Spinach & Cottage Cheese Gravy is often referred to as Palak Paneer in Hindi and is a very popular dish in the Indian cuisine. It is a vegetarian dish consisting of pureed spinach cooked with tempered spices and either cottage cheese cubes or potato cubes (I used both!). Because as both butter and cream are involved in making this dish, it can be rather heart unhealthy and should only be enjoyed occasionally. By the way, I used canola oil instead of butter and a lowfat (31% fat) version of the cooking cream. So we can call this Skinny Palak Paneer.
I had avoided attempting to make this dish as firstly I wasn't getting access to the spinach used in the authentic Palak Paneer and secondly assuming wrongly that it would involve a long cooking process. I realised only yesterday that I could just as easily substitute baby spinach and it actually is an easy quick dish to whip up.
Ingredients (2-3 servings)
100gm baby spinach
2 cups of ice cold water
200gm cottage cheese cubes (paneer cubes) or boiled potato cubes
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, chopped roughly
1 heaped tsp ginger garlic paste
1 medium tomato, cubed medium
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
Salt per preference
1/3 cup low fat whipping/cooking cream (extra for garnishing)
1) Wash and drain the spinach. Cut the vegetables.
2) Steam the baby spinach in a covered pot instead of blanching them in hot water. This way you would retain the nutrients of the spinach.
3) After 3-5 mins, the spinach would be cooked and wilted. Drain and immediately pour ice cold water over them to retain that gorgeous green hue. Set aside.
4) Take a medium sized pot, heat the 2 tbsp canola oil and fry the cumin seeds, chopped onions, sliced chilli and ginger garlic paste. When the onions are light brown, add in the chopped tomatoes and cook till soft.
5) Blend this tomato onion mixture with the drained cooled spinach till you get a smooth paste.
6) Heat the same pan again, add another 2 tbsp canola oil and fry all the spice powders for 5mins.
7) Pour in the spinach blend and stir to mix well.
8) Add in the salt and cream.
9) Mix well and simmer for 5 mins.
10) Add either potatoes or cubed cottage cheese in and simmer for a further 3 mins.
11) Garnish with a swirl of cream. Serve hot with boiled Basmati Rice or wholewheat flatbreads called chapathis.