It’s our second Meatless Monday and third Fiesta Friday and we thought what better than- Palak Paneer also known as Saag Paneer, again, a very popular Indian dish. Made with fresh spinach and fresh home-made paneer- oh we did pretty well on this one. 🙂 This is yet another recipe which we never thought was so easy & quick to make- it just sounds sophisticated and complicated.
So we have been trying quite a few ways to make the perfect home-made paneer and have almost finally hit the nail on its head! There is nothing like the taste of fresh paneer. It’s so creamy and literally melts in your mouth! It sure was worth the effort.
And here is how we rolled it:
- ¼ cup water
- 4 cups whole milk (we have tried using 2 % milk but it just doesn’t come out right so please do indulge in some full fat milk 🙂 )
- 1/8 cup heavy cream, optional
- 4-5 tablespoons lemon juice or 3-4 tablespoons white vinegar (you may need to add more depending on when the milk begins to curdle)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 oz bag baby spinach (or you could use about 300-400 grams regular chopped spinach)
- 3 teaspoons minced or finely chopped garlic
- 1/4th of a red onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
- ½ teaspoon chopped green chilli
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 whole dried red chilli
- a pinch of turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil, reduce to medium heat and then add in the milk.
- Allow the milk to heat for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Then add in the heavy cream.
- Allow this to come to a boil on medium heat. This may take about 7-10 minutes. Make sure to stir the milk occasionally.
- Once the milk comes to a boil, turn off the heat and add in 3 tablespoons lemon juice to the milk, stirring continuously.
- Within 10-15 seconds, the milk should start to curdle and you should see a greenish liquid separating from the fat in the milk. This greenish water is called “whey”. If this does not happen, add in another tablespoon of the lemon juice until the milk separates.
- Line a colander with a cheese cloth or thin cotton cloth and place it over a large bowl.
- Pour the whole mix through the cheese cloth and allow the whey to drain into the bowl for about 10-15 minutes.
- Then tie the ends of the cheesecloth the together and lift the cloth out of the colander.
- Then, using a large spoon placed across the top of a jug, hang the cloth with the paneer from the spoon handle. The paneer bundle should be hanging inside the jug. Or you could just hang the cloth over your kitchen sink tap.
- After around 20-25 minutes, place the bundle onto a plate and keep a heavy pan on it for about 15-20 minutes. You can then keep this in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes before opening the cloth and chopping up the paneer. We usually use the paneer immediately, but you could keep the paneer refrigerated for a few hours until you want to use this.
- In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon olive oil on medium heat and add in the onions. Sauté this for about 3-4 minutes.
- Then add in the garlic and sauté for about a minute.
- Next, add in the spinach and cook on medium heat for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the spinach has wilted and looks almost cooked take it off the heat. While cooking the spinach do not cover the pan with a lid. Then blitz the spinach with just a splash of water in your food processor or blender until smooth. . Keep this aside for a bit.
- Then in the same pan, add the remaining oil together with the cumin seeds and ginger.
- Sauté for about a minute and then add in the green chili and dried red chili together with the turmeric, salt, pepper, coriander powder and garam masala. Cook this for about a minute.
- Add in the pureed spinach, another splash of water and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Adjust the seasoning as required. Throw in the cubed paneer pieces and turn off the heat and serve hot with chapattis!
So what are you up to this Meatless Monday?