Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Travels from my armchair - part two

In keeping with the Indian theme of yesterday's post, the sun came out and it was boiling hot on the terrace.

Well, I promised you the recipe for my palak paneer, so here it is. My kitchen got cursed by the fact I had my camera with me and I had a bit of a sticky pan disaster - but not to worry, it still tasted divine :-)
You'll need oil, onion, chilli, minced garlic, ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala, spinach, a few tomatoes, coconut milk and your home made (or shop bought) paneer made with 2 litres of milk.
Cube the paneer into 1" pieces and fry in quite a bit of oil. Be warned it can jump around and spit as it cooks. You want to get it golden brown all over. The shop bought paneer holds it's shape better than the homemade version, but it is a bit rubbery. As you can see, my pan decided it wasn't going to behave so it got a liberal coating of paneer stuck to the bottom! Oh well, it's added to the texture. And of course, when I tried to prise it off the pan the paneer crumbled. Well, these disasters only happen when you've got guests coming to watch!

OK, now for a bit of multi-tasking. Steam the spinach (200g) in hardly any water. You want to cook it for only about 3 minutes so it's wilted but still bright green.

While that's cooking pop your chopped onion in to the pan, using the same oil - I always use red onions, same as Rick Stein, they have a sweeter taste that suits the India palette. Soften the onions, but don't colour them. The bits of what looks like breadcrumbs in my pan with the onions is that pesky stuck paneer!!!

Now add 0.5 teaspoon of turmeric, and one teaspoon each of ground cumin and ground coriander. If you like cumin you may want to use whole spice rather than powdered - or even both! Add a big dollop of minced garlic (probably about 3 cloves of crushed garlic) and the chilli, chopped quite small. Choose a chilli that suits your preference for heat. I like these chunky fat fairly mild chillis for this dish, it is supposed to be mild, sweet and creamy, so you don't want a birds eye chilli that blows your head off! This calls for subtle flavours. Cook off the spices - being careful not to let them burn

Drain the spinach and squeeze out as much liquid as you can - 6 sheets of kitchen towel does the job

Chop your tomatoes (I used 3) and add them and the spinach to the pan and give it a quick stir.
 Then add a whole can of coconut milk - this recipe is not for the dieter!
Add the golden paneer to the pan and leave it all to bubble away for about 15-20 minutes, making sure you don't catch the bottom of the pan. You will end up with a nice reduced masala sauce. Then stir in 1-2 teaspoons of garam masala and give it a couple of minutes. (oopsie - the camera steamed up!)

Chop up some fresh coriander and throw it in just before serving. I serve this with wild rice and some curried vegetables. The paneer is probably laden with calories, so a bit of veggie padding fills you up!

Enjoy your dinner, then retreat to the easy chair to digest...

I hope you enjoy trying palak paneer for yourself - would you like more of my Indian recipes? Let me know and I will include some more in future posts. xx


  1. Yummy recipe, but I don't actually know what paneer is. Is it like tofu?
    I always use red onions too.

    Lite coconut milk might ease the guilt a tad.

    By the way, I love your enamel pot, and the snap of the squished spinach looks like a wonky ball of wool.

  2. Paneer is homemade cheese - it's very mild in flavour as it's not aged at all. Coconut milk light? What's the point??? Haha - but seriously, it wouldn't make such a thick creamy masala because of it's higher water content. Are you going to have a go yourself?

  3. I just had a carrot/sweet potato soup with coconut milk, and with the extra, I made a banana-chocolate chip cake, so I think I'll hold off on the coconut for a while, but it sure does look tasty!

  4. I always put coconut in my curries. Just the unsweetened stuff.