to a blender or food processor if you don't have an immersion blender) and set aside.


Heat ghee in a large skillet and fry the onions until translucent.


Add your garlic paste mixture and saute for another 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the spinach, tomato and cashew with a pinch of salt.


Mix thoroughly and add water, stirring as you go until desired consistency is met. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add paneer cubes simmer for 2 more minutes


Serve immediately with rice, naan or chiapati.



Bill Roehl said...

I was planning on making Palak Paneer tonight so this is quite helpful. The recipe I have says that you can substitute tofu for the paneer portion to make it a bit more healthy and that's what I plan to do (but because I'm too lazy to make the cheese!)

(though I have made naan by hand. I should do that again and blog about it, right?)Yes!

Thanks for a great series. You are the best.

Kate said...


I'm glad the timing worked out so well and I hope it turned out well. You certainly an substitute tofu, but the paneer is MY favorite part of palak paneer so the cheese was required on my part. I will make naan again and blog about it, but tonight I'm making tinga, so I have to blog about THAT first.

ilex said...

Most excellent instruction for palak paneer. I'm with you- the paneer's the easy part! Learning Indian cooking is my summer goal- hope you do more.

Kate said...

Thanks Ilex. There is always more food to come, though I don't plan on concentrating on one particular cuisine at this point, I'm sure Indian food will continue to be thrown in the mix!