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Palak Paneer
Sept '05

I’ve been reminded recently of this delicious spinach and cheese curry introduced to me by an Indian student at DePaul several years ago. Incidentally, Trader Joe’s makes a very palatable packaged version — but nothing beats the real thing.

15 oz paneer cheese
(I’ve found this Indian whole-milk cheese at Trader Joe’s recently. If you cannot find it, follow instructions for the ricotta cheese substitute below.)

oil for frying
two 10-oz packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (or fresh spinach)
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3-6 green chilies, finely chopped
quarter or half an onion, finely chopped (or omit this and increase garlic)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon garam masala or curry seasoning
salt to taste (begin with 1 teaspoon, add by the 1/2 teaspoon to taste)

Cut paneer into 1/2 inch square pieces. Fry in oil until lightly browned. Set aside.

Boil 2 cups water. Add spinach & tomatoes. Boil 10 minutes, until well done. Drain and set aside. Puree in blender to get a coarse paste.

Heat oil in a large pan. Fry onion, garlic, ginger, chili — sauté until the onion turns golden. Add garam masala. Add sour cream. Add spinach mixture, combine well. Add prepared paneer. Add salt. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.

Serve with rice or naan or fresh pita bread. Lightly fry bread before serving.

Other possible spices to add if you want to change the taste:

  • more salt
  • more curry seasoning
  • chili powder
  • cumin powder
  • coriander powder
  • turmeric powder
  • fenugreek leaves (dried)

For ricotta cheese variation: Put 15 oz ricotta cheese into an oven-proof dish and bake at 350°F for 40 minutes. Cut and fry as instructed above.

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