Saturday, 30 August 2014

Palak Paneer - Pakistani style Curried Spinach & Cottage Cheese

I have been in Pakistan for last few weeks to attend a sibling’s wedding. The current political situation in the twin cities led to cancellation and rescheduling of the wedding a few times, which resulted in a fraction of invitees actually being able to attend the events. The happy affair turned in to a stressful one as the two families tried to get through the logistical nightmare the blockages and long march had created between Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The mehndi (pre wedding song and dance party) was cancelled, the Baraat (wedding ceremony) was done at 4 hours’ notice and the Valima (wedding announcement dinner hosted by the groom) was moved by more than a week. But nothing dampened the spirits of the lovely bride and the groom, which boosted everyone’s mood.

I am sharing the recipe for my favorite Palak Paneer – Curried Spinach with cottage cheese which was also on the Valima dinner menu and is particularly a winter season favorite in Pakistan. 

Chopped Spinach / Palak – ½ kg (I am using frozen – You can use fresh if available. Steam and blend about a kilo of fresh spinach)
Paneer /Cottage Cheese – 250 gms (cut in bite size cubes)
Tomatoes – 3-4 medium sizes (pureed with a green chili)
Green Chili – 1 medium sized
Fenugreek/ Methi Seeds – 1 tsp heaped
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp crushed
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp crushed
Dried Fenugreek leaves / Kasuri Methi – 1 tbsp heaped.
Whole dried chilies – 3 
Fresh Ginger/Garlic paste – 1 tsp heaped
Chili Powder – 1 tsp – adjust if more needed.
Salt – 1 tsp – adjust if more needed.
Oil – 4 tbsp
Oil – 1 cup - for frying paneer/ cottage cheese.

  1. Heat 1 cup of oil in a frying pan and fry cubed paneer till it turns golden brown. Remove on a kitchen paper. Set aside.
  2. Heat 4 tbsp of oil in pan and add ginger garlic paste. Once it becomes golden, add cumin seed, coriander seeds, whole red chilies & fenugreek seeds to oil and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomato puree to oil. Add salt and chili powder and mix. Cook till the water dries completely.
  4. Add frozen chopped spinach to the tomato paste. Cover and let it thaw for 10-15 mins.
  5. Add dried fenugreek leaves to the spinach and let the water dry completely.
  6. Add fried paneer to the spinach and mix. Cover for 4-5 mins over low heat till the stream of oil comes out on the side.
Palak Paneer can be served with boiled rice and homemade flat bread.

Pottery by Blue Saint