We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Palak Paneer - Spinach with Indian Cheese

This recipe is essentially Creamed Spinach Indian-Style. It is a speciality of the Punjab state in Northern India. We like to serve this delicately seasoned side dish with Chicken Tikka Masala and Roti.

Palak Paneer - Spinach with Indian Cheese

   In this particular dish, it is much easier to use defrosted frozen spinach than fresh. For guests, we use heavy cream, but for everyday cooking, milk or half and half can be substituted. Various recipes use different spices, such as ground coriander and garam masala, in addition to minced garlic and a finishing squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The dish gives you room to experiment.

2 large tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced
1/3 to 1/2 pound paneer, cut into bite-size cubes
1/2 to 1 cup oil for frying
2 Tbsps ghee or oil

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 10-ounce bags frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
2 Tbsps all-purpose flour mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water
1/3 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. To peel the tomatoes: Place a saucepan, 3/4 full of water, over high heat and bring to a boil. Cut a shallow X over the bottom of the tomatoes. Carefully transfer each tomato to the boiling water and let cook for 30 to 60 seconds until the peel starts to curl. Remove to bowl to cool, or run the tomatoes under cold water to quickly cool and to remove the peel. Core the tomatoes, dice and set aside.
2. To prepare the paneer: Heat oil in a high-sided pan to prevent oil spattering you or the stove. When hot, lightly fry the cubed cheese until lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove cheese from oil and let drain on a paper towel lined plate.
3. For the spinach: Heat the ghee in a pan or large skillet over medium heat until hot. Lightly fry the spices and ginger until fragrant - 1 to 2 minutes. To the pan and the spinach, stirring to incorporate.
4. Add flour and water mixture along with heavy cream. Season with sea salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate. Let it cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add diced tomatoes, leaving seeds behind, and cook for another few minutes. Add paneer. Cook for another few minutes and serve. Serves 8.

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