Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cottage Cheese Simmered in Fresh Spinach Gravy (Palak Paneer)

Winter Indian Vegetarian Main Course Special
Punjabi/Uttar Pradesh Cuisine
Cottage Cheese Simmered in Fresh Spinach Gravy (Palak Paneer)

Serves 2

One of the Classic Item on the Menu of every Indian Restaurant!

Fresh Spinach Leaves (Palak)- 1 Large Bunch, with Tender Stems

Fresh Cottage Cheese (Paneer)- 100 Grams
Green Chillies- 2, Slit  
Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil- 1- ½ Tbsp.
Cumin Seeds (Jeera)- ¼ Tsp.
Garlic- 8 to 10 cloves, Crushed
Salt- To Taste
Lemon Juice- ½ Tbsp.
Fresh Cream- 2 Tbsp.

Clean, Remove Thick Stems only and Wash Spinach in Water thoroughly
Blanch the Spinach in Hot Water and Dip it in Cold Water (with ice cubes preferably) immediately after 4-5 Minutes

Drain the Excess Water and Keep Aside to Cool
Blend the Spinach, Green Chillies and Water to form a Fine Paste
Dice the Paneer into Half an Inch Cubes
Slightly Roast the Paneer Slices on a Non Stick Pan without Oil so that they form a Nice Golden Color

Heat Oil in a Non Stick Deep Bottom Pot
Add Cumin Seeds and as they start to crackle Add Garlic and Sauté
Add Spinach Puree and Stir carefully as the Gravy tends to splutter out of the Pot
Add Salt by Checking the Seasoning accordingly
Add Paneer when the Gravy comes to a Boil
Add a dash of Lemon Juice & Fresh Cream just before taking off the Flame
Serve Fresh and Hot with Phulka or Steamed/Flavored Rice on a Cold Winter Day!


An important Point to keep in mind is to avoid Cabbage/Spinach with Tomato as a Combination as they tend to affect people who already have Kidney/Gall Stones or have a high tendency to develop them again post Surgery..
That is the reason why Our recipes would be based on the same point just like this one is..
Can save the Thick Stems of Spinach to use it in an Andhra Preparation of Fresh Greens Stem Stew (Kadala Pulusu)
It would be great to use the Fresh Cottage Cheese made at home!

Can add Fresh/Frozen Green Peas here as well   
In the City of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh we have tasted the same dish with Blanched & Chopped Spinach instead of Pureed form. They also used the Blanched water in the Gravy while Cooking.
Using the Blanched Spinach Water adds back the lost Nutrition to the Gravy as a Vegetable Stock!

Another Recipe straight from the Dhaba:

Thanks to Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi for reminding us of the Rustic Punjabi Food (Asli Punjabi Khana) or more popularly called ‘Dhabe Da Khana’ we used to relish in Delhi!!
Serves 3-4


Palak- 2 Cups, Boiled & Pureed
Paneer- 200 Grams
Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil- 2-3 Tbsp.
Jeera- 1 Tsp.
Garlic- 10-12 Cloves, Finely Chopped
Green Chillies- 5, Finely Chopped
Onion- 2 Medium, Finely Sliced 
Black Salt- ¼ Tsp.
Coriander Powder- 1 Tbsp.
Turmeric Powder- ½ Tsp.
Salt- To Taste
Coriander Paste- 1 Tbsp., (made with Fresh Coriander Leaves)

Plain Yoghurt- 1 Cup
Lemon Juice- ½

Add the Slightly Whisked Yoghurt & Mix Well

Add all the Dry Masalas & Mix Well

Add Coriander Paste & Stir (as seen below in the middle in a light green Paste form dissolving in the Spinach Puree)
Add Paneer Cubes Gently & Combine Well

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

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