Palak Paneer (Spinach and Indian Cheese Curry)
This is one of my favorite restaurant meals, so I decided to try it at home to mix up our normal curry routine.
I referenced a New Seasons recipe flier and this book, ending up with this concoction. Delicious!
You'll need to buy paneer cheese from an Indian grocery (sometimes Whole foods or New Seasons carries it, but at a higher price than the Indian grocery). Also try to get ghee if you can, it is made from butter, but tastes ooh so much better than butter, and is great dripped over vegetarian curries like this one.
Part 1: Spinach/Greens
If you are using frozen spinach, you may be able to skip this step...
Prep 1 large bunch spinach or greens by washing (I used red spinach-- pretty, but added a strange red color on my curry). Heat a large pot filled with 2 inches of water to boiling. Place a bowl of ice water near the boiling water pot.
Dip bunches of spinach or greens into boiling water until wilted (30-60 seconds). Don't let it cook too long or it will become an ugly grey color. Pull the spinach out with tongs and dunk into ice water (preserves color). Repeat until all spinach is wilted and cooled.
After cooled, drain spinach in colander. Reserve spinach water for adding to spinach as you puree. Cut stalks off greens and puree in food processor. Reserve spinach until later.
Part 2: Paneer
Open paneer cheese package. Cut into small squares. You can lightly fry or leave it raw.
Part 3: Onions & Spices
1 small onion
1 jalapeno pepper
1 Indian/Thai red pepper (very spicy so be careful, don't touch with skin)
1 TB grated ginger
3-4 cloves garlic
Add the above pulp and the following into a pan and heat until turning slightly golden:
3/4 tea cumin seeds
3/4 tea fennel seeds
7 whole cloves
1/4 tea caradmom seeds or use 7 caramom pods
Then add a pinch asafetida.
Now add the pureed spinach and stir until combined. Add 1/2 C milk and stir. Carefully add 2 TB plain yogur, stirring so it doesn't curdle.
Add paneer cubes (raw or fried) and stir gently. Cover and simmer until combined and warmed.
Serve with a dripping of ghee(clarified butter) and coarse salt to bring out the flavors.