A classic Indian dish, made from paneer and spinach.
Vegetarian. Hands-on time: 20 mins. Total time: 20 mins.
Contributed by (March 2003).
Paneer is a traditional Indian cheese from the dairy-rich state of Punjab. It is totally vegetarian, and widely used as a meat substitute in Indian cooking. In texture and appearance, it resembles tofu. And like tofu, it has the ability to absorb the flavors of whatever ingredients you cook it with.
Indian restaurants in the West sometimes translate paneer as farmer's or cottage cheese, but it is quite unlike those types of cheeses. It is much firmer and it retains its shape when cooked.
Paneer goes particularly well with palek (spinach), as this spicy dish neatly demonstrates. You can serve it as part of a multi-dish Indian meal. Or, served with either rice or an Indian-style bread such as naan, it will make a delicious dinner for two.
- 2 tbsp. ghee or vegetable oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 red chili, finely chopped
- 1 - 2 tsp. of ground spices (your choice of turmeric, coriander, ginger, cumin, etc., in any combination)
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- Several sprigs of spinach (about 4 oz, 110 g)
- One 6-oz (175 g) pack of paneer, cut into small cubes
- 1/3 cup (3 fl oz, 90 ml) of hot water
- A few leaves of fresh cilantro (coriander) or parsley
Heat the oil or ghee in a large skillet or wok. Add the onions and cook for about five minutes.
Add the garlic, chili, spices and tomato. Cook for a further five minutes.
Add the potato, spinach, paneer and hot water. Boil gently for 10 - 15 minutes, or until the potato is soft. Add the cilantro or parsley just before serving.
Note on quantities and temperatures:
Quantities are given in American (cups), imperial (oz, fl oz) and metric (g, ml) units. Do not mix the units - use one or other system throughout the recipe.
See also How much does a cup weigh?
oz = ounces, fl oz = fluid ounces, g = grams, ml = milliliters, tsp = teaspoons, tbsp = tablespoons.
Oven temperatures are given in degrees F (Fahrenheit) and C (Celsius).
For fan-assisted ovens, reduce the temperature by 20F or 10C.