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This is, without exception, my favourite dish of all time.I love this dish for more reasons than I can count.  When I was in India, I ate it absolutely every single day for dinner.  I’d sit down at whatever restaurant I was at, thoughtfully look at the menu, and then order the palak paneer with a side of naan.  This went on for over a month, mind you. 

So, yes, I love it.  It is the perfect combination of spicy, savoury, and healthy.  Every time I eat palak paneer I am 100% satisfied. 

You have more than likely experienced this dish at Indian restaurants around town.  Compared to my version, the stuff you find in restaurants here is like some watered-down version of the truth. 

To be perfectly honest, I cannot vouch for this recipe’s authenticity in any way; it’s really an amalgam of recipes and preferences that I’ve just accumulated over the years.  But I can tell you that it’s about a million times better than any Palak Paneer I’ve had in any Indian restaurant here, ever. 

There are just massive amounts of ginger and garlic in this recipe.  They are cooked only very briefly, so they maintain the majority of their health benefits.  Both are exceedingly good for your overall health, and a staple in Chinese medicine for a number of ailments.  Both garlic and ginger have more uses than I can recount here.  In general however, ginger is used to soothe the digestive tract, while garlic is used to support the immune system.

The more exotic items in this recipe (paneer, garam masala, ghee) can all be easily found at any Indian grocery.  Nowadays, some can even be found at your local Loblaws or similar mega-store.  Do your best to find the freshest possible spices.

If you’re not too keen on too much heat in your dish, simply cut down on the number of jalepenos.  If you still find the dish is too spicy, simply eat it with extra naan or rice.  To be honest, this is a rather spicy version, so you might want to take it a bit easy, in the beginning.

 

 

Palak Paneer

2  inches fresh ginger, roughly chopped

1 head of garlic, approximately 8 – 10 cloves, roughly chopped

2 – 3 jalapenos, seeds removed, chopped

¼ cup + ½ cup water

12oz (3/4 of a lb.) Spinach, or other green of choice such as Mustard Greens

1-2 tblsp ghee or oil of choice for frying

½ tsp salt

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped or grated

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp garam masala

1/4  tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 package Paneer (approximately 450g) cut into ¼ inch cubes – paneer can be found at just about any Indian Grocery.  (You can also make your own, if you are feeling particularly ambitious).

*If desired, the paneer can be substituted with either tofu or quesa fresco.  As a last resort, ricotta that has been baked for about 40 minutes in a 450°C oven is also a suitable substitute (the ricotta should be firm but not dry). 

Roughly chop the ginger, jalapenos, and garlic cloves.  Once chopped, put them into either a blender or food processor.  Add a ¼ cup of water, and process until all of ingredients have been fully pulverized.

Place the spinach on a large pan on the stove with a few tablespoons of water.  At about medium heat, cook the spinach until it is slightly wilted.  As soon as the majority of the spinach has wilted, remove the pan from the heat.

Using tongs, add the spinach and any water left in the pan to the blender or food processor.  Then add the remaining ½ cup of water.  Pulverize the mixture until it turns into a creamy green sauce.  This should take less than a minute.

In the pan used to steam the spinach, heat the ghee or oil over medium heat.  Add the salt and onions to the pan once the oil has heated.  Sauté the onions until they are translucent, about 5 – 7 minutes.  

Add all of the spices (cumin, garam masala, cayenne, and turmeric) to the pan, combine fully, and cook very briefly (approximately 30 seconds).  Remove the pan from the heat, and add the spinach sauce to the pan.  Mix to combine all of the ingredients. 

Add the paneer, and let the dish sit for 5 -10 minutes before serving.  This dish keeps well in the fridge for over about a week.

*UPDATE – for a creamier effect, add soy milk or cream to the pan at the very end.  The amount you use is up to you, but I’d start with about 1/4 cup.

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