Thursday 29 May 2014

Palak Paneer (பாலக் பனீர்)

Spinach is rich in vitamins, minerals especially iron and anti oxidants. Pasalai keerai (பசலைக் கீரை) is Indian spinach, which has large dark green leaves with a thick red or greenish stack. When you cook pasalai it gets sticky. Whereas, Delhi palak (பாலக் கீரை) is a different type of spinach - It also has large leaves, with a thinner greenish stalk and the leaves are crisp.

Ingredients: (Serves four)
Delhi palak – cut into small pieces, 4 liters measure*
Onion – 1 no, sliced
Tomato – 1 no, cut into small pieces
Green chillies – 4-5 no, slit vertically (adjust to taste)
Ginger – 1” piece, grated
Jeera – 1 teaspoon
Paneer – 200gms
Oil – 1 tablespoon
Salt – to taste
Garam masala – 1 teaspoon (optional)
Fresh cream – 1 tablespoon (optional)

*Choose a vessel that would hold 4 liters of water to measure the quantity of palak. You may use a standard fridge water bottle of 1 liter capacity and fill a large vessel with four bottles of water. Use the water level as an indicator for the 4 liters measure. Usually 3 bunches of palak would be equivalent to this quantity.

How to clean palak: Delhi palak has large leaves with a thinner stalk. Separate the leaves and cut them into smaller pieces. Soak the cut palak in large quantity of water for 5-10 minutes. Leaves float on the surface. Remove the leaves with your hand and discard the dirty water. Repeat this process 2-3 times, before cooking palak.

Palak Paneer (பாலக் பனீர்)
Method:  Cut palak into small pieces and wash well. Cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Palak cooks very fast. Once cooked, switch off the fire and allow it to cool. Mash the palak in a liquidizer into a fine paste. Cut paneer slab into small cubes. Soak in warm water. 

Heat oil in a kadai, add jeera seeds and when they start to sputter, add onions and fry till they become transparent. Now add tomato pieces and required salt. Cover and cook on low flame till oil separates. Add the mashed palak, paneer pieces, ginger, green chillies, and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook on low flame till the contents boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes and switch off the fire. Palak has a specific natural flavor and taste, which goes very well with paneer. However, if you prefer the preparation to be spicy, add garam masala at the end and mix well, before switching off the fire. Finally you may add the fresh cream which gives a richer taste to the preparation. Serve hot with chappati or roti and onion salad.

Note: Palak requires lesser quantity of salt when compared to other vegetables. 

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