Prema from Singapore writes:
“I made the Chapatis with Palak Panir yesterday, both following the recipes in your ‘Great Vegetarian Dishes’ book. They turned out well. Great recipes.
I actually softened the finely chopped spinach in boiling water for 5 minutes and ground it slightly first before adding it to the spice paste. Is there a reason why the recipe does not suggest grinding the spinach as that is how they seem to serve in restaurants?”
It is a matter of taste whether you puree the spinach or not. Although you are right that many cooks blend the spinach, I have also tried it where the spinach has just been chopped, leaving it textured.
Also, it’s a matter of taste whether the panir is left raw, or whether it is fried a little before adding to the spinach. The amount of cream is also really optional.
In my recipe, I suggest to chop the spinach rather than puree it. I leave the panir cheese fresh and raw, and I add a decent amount of cream. But it is certainly open to adjustment, although I don’t suggest you fiddle around with the spice paste, since that is what gives it a very special flavour.
For all those readers now salivating over this entry, here’s my simple recipe:
Creamed Spinach with Fresh Curd Cheese (Palak Panir)
Spinach with home-made curd cheese and cream is one of North India’s favourite vegetable dishes. There are dozens of regional varieties. Here’s a simple, quick-cooking version. Serve with rice or hot buttered chapatis. Serves 5-6
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 fresh hot green chili, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ghee or oil
2 large bunches of spinach, washed, trimmed steamed, drained and finely chopped
4 tablespoons cream
fresh homemade curd cheese (panir) made from 2 litres milk, cut into 1.25 cm cubes
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
Combine the ginger and chili in a food processor or blender and process with a few spoons of cold water. Add the coriander, paprika, cumin, and turmeric and blend to form a smooth spice paste. Scrape the paste into a bowl.
Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the spice paste , and fry it for 1 or 2 minutes or until very fragrant. Fold in the spinach, combining it with the spices.
Cook over moderate heat for about 5 more minutes, or until the spinach reduces a little more in volume.
Fold in the cream; add the cubes of panir, the garam masala, and the salt. Cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes and serve hot.
Posted by Kurma on 13/6/07; 7:08:08 AM