Friday, 26 September 2014

Palak Paneer*, (you will succeed where I...mostly? succeeded)

As you know, I’m currently living in a house with the whole fam. We're taking turns cooking, and I'm trying each time it's my turn to use at least one ingredient that I have never seen before, or never cooked with before. Palak paneer is always one of my favourite dishes at Indian restaurants in Canada, and I had never cooked with paneer before. So this COULD BE DELICIOUS. 

I suggest, if you have never had this dish, that instead of scrolling down to my photo of my finished product, you Google it, or like, get Indian take-out or something. I promise that is a better idea. Continue reading to find out how you can do this better than I did, because you probably have a reasonable selection of kitchen appliances!!! Mine still tasted good but it looks a little wrong.


Time: about a half hour including simmer-time
Serves: 4? how hungry are you?
Easiness: Easy

You need:
-          paneer (Indian homemade cheese—you can get it in some grocery stores/Indian stores/in India…also it is apparently quite easy to make yourself  but I didn’t do that so I can’t help you there.) Amount: however much you want—this is the main protein of the dish. The only protein. Cut into 1- inch cubes.
-          1 large onion
-          5 cloves garlic
-          about a square inch piece of ginger
-          turmeric
-          cayenne
-          cumin
-          coriander
-          garam masala
-          1 tablespoon honey
-          salt n pepa
-          5 tablespoons vegetable oil
-          a whole bunch of spinach. Like the amount that would fit in your largest frying pan, or more than that. Also, you can use frozen spinach for this if you want, it might even be better but I wouldn’t know because you basically can’t buy frozen foods in this town at all.
-          1 green Serrano chili
-          ½ cup yogurt, milk, or coconut milk, or other similar edible substance
-          beer for the chef
     1.  Pour yourself some beer into a glass, because you are a classy chef

     2.  Put on rice because you know you will forget to later (but remember to take it off when it’s done because I’m not going to remind you)

     3.  Whisk 3 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon honey, some water if needed, a teaspoon of salt, and a bunch of turmeric and cayenne (who actually measures their spices?) in a large bowl. Throw your paneer cubes in the bowl and mix them around until they are coated, then leave to marinate while you do other things

    check out those cubes
         4.  Chop onions. Now is your opportunity to cry about anything you've been meaning to cry about. Let it all out.

         5.  Pull yourself together. Seek solace in beer, but not before removing bug, which has drowned in beer.
         6.  Mince ginger. Smash (or “chop” if you’re boring) the garlic. Throw ginger, garlic, and onion in a BIG frying pan, over medium-low heat, with about 2 tablespoons of oil.
         7.  Add finely chopped Serrano chili now!!! Or, alternatively, for a less spicy meal, forget not only to add but even to buy Serrano pepper, and instead throw in two dried red chilies at the very last second, in manner of bay leaves, sort of.

         8.  Add cumin, about 2 heaping teaspoons or however much you want. Now listen up! THIS NEEDS TO SIMMER FOR LIKE FIFTEEN MINUTES!!!! This is the time when all the spices enter into one holy union of tastiness. You cannot rush into something like that, it’s a big deal. The only thing you need to do to this pan now is add a bit of water and stir it, if you feel like things are sticking or burning

         9.  While that is happening, throw your marinated paneer cubes on a different pan and let them brown on one side. Take them off after a few minutes and leave on a plate.

        10.  While that is happening, blend your spinach in a food processor or related appliance (defrost frozen spinach in microwave first)**
        11.  Once 15 minutes have passed, and/or onion pan has become a golden, caramelized bed of tastes worthy of posting on a food-porn Tumblr blog or something, it is time to add MORE SPICES. Add about a teaspoon each of garam masala, and coriander*** and let the whole thing simmer for another 3-5 mins. Add more water so the spices don’t burn.

        12.  Add spinach, along with ½ cup of water. Simmer until spinach is dark green and cooked.

        13. Turn heat down or off, and slooooowly add milk or yogurt (if you go fast it could curdle). Stir it in, then add paneer and simmer until everything is warm. 

    Serve on rice, with naan or chapatti or nothing. Drink some more beer, and revel in the warm praise of your happy dinner guests, awed by your attractiveness and magnificent cooking skills (or eat it by yourself, I’m not judging you).

    please read on for explanations of why yours will look more
    beautiful. Try the recipe, I swear it's good!!!!!

    *well, yours will be. mine was…similar.
    **I don’t have a blender, and also the spinach I was able to buy here was 99% stems, so my end result looks less smooth and soupy and more like a swamp. Hence why I placed the photo at the end of the recipe.
    ***I’m saying that to sound civilized. really just take a knife and poke a respectable quantity of spices out or the jar. later you may add more! Who knows. Live dangerously. Be free. let your long hair blow in the wind.


    this recipe was adapted from here and here

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