by Arpit, Published: March 27, 2014
When it comes to Punjabi food, that too everyday menus, Palak Paneer is on top of the list. Palak or saag is one of the favourite leafy vegetables in north Indian households. They use the versatile palak in a variety of preparations such as raita, gravy and even kofta! Earlier spinach was a winter green but thanks to advanced technology fresh spinach is available almost all round the year. When not in season, you can still get the tinned variety.
Today is one of the important day for me. A college friends outing with my loved one. JK was the dhaba in Rajkot which is one of or oldest hanging spot. I still remember that 60 Rs. Unlimited Thali wherein he used to serve us Palak Paneer without fail. Palak Paneer also makes me remember of my first Restaurant visit with my dad in Auto Rikshaw. That taste of Naan and Palak Paneer is the one which I still find almost in every restaurant I go around the globe and I am still on the quest to find that best Palak Paneer. Probably I will never get that taste, because it was a taste of my first visit to restaurant and a first of its kind outing with my Mom and Dad.
Enough of Memories, lets talk about some technical things to cook Palak Paneer. I believe Minimum spices in Palak Paneer will really taste well.
Yield: Serves 6
3 large bunches spinach (पालक)
200 grams cottage cheese , 1 inch cubes (पनीर)
4 pieces chopped green chillies (हरी मीर्च)
4 tbsp oil (तेल)
3/4 tsp cumin seeds (जीरा)
01-12 cloves fresh garlic (लेहसुन)
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (नीम्बु का रस)
salt , to taste (नमक)
5 tbsp fresh cream (क्रीम)
2. Place a non stick pan on medium heat and pour in 10 cups (2 liters) water and 1 teaspoon salt and bring it to a boil. Add the spinach and blanch in the salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Refresh under running water. Drain well in a colander.
3. Place the spinach in a blender jar, add chillies and grind to a fine paste.
4. Place another non stick pan on medium heat and pour in the oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the cumin seeds. When they begin to change color, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the spinach puree and stir. Check seasoning. Add 1/2 cup (100 ml) water if required.
5. When the gravy comes to a boil, add the paneer and stir gently. Add the remaining salt and the lemon juice and stir gently. Finally add the fresh cream and take the pan off the stove top.
6. Serve hot with paranthas.
Palak Paneer tastes best without too many spices and herbs. To get best results, do not overcook spinach, as overcooking would not only adversely affect the bright green color of the spinach but also the taste.