Palak Paneer, Kashmiri Style
I found myself glued to the telly and social media this past week, watching the events in Boston unfold. My heart really goes out to the innocent victims of the bombing, and here’s hoping that the grieving families and communities find peace in their hearts. Unfortunately, we live in a time in which a lot of people do a lot of bad things.
But fortunately, we humans are resilient, and we know how to bounce back. With the help of our family, friends, neighbours, community, we carry our yoke, but not alone. Therefore, this post is not about grieving, but about coming together in solidarity.
Today, I have an Indian dish for you. There’s this little Indian-Pakistani restaurant right beside my office building the I frequent every now and then. Last Friday, I discovered that the Pakistani family who owned it had sold the business to a young Chinese gentleman who will turn the place to a gourmet sandwich shop. I was so sad, mostly because I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye to them.
I will remember their palak paneer (spinach with paneer cheese) well. Served with a side of paratha, pickled onions, and green chile chutney. Oh, I am going to miss this. This is my attempt at the classic Indian dish. There’s the more common Punjabi version with just spinach and basic spices. I made the Kashmiri version, with tomatoes and garam masala. A good vegetarian dish. Hope you enjoy!
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) paneer cheese, diced
- 400 grams (14 oz) fresh spinach
- 2 green chillies, de-seeded and chopped
- ½ teaspoon ginger paste
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- pinch of fenugreek seeds
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
- 2 tablespoons garam masala powder
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 250 grams (9 oz / 1 cup) puréed tomatoes
- a dollop of yoghurt (optional)
- Cut the paneer into small 1-inch squares and fry over medium heat in a little bit of oil until golden. Set aside.
- Put the spinach, chillies, ginger, and salt in a pan over medium heat. Add a dash of water and wilt the spinach, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Set aside to cool, then wrap in cheesecloth (or use bare hands) to squeeze out excess water. You will be left with more or else half the weight of the fresh spinach you started with.
- Roughly chop spinach, or alternatively, purée in a blender or processor. Set aside.
- Heat more oil in a pan over medium heat, add the fenugreek seeds and stir-fry for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the onion and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent.
- Add garlic, cumin seeds, and garam masala and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and puréed tomatoes, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the puréed spinach and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the paneer, stirring gently for 2 minutes.
- Serve warm with a dollop of yoghurt.