Dating back to ancient times, paneer remains the most common type of cheese used in traditional South Asian cuisines. It's use is more common in Nepal, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
It's versatility may be the reason why I am so much in love with it. There are so many dishes we can prepare with it, in curries, pakoras, kheer, sandesh, vegetarian kebabs and so on.
To prepare paneer, food acid ( lemon juice or vinegar or citric acid ) is added to the hot milk to separate the curds from the whey. The curds are then drained in clean white cloth and the excess water is pressed out. The resulting paneer is dipped in chilled water for 2-3 hours to give it a good texture and appearance.
Me and my son being hardcore paneer lovers, it is a must have almost every week. And why not?....with so many recipes being done with it which are both healthy and tasty. This self proclaimed cook who is but quite lazy, uses store bought paneer for most of her dishes. Hi folks, instead of scolding me, please consider my time management skills.
Jokes apart, I believe on Mondays we should go easy on our stomach , give some honour to the variety of vegetables available and what could be a better alternative for fish and meat other than Paneer.
I decided to share with you the recipe of Palak Paneer today, a popular North Indian cuisine.
Paneer : 200 gm
Spinach ( Palak ) : 250 gm
Onion : 2 medium
Garlic paste : 1 tsp
Ginger paste : 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala Powder ( Punjabi ) : 1/4 th tsp
Green Chillies : 2
Cumin Seeds: 2 pinches.
Bay Leaf : 1
Oil : 2 table spoon
Salt : As per requirement
Roughly chop the spinach discarding the roots. Blanch them. In your blender, put the spinach and green chillies together and get a smooth paste. Slice the onions, wash and keep aside.
Cut paneer into cubes and soak in warm water for 1/2 an hour. Discard the water and apply little salt in them.
Heat oil in a wok. Put in a bay leaf, then the cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter, put in the ginger garlic paste. Fry till the raw smell goes. Now put in the sliced onions. Fry till golden brown.
At this stage, pour in the spinach paste. Saute well at low heat because we need to retain the green color of the spinach. Sauté till the water that comes out of the spinach dries up gradually but not fully.
Add salt as required and the garam masala powder. Mix well. Add the paneer pieces. Stir very carefully for another one minute. See that the paneer pieces do not break. Switch off. It is done.
If you wish, you can add 1 table spoon of fresh cream to it. It will enhance the taste of the dish.
Serve hot with jeera rice , naan, paratha or chapaties.