Lockdown Saviour 2.0: Home Style Palak Paneer

Another lockdown recipe which doubles up for two meals if cooked in a sufficient quantity is Palak paneer.

One can pair it as a subzi with phulkas or mix it with rice turning it into a palak paneer rice dish. It’s easy to make and quite satiating.

Ingredients:

  • Paneer 300gms
  • Palak two medium sized bunches
  • Onions, 2
  • Tomatoes, 2
  • A tbsp. Of filtered groundnut or any cooking oil

For the masala:

  • Whole masalas:
  • Few cloves
  • Few peppercorns
  • A couple of small bay leaves (tejapatta)
  • Jeera
  • A few cardamom pods
  • A piece of cinnamon
  • Cashew, soaked – 6 to 7
  • Ginger, Garlic and Green chilli pounded to a coarse paste
  • Ground/powdered masalas:
  • Dhaniya powder
  • Amchur powder (dry mango powder)
  • Kasuri methi
  • Hing
  • Ground mustard powder (a tiny amount)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste

Method:

  • Cut paneer into cubes and set it aside
  • Keep aside a large-ish piece to grate into the dish once done
  • Blanch the spinach and set it aside
  • Temper all the Dry whole masalas viz. Jeera, Bay leaves, cardamom etc. and then add the ginger, garlic and green chilli paste
  • Add the soaked cashews and sauté for a minute
  • Add the onions and tomatoes and sauté for a few more minutes
  • Add salt and sugar to taste
  • Add the powdered masalas viz. Dhaniya powder, hing, Amchur and sauté the mix until cooked and mushy, this should take a few more minutes
  • Set it aside
  • In a mixer pop in the cooked masala with the blanched spinach with some water and purée it
  • To a hot wok or kadhai transfer the puréed palak masala and add the cubes paneer
  • Check on the salt and sugar
  • Serve with diced onions and a wedge of lime
  • Enjoy with hot phulkas or rice

Simple meals in complicated times

Now that we’re experiencing this life of ‘social distancing’, we’re trying our best to be as judicious with our food consumption as possible. No extras and no untimely snacks.

With the scarcity of processed food, perishable produce is what most are relying on with no real guarantee of quality. Each trip to the local vendor comes along with fear of “what if this stops too?” and a side of guilt when one knows about the situation of the daily wager.

Our morning meal is a simple potatoes, spinach (which I was lucky to find) and onion raita accompanied with hot rotis. This raita is filling and packed with veg. One can have this raita with pulao too.

It’s a quick and filling fix when we’re running short on time and energy given that chores need to be completed. Some might argue the combination of spinach and yoghurt to be a no go, however I am okay making the one odd exception once in a while.

It’s filling and delicious and one could add anything to it to make it hearty.

Here’s my recipe.

Ingredients for the Raita:

  • Boiled potatoes
  • Blanched spinach (optional)
  • Finely chopped onion
  • Coriander & Mint from our kitchen garden
  • Salt
  • Mustard powder
  • Hing
  • Cumin powder
  • Red chilli powder
  • 2 Pods of fresh garlic or garlic chives (optional)
  • Yoghurt

Method:

  • Cube the potatoes and boil them
  • Chop the spinach and blanch it
  • Chop the herbs and onion super fine
  • Whisk the yoghurt add water if necessarily thinning it down to the desired consistency
  • Add all the ingredients and the masalas to the yoghurt
  • Set it aside the raita to cool

Here’s wishing all a safe and healthy stay at home.