Unlike these days, Spinach were only available in the winters in Odisha, India. So the cold season was very much of prized time, where the colorful vegetables made a way to our family’s plate. Like the vegetables, the dishes made out of them were very grand and were served with lots of love and care. Furthermore, the seasonal food habits of my childhood play so much memory during winters that I unintentionally try to recreate them. However, time has changed, the huge cold storages have somewhat played the trick in making veggies available round the year. But the memory and the vibes of the season to the family food tradition are something that’s untouched. One such special dish is “Palak Paneer”.
Being an Odia, Palak Paneer is not very kin to my family, however work and relocation have also influenced my choice. Palak Paneer is very native dish to North India and all the Indian veggie lover always treasure to keep this as a side. It’s creamy, delicate, spiced and no wonder loaded with loads of nutrition. It goes great with chapatis or parathas.
With time this dish has become an integral part of my family dinner. The little one is also growing fond of this green dish, perhaps because of its vibrant color on the plate.
Here goes the recipe of Palak Paneer:
Ingredients for Palak Paneer:
- Spinach – 1/2 bunch
- Paneer – 1/2 lb, cubed
- Milk- 1/4 cup
- Ginger – 1/2 in long
- White Onion – 1/4 cup finely chopped
- Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
- Cashew nuts – a handful (8-10 pieces)
- Green chillies – 1
- Bay Leaves – 1
- Cinnamon – a small piece
- Cardamom – 2
- Peppercorns – 3
- Cloves – 2
- Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 tsp
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Salt – according to taste
- Vegetable Oil – 3 tbsp
Steps of Preparation for Palak Paneer:
- First of all blanch the spinach, since the Palak has to look fresh and green – How to blanch greens?
- Soak the cashew nuts, cumin seeds for 10-15 mins.
- Grind together blanched spinach, soaked cashew nuts, cumin seeds, green chili and ginger in a mixer. As the water is already present in the greens don’t add more water.
- In the meantime, heat a wide bottomed pan and add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and saute the paneer cubes till a tint of golden color appears on the surface.
- Keep aside the paneer cubes. In the same pan, add 2 tbsp of oil and add the whole spices (Cinnamon, Cloves, Bay leaves, Black pepper, Cardamom).
- Once the whole spices ooze out the flavors in the oil, add the chopped onions and saute till softened and cooked.
- Add the coriander powder, red chili powder, salt and sugar and mix them uniformly.
- Then add the green paste to the masalas and cook them for 4-5 mins.
- Once the gravy appears to be cooked (i.e. The oil separates from the mixture), add milk and mix it to bring a uniform consistency.
- Then add the paneer cubes and saute it so that the gravy coats well with the paneer cubes. And this completes the recipe.
Finally, serve it hot with the chapatis and parathas to enjoy a delicious meal.