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