Why It Works
- Mixing the cooked spinach whereas it is scorching yields a smoother purée.
- Frying the paneer provides it extra taste and texture.
- Blooming the cumin and mustard seeds in scorching 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 usually made it at dwelling. However palak paneer was additionally a fixture of celebratory meals and events, and we might serve it at any time when members of the family or cousins came around—it’s extremely particular for us Punjabis. It is nearly all the time included as a part of the menu for Punjabi weddings; I can not actually bear in mind a single wedding ceremony I’ve attended the place palak paneer wasn’t served.
This explicit recipe is my mom’s, and I like her model one of the best partially as a result of it is so easy. There are no further 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 fascinating, 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 tip ties the whole lot collectively fantastically.
Once I moved the UK, I encountered for the primary time saag aloo, a dish of puréed spinach and chunks of potato, which I believe should 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 shocked by the substitution of potato for paneer, and the identify was a bit complicated to me, as a result of I might 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 many others.—which modified the character of the dish solely. Whereas it’d nonetheless be scrumptious to eat, it’s extremely totally different from palak paneer.
The recipe I am sharing right here is nearer to my thought of a “true” palak paneer, and I hope you strive it, if solely so you may see how the delicate use of spices can generally add far more to a dish than utilizing the whole lot in your spice field.
The method may be very easy: I wilt the spinach leaves by cooking them with a bit 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 a bit 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 form of piping scorching flatbread—chapati, roti, naan, or parathas all would work nicely.