What if I present to you a dish full of greens and say that this is easily my kid’s favourite meal…wouldn’t you jump for the recipe?
Palak Paneer is a very delicious and healthy north Indian recipe that may also be made with chicken, but then it would be called Murg Saag. I enjoy seeing my children gobbling this down without a fuss even though the entire dish is packed with greens!!! My kids like the idea of eating spinach just like Popeye – the sailor and that is precisely my advertising tool for the dish.
Like I have mentioned before, all Indian curries have the same basics but what gives each dish its uniqueness is the knowledgeable use of spices & seasonings. This recipe is adapted to suit young children and so the amount of masalas (Indian spices) used is minimal. Yet when the need arises I only make a *chilli tadka on the side and mix it in the dish and get it ready to serve to adults in a jiff.
*Chilli Tadka – merely means frying long green chillies in hot oil for a few minutes.
Let’s get on with it …
Ingredients (serve 4)
• 500 gms spinach
• 1 tbsp butter or ghee
• 1 cup fresh cottage cheese (cut into cubes)
• 1 tbsp garlic (crushed)
• 1 tsp ginger (crushed)
• 1 red onion (finely chopped)
• 4 big tomatoes (pureed)
• 1 tbsp full cream or plain yoghurt (optional)
• ¼ tsp turmeric powder
• ½ tsp garam masala (optional)
• 1 tsp coriander powder
• 1-2 tsp salt (adjust accordingly)
• ½ cup of water
• 500 ml water
* For children below 1, go low on salt, skip garam masala and crush all ingredients well.
Always start off by rinsing your greens under running water for a few minutes to wash off all unwanted fertilizers and dirt. We will then blanch the spinach to shelter its colour and to partly cook the leaves.
1. Boil ½ liter of water in a big pot & add in all leaves. Let this sit for a few minutes until it softens. Transfer these leaves to ice cold water (prepared in another big bowl). Drain out the water and blend the leaves in a blender along with ginger to make a puree.
2. On low flame, heat butter in a pan and add in the garlic, sauté until golden brown.
3. Add onions and sauté till it turns transparent.
4. Pour in the tomato puree and cook for about 7 minutes or until you see an oily substance on the sides of this mixture.
5. Now add in the remaining spices – turmeric powder, salt, and coriander powder & garam masala.
6. Add in the blended spinach puree. Stir well.
7. Pour in ½ a cup of water and stir again. Make sure all ingredients have mixed well. Cover lid and simmer for about 7-10 minutes. The green puree by now would have turned into a darker shade and that is when you know your dish is ready.
8. Lastly add in the cottage cheese cubes and carefully mix them into the dish without breaking them into bits.
9. Before serving, scoop up a spoon of yoghurt or full cream and put it over your curry in the serving bowl. Give it a quick, rough stir to create a white trail for presentation as well as to add thickness to this extremely mouth watering dish.