Friday, 29 November 2013

Three Cheers for Paneer!

I love Indian food, but I often seem to get it wrong when I try making it at home. Sure, of course I can pour a bottle of ready made sauce into a pan and we all lick our lips with anticipation of the yummy smells coming from the kitchen. But when it comes to making an Indian dish from scratch, I don't always get it right. 

But today I finally did it. I finally made a from scratch Indian dish taste like it was in an Indian restaurant. And since it's one of my favourite Indian dishes, I am pleased as punch. 

Palak Paneer has creamy little pillows of paneer, a delicious Indian cheese, floating around in an onion and spinach sauce flavoured with spices that Indian dishes are famous for. It might not be as spicy as some of the other dishes from India, but that's all right with me. 

Read on for the recipe, it's easier to make than you might think!

Palak Paneer - serves 4

1 package of paneer, cut into 3/4 inch cubes 
2 onions, peeled and finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons cumin
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon each of turmeric, coriander, and paprika
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 block of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted 
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
Salt and pepper to taste 
Hot rice, couscous, or quinoa, for serving

1. In a large pan, cook the onion, garlic, cumin, and bay leaves in the oil for about about 5-8 minutes or until the onion is soft. 

2.  Add remaining spices and tomatoes and continue to cook until tomatoes soften and a sauce begins to form, about 15-20 minutes. 

3. Add the defrosted spinach, stir, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. 

4. Add in the paneer and gently toss to coat each piece of cheese. 

5. Serve on top of hot rice, couscous, or quinoa and enjoy. 

I was eating leftovers from this dish at work one day and got a lot of compliments because it smelled so yummy. It took a little convincing, but I finally had people believing I made it myself!

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