Friday, January 7, 2011

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer

This is our favorite Indian dish.  Paneer (Indian cheese) is easy to make yourself or to find in an ethnic market, although I often use ricotta salata as a substitute. Traditionally the cheese would be fried, but I skip that step to lighten up the dish. I've also used frozen spinach rather than fresh, and fat-free half and half instead of the sour cream.

-2 Tbsp olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
-2 dried red chile peppers
-1 onion, diced
-2 teaspoons ground cumin
-1 teaspoon ground coriander
-1 teaspoon ground turmeric
-3/4 cup sour cream
-3 pounds fresh spinach, torn
-1 large tomato, quartered
-4 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves
-8 oz paneer
-salt to taste

In a large pan heat olive oil and saute garlic, ginger, red chilies, and onion until brown. Mix in the cumin, coriander, turmeric and sour cream (add more or less to achieve desired creaminess). Add the spinach, handfuls at a time until it is cooked down, about 15 minutes total. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour spinach mixture into a blender or food processor and add the tomato, and cilantro. Blend for 15 to 30 seconds, or until the spinach is finely chopped. Pour back into the saucepan and keep warm over low heat.  Add the cheese to the spinach and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Season with salt to taste. Serve over rice.

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