Well, US has taught me a number of things, not least of them being cooking. And, to tell you the truth, I think cooking is something that I quite enjoy!
Anyway, I’d found some Palak (spinach) at our local store, and couldn’t resist buying some, even though I had not the first idea how I planned to cook it (I am just beginning, you know). Some other time, I had also bought some Paneer (I have heard terms such as Ricotta cheese and Cottage cheese to describe this in English, but really I don’t know what you call Paneer in English), which is one of my personal favorites in the food department.
Well, yesterday was one of those crazy days when you feel like doing something… – well, crazy – and I decided I’d make Palak Paneer, even though I had no idea how it would turn out, or even how I was supposed to start. Well, the internet is a boon, and online recipes, even more so. I found some recipes to make Palak Paneer, but found no single recipe that either required ingredients that I were all available to me, or needed some preparation method that was possible me to execute fully. Finally, I decided to combine two recipes that I liked in parts, and put in some of my own ideas for good measure. The result wasn’t bad by any means, so here I am, with the recipe, so that I don’t forget it the next time I want to make it, and, well, for your information if you are an even more novice a cook than I am.
Here it is:
Chop up the Palak finely, and I mean really finely. Wash it thoroughly, and drain most of the water. Put the palak, some diced tomatoes, finely chopped onion, and ginger, and boil the mixture with water. Use as much water as you need, because you are not using oil at this stage, and the stuff will need water for it to not go entirely dry. I write ‘some’ everywhere because really I myself do not know quantitatively what amounts I put in. I use my own judgement more often than not, and I apologise if that’s an annoyance. The end result of this boiling operation should be a semi dry mixture where the typical smell of palak has more or less subsided.
Cut the paneer into cubes of suitable size. Suitable because really its your choice how you want them: if you like them big, that’s fine, if you like them small, well, that’s fine too. Fry the paneer cubes in oil, into which you have added a little ghee, for the amazing smell that ghee brings. The paneer should be light golden / brown in color when you take them off. Keep ready a bowl of water into which you have added turmeric powder (haldi) to form a solution of haldi water (technically its a suspension, but anyway…). Put the fried paneer cubes into the haldi water for around 5 minutes, enough for the haldi to seep into the paneer.
Now, fry suitable amounts of onion (a little extra won’t hurt) in oil (you can use the same oil that you used to fry the paneer), and add to it a spoonful of garlic. Add cumin and coriander powder, and then add the palak mixture from before and the paneer that you fried and kept in haldi water. Let it cook until it’s almost done. For the final touch, add generous amounts of yogurt (well, don’ t be too generous, but make sure there’s enough to form a nice mixture) and let it simmer for a couple of minutes until the yogurt mixes well. Don’t heat too long, as you don’t want the yogurt to release water, as it does when heated. Voila, Palak Paneer is ready!!