Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Palak Paneer for my birthday

Alright! so yesterday was my birthday.. Is it bad if I'm not all excited and jumping around? Gone are the days when it was impossible to understand that why can not your birthday be a national holiday and you used to start the countdown from a month before. I guess after celebrating a certain number of birthdays you sort of wish if you could just push the date a little further, that's exactly the age I've reached.. Boohoo!

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Anyways this one was definitely a special one for me because this was my first birthday as a mommy and 'A' made every effort for me to have as much fun and relax as much as I can. He got me some gorgeous roses and my favorite cake and cooked a nice dinner for the three of us and  guess what I got as a birthday gift??
A Kitchenaid!! That made my day right there.

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For dinner he exceeded all my expectations. He made my favorite Palak Paneer with butter naan, rice pulav and dahi kachumbar/ mixed vegetable raita. How better can a birthday get? Spending it with the most gorgeous people in your life and having the most gorgeous dinner.
Although  I did not make this palak paneer myself but still I'm taking the liberty of sharing 'A's' recipe here (I did ask his permission  BTW).

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Palak Paneer one of my all time favorite Indian foods, not only because it tastes out of the world but also because its one of those dishes which is rich but you still you don't feel guilty eating it. Palak which is hindi name for spinach doesn't need any introduction and Paneer is fresh Indian cheese which rich in protein.

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If you don't find paneer due to any reason Queso blanco or Queso fresco is the closest thing you can find although unlike Paneer they are lightly salted. Cottage cheese is also another good alternative. BUt I'm sure you can find paneer easily if you know of any Indian food market.

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 Palak or spinach gives the dish a  beautiful green color and paneer and cream gives it just the right amount of richness needed for a perfect Indian curry and when you will taste it you will know exactly what I'm talking about.
Here's the ingredients and the method how A made it.

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh green spinach
8 oz packet of paneer cut into cubes
1 cup red chopped onion
1 cup tomato pureed
3-4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 inch ginger
2-3 thai green chili
1 tsp fennel seeds
3-4 cloves
1/4 cup heavy cream or 2 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
3 tbsp olive oil/cooking oil
Salt

Method:

Boil spinach in a big pot adding fennel seeds and cloves to it. Let it cool and then blend it in a blender. Save the water in which you boiled your spinach.
Grind onion, ginger, garlic and thai chili making a thick paste.
Heat oil in a medium sized pot and add the ground paste of onion, garlic and the other ingredients.
Cook everything until the paste starts changing color from light pink to darker pink and then slowly towards golden. Then add salt.
Stir for a minute and you'll see onion loosing some oil that's when you have to add coriander powder & curry powder.
Mix it all together and add pureed tomato.
Cook everything until the paste is thicker and all the liquid from the tomato is cooked. Then you have to add the pureed mixture of spinach, fennel seeds and cloves. Fennel seeds and cloves here are the secret ingredients that I add to my spinach. This gets rid of the spinachy (if there's any word like that) smell of the greens.
Don't forget to turn the heat to lowest because as soon as spinach hits the hot pot it would start bubbling and jumping. So continuously stir it on low heat for a minute or two and then cover it with a lid to let it cook. If you think the gravy is too thick for you add a ladle or two of the saved boiled water from the spinach and then cover it.
In a separate sauce pan boil salted water, turn off the heat and then add the paneer cubes. Let it stay in hot water for 2-3 mintes while your curry is being cooked. This helps drain all the excess fat from the cheese making it softer.
Then add cream or sour cream whatever you are using to the spinach curry. Mix well.
Drain our paneer cubes from the salt water and add it to the gravy.
Give it one quick boil and your Palak Paneer is ready. We ate it with some char grilled butter naan.

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33 comments:

  1. Dear Prerna, (Belated) Many many happy returns of the day!!! I don't need to ask that how's your b'day gone as your husband did make your day!! :)
    Your hubby's Palak Paneer recipe is very interesting and beautiful as well ad pics. I'll give it a try for sure. Convey my thanks to him. :)
    btw, I can't wait to your recipes, churning from your KitchenAid!! :D

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  2. Many many happy returns of the day!:) that's a tempting bowl of palak paneer. Paneer is one my favorites too :)

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  3. I know so little about Indian food, but one of my favorite things to order in a restaurant is saag paneer....is palak paneer the same thing?

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  4. Thanks guys!
    Sonia- Can't wait to try my new Kitchenaid. Looks like we're going to eat a lot of breads and cakes in the near fututr :-)
    Anonymous- Please don't stay anonymous! You say so wonderful things about my work and I don't even know ur name, its a shame :-(

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  5. Belated B'day Wishes Prerna. Palak Paneer looks amazing. As always b'ful shots! KitchenAid.....what a perfect gift for a food blogger! btw, thanks for the tips on Dhokla. Next time will definitely try those.

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  6. I can't wait to make this! Your photos are la la lovely!

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  7. belaed birthday wishes...i love paneer in any form...

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  8. Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe.. i adore Palak Paneer but have never tried making it at home! Your photos are just beautiful!!

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  9. july 13 is my birthday also. and happy bastile day today !! it is a great week to go on a trip to paris.

    fyi -- i have a williams somoma grilling cookbook giveaway going on on my website.

    stop by !!

    bestwishesmarie.blogspot.com

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  10. Happy Birthday!

    Looks like you had a great one! I love my KitchenAid! It is wonderful.

    The picture you took of the roses is lovely!

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  11. Prerna I hope your birthday was absolutely wonderful. I am so happy you were able to share it with your daughter and husband. It looks like they both made it memorable for you.

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  12. Happy Birthday! Gorgeous photos; you'll remember that KA gift forever! :)

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  13. Happy Belated Birthday! Awesome pics as usual!

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  14. I love palak paneer and yours looks amazing. I wouldn't have thought about the fennel and clove with the spinach, so I'll have to try that out. I always make my paneer from scratch. It's super easy and fun.

    Thanks for the recipe.

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  15. Thank you and your family for sharing this recipe! We made it *using tinned spinach with fennel seeds and salt already in* and it was delicious with some homemade pita bread and some hummus :-) Happy belated birthday, hehe!

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  16. Ooooooooh yummy! Love the clarity in your pictures! Happy birthday!

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  17. I made this today, first experience with indian cooking. It turned out great, thanks for the recipe! (:

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  18. Oh! that's just so very sweet of you guys. Special thanks to you who tried this recipe and decided to introduce yorselves to the Indian cuisine. Nothing can beat the happiness that this recipe made you feel good about food from India.

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  19. Prerna,

    Tried this yesterday and got so many compliments for it :). I have tried making palak paneer so many times but it's never tasted so good...
    I really think the fennel and the cloves with the palak make a huge difference :)
    Keep the recipes coming......
    Abha

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  20. I am so engrossed in all yours posts and pics. This one especially tops the list cuz its one of my faves too. May I ask which camera you use?

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  21. Just found your blog-fantastic. Looking forward to trying this!

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  22. a friend came to my blog looking for a paneer recipe, i told her this dish is best left to the Indians :) I have sent her this beautiful post's link. x shayma

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  23. I was just looking for a paneer recipe, and boy am I glad I came across your blog! Absolutely stunning! I love your photos and your style - and this recipe too! So, I'll be making this dish next week and will stop by at your wonderful site from now on!

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  24. nice post and wayyy belated Happy birthday Prerna :)
    I always use cloves and cinnamon in my Palak Paneer but never used Fennel..gonna try out tonight.
    And do not need to mention that I enjoy your blog and photography all the time. Keep up good work.

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  25. Goodness - your photos are stunning! I am STARVING now. Thank you so much for this recipe!

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  26. Made this today with quite a few substitutions as I am in Mexico - turned out great! Thanks for a good recipe!

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  27. This dish looks so delicious. many happy returns of the day and may he cook for you for all those birthdays!!

    Mina

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  28. Happy Birthday! And to countless more. The palak paneer looks delicious :-)

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  29. Would it be okay to substitute some coconut milk for the cream? I don't have any cream at home right now, but we do have some leftover coconut milk.

    Looks wonderful! Can't wait to try. Thanks!

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  30. Hi Lydia,
    I sometimes add 1.5 tbsp of cream cheese or sour cream too if I don't have heavy cream handy. Coconut milk might give you different taste, different from when you use a dairy product. If nothing just add whole milk if you have that.

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  31. What is Thai Green Chili and where do I find it?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jen,
      Thai green chili is this small (probably an inch long)dark green in color. They are small but very hot. YOu can find it easily an any asian or Indian market.

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  32. Thank you so much for the great recipe! I cook a lot of South Indian food and am always nervous about trying Northern dishes. This was soooo good though, I will have to check out some of your other recipes, thanks again!

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