Why It Works
- Mixing the cooked spinach whereas it is sizzling yields a smoother purée.
- Frying the paneer provides it extra taste and texture.
- Blooming the cumin and mustard seeds in sizzling oil attracts out oil-soluble flavors and aromas.
Palak paneer is one thing I grew up consuming. I am from a Punjabi household, so my mom repeatedly made it at house. However palak paneer was additionally a fixture of celebratory meals and events, and we would serve it each time members of the family or cousins came around—it’s totally particular for us Punjabis. It is virtually all the time included as a part of the menu for Punjabi weddings; I can not actually bear in mind a single marriage ceremony I’ve attended the place palak paneer wasn’t served.
This explicit recipe is my mom’s, and I like her model the most effective partially as a result of it is so easy. There are not any additional spices, which lets the spinach taste shine. The creamy spinach sauce has a contact of garlic and chile to deepen its taste and make it extra attention-grabbing, and it enhances the chunks of paneer completely. I fry the paneer in ghee to provide it some texture and add a layer of taste, and a small quantity of cream towards the top ties every part collectively fantastically.
After I moved the UK, I encountered for the primary time saag aloo, a dish of puréed spinach and chunks of potato, which I feel will need to have been impressed by or derived from palak paneer. I’ve to confess I did not look after it very a lot; I used to be stunned by the substitution of potato for paneer, and the title was slightly complicated to me, as a result of I would solely heard “saag” used to seek advice from sarson, or mustard leaves. The saag aloo I attempted additionally tasted very totally different from the palak paneer I ate rising up; the eating places added a lot extra to the spinach sauce—onion, garam masala, and so forth.—which modified the character of the dish completely. Whereas it’d nonetheless be scrumptious to eat, it’s totally totally different from palak paneer.
The recipe I am sharing right here is nearer to my concept of a “true” palak paneer, and I hope you strive it, if solely so you’ll be able to see how the delicate use of spices can generally add rather more to a dish than utilizing every part in your spice field.
The method could be very easy: I wilt the spinach leaves by cooking them with slightly water in a coated pot, then purée them in a blender. I fry the paneer in some oil in one other pan, set the paneer apart, and in the identical pan I warmth some oil with complete mustard and cumin seeds till the seeds begin to pop, at which level I add slightly minced garlic. I pour the purée into the pan, season it with salt and chile powder, add the fried paneer and a contact of cream, combine, and serve with some sort of piping sizzling flatbread—chapati, roti, naan, or parathas all would work effectively.