My husband and my sister in law would never ever touch spinach, because they would always complain that it tastes of henna / mehendi.
Now that’s a difficult taste to tone down or get rid of in any dish.
But spinach is such a beautiful veg that I would do anything to change its taste a little and make nice meals out of it.
Be it any occasion, if you are celebrating, if you are feeling sick, or if you need some comfort food, spinach can be made into any of those dishes, and that too in very little time!
This is one of my all time favorite dishes, and goes superbly well with freshly baked rotis and a lovely salad of onions – cucumbers – tomatoes.
15 - 20 Minutes
30 - 40 Minutes
Palak / Spinach
Cottage Cheese / Paneer
Red Chilli Powder
1 large clove
1 - 2 (depending on your taste)
1 tsp (kashmiri red chilli powder)
2 tbsp (optional)
Pluck the spinach leaves, and rinse them thoroughly.
In a large pot, bring 1.5 liters of water to boil and add salt to it.
Turn off the flame and put the rinsed spinach leaves in the boiling water. Cover and set aside for 5 - 10 minutes. This is called blanching the spinach.
In the meanwhile, thinly slice the onions and tomatoes.
If the paneer isn't cut, then cut it in 1'x1' thick cubes.
Heat a non-stick pan, brush it lightly with oil and sauté the paneer till it turns golden brown. At first the paneer would ooze out a lot of water, but as this evaporates, the paneer starts to turn golden brown. Flip the paneer to the other side and allow it to color on that side too.
Once the spinach has been soaked in the boiling water for 5 - 10 minutes, drain it and rinse with ice-cold water. This would preserve the color of the spinach.
Add the blanched spinach, garlic and ginger (and green chilies if you want to make it spicy) in a food processor and grind it to a smooth puree without adding any water at all.
Heat oil in a large pan / casserole, add the bay leaves, cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon to it and allow it to crackle for a few seconds.
Add the sliced onions to the oil and sauté till they become translucent.
Add the turmeric powder and the red chili powder and sauté for a few seconds.
Add the sliced tomatoes to this and allow them to cook for 3 - 5 minutes, till the mixture leaves out oil.
Add the spinach puree and sauté for another 5 minutes or so till the raw smell of garlic and ginger have gone.
Add the sautéed paneer to the casserole, adjust the salt and allow the paneer to cook for another 5 minutes.
Add some fresh cream (if you want to give it a rich, creamy taste), cook for another minute or so.
Serve with freshly baked rotis.