Sunday, September 25, 2016

Palak Paneer

Palak paneer is a north Indian dish comprised of paneer (cottage cheese) and fresh spinach. The spinach is blanched, pureed and cooked with select spices tossing the paneer in at the end. This dish is one of my personal favorites. It is easy to make and healthy too! Vegans may substitute the paneer with tofu. Try this recipe. I promise you won't regret it!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 2 bunches of spinach
  • 8 oz. paneer (cubed)
  • 5 to 6 green chillies (adjust according to your preferred heat level)
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon julienne ginger for garnish
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice/ lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream (fresh cream)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves for garnish
  1. Remove the stems and wash the spinach thoroughly in running water. Then, blanch in salted boiling water for two minutes (use 5 cups of water). 
  2. Strain the spinach leaves and immediately put the spinach in a bowl containing ice cold water. Soak the spinach leaves in the water for two minutes and then remove the spinach from the water.
  3. Put spinach in a blender and add ginger, garlic and green chilies. Blend to make a smooth spinach puree. There is no need to add water while making the puree. When complete, keep the spinach puree aside.
  4. Heat the ghee or oil in a pan and sauté the paneer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the paneer and drain on a paper towel.
  5. In the same pan, with the remaining ghee/oil, add cumin seeds and let them splutter. Then, add the chopped onion and sauté until the onions become golden.
  6. Add the tomatoes, stir and sauté until they soften. Once the tomatoes are softened and you see oil is releasing from the sides of the mixture, add the spinach puree and stir well. Add 1/3 cup water and boil for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the turmeric powder and red chili powder. Simmer for five minutes until the spinach is cooked. Season with salt, which will cause the gravy to thicken. Be sure to keep stirring.
  8. Add the paneer cubes and stir. 
  9. Add garam masala powder and stir gently. Simmer on low flame until the paneer cubes become soft (1 to 2 minutes).
  10. Garnish with coriander leaves, julienne ginger, heavy cream and drizzle a few drops of lime juice or lemon juice
  11. Serve the palak paneer hot with some fresh naan or jeera rice.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Kadai Paneer

Kadai paneer is a tasty and flavorful main dish. It made in traditional Indian style, cooked with an assortment of spices and pastes, and great for any occasion - casual dinner or hosting friends. Kadai paneer is one of my eldest son's (Ravi) favorite dishes. Whenever we go out to an Indian restaurant he always orders kadai paneer. Even when I make the Punjabi cuisine at home, he makes sure that I make kadai paneer, black (urad) dal and palak paneer or aloo palak.  You may eat this dish with naan, roti or rice. I hope you also enjoy this!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1/2 pound paneer, cut into cubes (may be home made or store-bought)
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon green chili paste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small can tomato paste (store bought; use only 3/4 paste from the can)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon green coriander leaves, chopped
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan or kadai on medium heat. Once hot, stir fry the paneer. Take them out before paneer starts changing color. (If you purchased pre-fried paneer from the store, skip this step)
  2. Next, stir fry the bell pepper until they are tender. Do not overcook the bell pepper. Drain on a paper towel.
  3. Using the same pan, add asafetida and sliced onion. Sauté the onion until it is light golden brown.
  4. Add ginger paste, garlic paste and green chili paste. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add tomato paste, two cups of water, coriander powder, red chili powder and turmeric powder. Stir and cook over medium heat until the oil separates and the gravy become thicker.
  6. Add salt, paneer and the cooked bell pepper. Let it simmer for about four to five minutes on medium-low heat.
  7. Garnish with green coriander leaves. It is ready to serve!

If you cannot find a can of tomato paste, you may use tomato puree. Blend the tomatoes (3 medium size tomatoes) to make the puree.