We all know about the goodness of greens and fresh vegetables. But nevertheless, even to this day many of us run away from green veggies when given a choice of something yummier and tastier! :P Well, let me tell you... healthy food can also be tasty food!! :) Spinach when rightly paired with other delicious ingredients results in becoming one of the most flavourful dishes you can find out there.
And when you pair Spinach with one of the all time favourite ingredient, how can you really go wrong? Cottage cheese or Paneer and Spinach, otherwise called Palak Paneer has been loved by many a paneer lover, not for no reason! This delicious combination transforms the bland tasting spinach into a perfectly spiced gravy with succulent paneer pieces happily dipped in it! Oh my....
There are several ways in which you can dish this out, but as always, I prefer the simplest, healthiest yet one which does not compromise on the yum-factor :) So here is my version of Palak Paneer, which uses fresh paneer and not deep-fried, and uses poppy seeds for a yummy thick gravy.. so who needs fattening cream?!! bye bye fresh cream... now, isn't that great?! :)
Here are some of my previous experiments with Spinach which have been delightfully accepted by people who are otherwise not-to-fond of spinach as such :)
- Spinach and Corn Bread Roll
- Spinach and Pumpkin Pasta
- Spinach and Potato Parathas
- Spinach, Spring Onions and Fenugreek Leaves Paratha
- Spinach and Corn Sandwich
Paneer/Cottage Cheese - 200 gms
Red Chillies - 2
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Kasuri Methi/Fenugreek Leaves - 1 tbsp
Oil - as needed
Salt - to taste
Spinach - 1 big bunch
Onion - 1 big
Tomato - 1 big
Ginger-garlic paste - 1.5 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Poppy Seeds - 2 tsp
Fennel Seeds/Saunf - 1 tsp
- Chop the onion and tomato into cubes.
- Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan and add in the chopped onion. Saute until the onions turn slightly brown and then add tomato, ginger-garlic paste and a pinch of salt. Saute for a couple of minutes.
- Take off the stove and allow to cool. (Keep aside the pan, you would need it later!)
- Meanwhile, roughly chop the spinach leaves and microwave it for a a minute and a half.
- In the previously used pan, heat another tbsp of oil and sprinkle in cumin seeds and red chillies.
- Once they splatter, pour in the spinach gravy and stir well. (Here, before you add in the spinach gravy, you could add in a little bit of finely chopped onions to the oil and allow it to get caramelized. This would give in some additional texture to the gravy, if you like that)
- Add red chilli powder, cumin powder, garam masala, kasoori methi and salt. Mix well and allow to cook for a while on medium flame.
- Meanwhile, cube the paneer/cottage cheese and put them in a bowl of water. Microwave the bowl for 30 seconds. (this makes the paneer soft).
- Drain out the water and toss in the paneer cubes into the gravy. I added them fresh, as is. If you prefer to fry them, you can. Stir gently and garnish with a few kasoori methi leaves.
- Serve it with rotis or rice :)
- In Palak Paneer, the Paneer is best added in as is, instead of fried. It is succulent, soft and healthy this way. However, if you do not prefer it raw, you can pan-fry them too. Deep frying can be avoided.
- Microwaving the spinach instead of blanching it helps retain the vibrant green colour of spinach.
- In case you have added in too much water to your gravy, do not worry, just simmer the gravy on low for a longer time before adding in the paneer cubes.
- Add paneer into the gravy only once the gravy is cooked and when there is not much stirring required. Too much stirring after adding in the paneer will break them.