Monday, May 22, 2006

My Favorite - smooth and silky Palak Paneer (Spinach with Cheese)

What do you all suppose this is? Can you guess what dish my dad made with this?

Ok, amazing guessing work going on here! It's great that you all take such an active part in my little guessing games here. I really have a ball playing with you all and I hope you enjoy playing with me too.

A few did guess right ... it was fried paneer which is a cheese made from clotting milk and hanging up to releae all the fluid. Now those who have stuck around my blog from the beginning will know I have so often complained that in Germany I just hate the fact that I cannot enjoy my favorite paneer dishes because we do not get ready made paneer in the stores and making it from scratch is nothing for me. After trying it twice I decided it was far too much hard work to make it on a regular bases.

This is a store bought frozen fried paneer from an Indian store in St. Louis and when I saw it I had to get my dad to make his fantastic palak paneer. Palak in hindi is spinach and this is so tasty with the paneer, nothing comes close.

It is my all time favorite Indian dish. I love the great combination of the spinach and the spices.

My dad is an amazing guy! He has worked and built some of the finest hotels in the world, traveled the globe and now after an early retirement is not only writing a book but has learnt to cook some fine tasting recipes, which can go up into competition with my mum. Don't let my mum hear that though, because she'll say "who taught him all this!" Now my mum works and my dad cooks! The cool thing about him though is that he finds a way to make these tedious Indian recipes really quite simple, so you don't feel all that intimidated.

Even this recipe is rather simple and I just love it. My dad believes that when Indian food is cooked properly it is the healthiest of cuisines in the world. He likes his spices but he likes to let the flavours of each vegetable take the main role in the dish. So, here you will notice he does not use garlic because with the ginger the spinach has a great partner and garlic would just add another powerful taste to it, taking away the attention from the spinach. Even the spices are very limited here, but it still has a strong aroma of all the indian flavors.

So, as I sit here basking in the warm Californian sun in San Francisco I hope you will give my dad a warm welcome and enjoy his great palak paneer.



Ingredients:

500g frozen spinach
2 onions - finely chopped
2 tomatoes - chopped
turmeric powder
small piece of ginger - mashed
green chilies - finely chopped
salt and pepper
250g fried paneer
clarified butter



Method:

Start by frying 1 1/2 onion in the butter until it takes on a nice rich brown color. Add the tomatoes and simmer until all the juices have incorporated well. Now add the turmeric powder, mashed ginger, chilies, salt and pepper and continue the frying. In hindi this process is called "bhoon"-ing (I hope I spelt that right). Just frying until everything has left it's juices and flavors and combined as one entity.

Squeeze the fluids out of the spinach and roast in a separate pan in some clarified butter. Once this is done add the tomato mixture to the spinach and simmer for another 5-8 minutes.

Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Put back into the pan and add the paneer. In another frying pan fry add the rest of the onion in some butter until brown. Pour this mixture over the top. This is called "tarka" in hindi and is used in different varieties in several Indian dishes like daals.

Serve this with rotis. My dad bought whole wheat tortillas with this and they tasted great.



Verdict:
Yup, he does it everytime. My dad always make this dish unbeatable than anyother palak paneer recipe I have ever had. Even Soeren, who normally is not so hot on Indian food ate a large portion of this. You'll all laugh at the way he ate this - with a portion of farfalle pasta!! If that is not fusion for you! I ate far too much and could not move for a day. But I would have been sorry if I did not indulge in this while I had the chance.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.

19 comments :

  1. Looks like Tofu!
    Now the second part-What did your dad make with these.......Hmmm...I need more clues!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm not so sure it's tofu, definately intrigued!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Either paneer or tofu. Too big for marshmallows :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. is it fried paneer? and could that dish be butter paneer masala....?

    Tanuja

    ReplyDelete
  5. fried paneer.Is the recipe mutter paneer

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My guess is silken tofu. Cant wait for your dad to show us his culinary talents :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Meeta,
    Hey, there is some other Vaishali at your blog. Have I got competition? ;-)
    My guess is Paneer. And I am guessing that your dad made Palak Paneer with it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey guys ... wow you all are great. Thanks for taking the time on this little game. One or two managed the correct guess. The others .... well hope you come back as I alwasys play these games.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, I guessed it right, Meeta. Now as a prize, can I please please have some of that Palak Paneer? Btw, readymade fried Paneer? I wish we got it here. And great that your dad whipped up magic with so few ingredients.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Looks delish! And I would agree with your dad--Indian cuisine IS one of the healthiest in the world, especially if the rice is brown, not white.

    Not to mention one of the tastiest! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Meeta,Visiting your blog for the first time,i dint look at the recipes,I am amazed by the photos that you have taken.Gives me inspiration to get out and take beautiful pictures.I saw your Flickr collection,the one on nature is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I enjoyed reading this one a lot ! Convey my wishes to your dad- i love dads who cook for their daughters :) While you bask in the Californian Sun, I soaking up the London cold- need as much as I can to forget the fact that HOW hot and humid Bombay is - Am having fun, shall tell you more later
    Lots a love
    N

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hey Talena, Hope you get around to trying this one out and letting my dad know what you think :-)

    Sumitha, Welcome to my blog I feel always so flattered when someone says they are inspired by my photos as I think they could always do with more improvement. I hope you come around more often and stay in touch with your feedback.

    Nandita, i really hope you are enjoying london and all my tips are helpful. look forward to hearing more.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey Meeta,

    That's an awesome blog, full of mind-boggling recipes, and fabulous pictures to boot! You come across as a very interesting person, full of rich and varied interests! Incidentally we share similar interests in our choice of books and films!

    Great recipe of palak paneer that, penned with immaculate attention to detail. I also share your willingness to experiment with different cuisines.
    Meenakshi at PRITYA

    ReplyDelete
  16. Meeankshi!

    Thanx for visiting and welcome to my blog! Nice to hear that we share the same interests and hope to see you around more often!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Meeta,

    First of all your food blog is wonderful!

    I prepared Palak Paneer last week, and its hard to put in words how much I liked it. I have tried various other Palak Paneer recipes, none turned out as good as this one.I made no changes(not a bit)and followed your recipe.

    Thank you so much!
    Rashmi

    ReplyDelete
  18. Rashmi, I told my dad that you really liked his recipe and he sends you all his wishes! LOL! I too love this way of preparing palak paneer.
    Thank you for coming back and letting us know!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta