Eat Wherever: Accidentally Delicious Paneer!


Spinach – who doesn’t like spinach??

spinach

 

Seriously – because if you don’t, I have a recipe to turn your life around. 

It worked on my stepdad, it will work on you. 

Now if only I could find a recipe that makes him like cats…..

 

spinach cat

KIDDING!!

 

Anyway, I don’t want to go on too long because, if you are like me, you hate when you get suckered into a long-ass post by a photo and the promise of a tasty recipe (sadly, there is no photo of the actual food I made).

 

However, a little background and then I shall send you off on your merry way!

 

One of my favorite things happened the other night, something I like to call “accidentally delicious”.  You see, we were supposed to make this easy, killer palak paneer recipe for dinner because I love spinach and I love, love, love paneer.  However, in his adorable yet finite wisdom, my fiancé washed the spinach for me while I was off working on something else and didn’t tell me that some of it had rotten to the point where instead of having 2 big leafy bunches of spinach, we now had like…a handful – one of my handfuls, not his.

 

So, yeah, no palak paneer.  But we needed dinner.  So I took stock of what we had in our kitchen and I threw stuff in the pot and voila!  SO FREAKING GOOD – I am not even close to kidding.  I was amazed!  You will be, too, especially once you try this because you will discover that full-fat milk and turmeric together basically taste like a spruced up, classy Kraft mac-n-cheez.  And yes, you need the full-fat milk.  It won’t taste the same otherwise, I guarantee it.  Besides, read this about how full-fat milk might lessen the chances of diabetes.  Also, turmeric has some amazing qualities that are fantastic for your body and the bioavailability increases when heated with fats like cooking oils – that’s why it’s always added in the very 1st few steps of any Indian recipe. OK, OK, OK, ENOUGH PREACHING, GET TO THE FOOD!

 

As with most things, you’ll have to fiddle with this a little to get it just to your liking – hey, that’s cooking for ya! – but luckily, this time I happened take down measurements.  Enjoy!

 

*Quick note: You can cheaply get hing and paneer at an Indian grocer (cheaper) or possibly at an international foods store (more expensive, though T-T ).  If you can’t find paneer, tofu is an ok substitute, but you are losing the fatty, milky goodness of the paneer, so adjust other things accordingly.  If you can’t find hing (asafoetida),   you can do a substitute with ½ tsp garlic powder + ½ tsp onion powder.  This is 1 tsp total, while the recipe calls for ¾ tsp hing – but hing is a very strong spice (usually only a pinch is called for), so the extra of those two will make up for some of that missing potency.

 

*Another quick note – damn!  This became one of those long posts!! T-T  Anyway, I recommend buying dahi (curd) while you are picking up your hing and paneer at the Indian grocer.  It is a thicker plain yogurt – thinner than sour cream, but similar flavor.  I intended to put this in the recipe, but ours had gone bad, so I had to use full-fat milk instead (which I didn’t measure, sorry).  So go for the milk, if you’d rather.  I don’t know what it’s like with the dahi anyway : D  I don’t recommend greek yogurt – I think it will be too dry.  I guess you’ll just have to experiment!

 


 

Ingredients:

 

Handful of Spinach, washed and chopped

6 Small Red Onions, finely chopped (about 2 medium, 1.5 large)

6 Small Green Chillies (like chiles de arbol – but jalapenos or California ones would be good!), finely chopped

Garlic – either cloves very finely chopped or garlic paste from that same Indian grocer – to taste

3 Plum Tomatoes, finely diced, preserving any juice

250g Paneer (1/2 lb, 8-9oz.)

Salt to Taste (I did 4 tsp, but we like salty)

¾ tsp Asafoetida (Hing)

200g (7-8 oz) Dahi (Curd), Plain Full-Fat Yogurt, or Some Full-Fat Milk (didn’t measure that)

2 tsp Red Chili Powder

2 tsp Turmeric

1 ½ tsp Cumin Powder

Oil

 

Directions:

 

  1. Heat oil until it shimmers in your pan – that’s how you know it’s hot! Add garlic, green chilies, and salt.  Sautee until onions are translucent and begin to brown.

 

  1. Add in the tomatoes, hing, and turmeric. Mix together, stirring occasionally to make sure that nothing is sticking or burning (adding a little water if necessary).  Cook until it looks like the tomatoes have cooked down – meaning more like everything is becoming a sauce and less like individual pieces of vegetable.

 

  1. Add the spinach, cumin powder, and red chili powder. Stir it in, tasting and adjusting as needed (maybe some more salt?).  Continue stirring to avoid sticking (adding a little water if necessary).

 

  1. After the spinach has wilted, add your dahi, yogurt, or curd and mix well. Cook long enough for the liquid to warm, even bubble, but not reach a full boil.  You can add water here to adjust the thickness.

 

  1. Add the paneer, and cook for maybe 3 or 4 more minutes, stirring. The paneer doesn’t actually need to cook, it’s just needs to get warm and delicious!  Same goes for tofu, if you’ve made that depressing substitution (don’t get me wrong, I adore tofu but it’s just not paneer).

 

  1. Serve with rice or however you want – it’ll be awesome no matter what you put it on!

 

I would love to hear if you’ve made this and what you think!  Oh, I would definitely like to hear if you’ve made any changes or adjustments – I’m always game for something even more delicious *^_^*

 

~Michelle

Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom….

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