Before I went backpacking around India about 8 years ago, I never really ate any Indian food at all and didn’t find it particularly appealing to be honest. Then while I was there I became really into palak paneer and since there’s no Indian restaurant here in Moose Jaw (which is kinda surprising I think!), I’ve been making it myself at home. I kept meaning to blog about it but then I’d forget and I’d also forget exactly how I made it so I’m pretty sure every time has been a bit different. Well this time, I’m finally blogging it so I finally have a recipe to refer to for myself. This is probably a healthier version of the dish as there’s no cream in it and I use tomatoes instead. But then again, there’s hunks of paneer cheese in it!
2 bunches of fresh spinach / 2 tomatoes (I know in the photo there’s 3 but 2 turned out to be enough) / 1 small or 1/2 medium yellow onion / ~ 4 cloves garlic / 1 thumb-sized knob of ginger / 1 tbsp turmeric / 1 tbsp cumin / 1 tbsp garam masala / ~1/2 tbsp chilli powder (use less if you don’t like heat) / ~ 5 big knobs or tbsp of butter / ~ 250 grams of paneer (Superstore has the best selection since they’ve really upped their game for the ‘ethnic’ people around here!)
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the spinach for about 2 minutes and then drain and squeeze out as much of the water as possible. Using a food processor or a magic bullet or whatever, blitz the spinach until it’s as smooth as you can get it. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger with a fine grater, and chop up the onion. In a large deep-sided frying pan (or something similar) over medium heat, plop in about 4 tbsp of the butter, the ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric, cumin, garam masala and chilli powder and stir around until the onions have softened up.
In the meantime, chop up the tomatoes and then after the aromatics are good to go, add the tomatoes to the frying pan and cook until they cook down into kind of a sauce-y consistency. While the tomatoes are cooking down, cube up the paneer and in a separate frying pan, give them a quick fry with the rest of the butter until the cubes are a bit golden and then set aside. Next up, stir the spinach into the tomato mixture.
Add in the paneer and just let it cook for another couple of minutes and it’s all done. We like to eat palak paneer with just some store-bought naan (though I will have to try and make it myself soon!) and it’s extra good if you heat up the naan with some garlicky melted butter slathered on top of it. This is not the most photogenic palak paneer I’ve ever made but it tastes pretty legit and Rock says it’s his favourite way to eat spinach.