Inspiration: Anyone who has been to an Indian food restaurant has probably tasted Palak Paneer. The two words describe a popular combination of spinach, cubed fresh cheese, and curry spices that is commonly eaten with flat bread or rice. With the addition of cream or milk to temper spicy seasonings, Palak Paneer makes for a well-balanced contrast of textures and flavours that magically masks the individual spices contained in this curry. (You may not able to identify each flavour, but your tastebuds will love how they combine.)
Traditionally a slow cooked meal, Palak Paneer becomes faster and easier with Thermomix and is perfect for busy families. Paneer is easily and affordably made at home in just a few minutes. Started in the morning, your non-melting fresh cheese becomes a softer, blander counterpoint to the heat of the curry blend. Yum.
And as we break into new ways of cooking with a super kitchen machine, I propose that we give ourselves permission to take personal ‘liberties’ with traditional recipes. Most people will blanch the spinach in advance of adding to the recipe, but I find this unnecessary. Health conscious Thermomix fans who want to preserve nutrients can go one step further: reserve some spinach to be blended at the last minute for a light raw ‘kick’ if desired. Or not. You can choose to fry paneer before adding, or not. As always, adjust spices to your personal tastes. This is how I like Palak Paneer but please do make it your own!
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- about 10 g (0.4 oz) (small chunk) fresh ginger
- 25 g. (0.9 oz) oil (sunflower, canola etc, preferably not olive)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 250 g (8.8 oz) onion, quartered
- 200 g (7 oz) tomato, quartered (or substitute equal amount of diced canned tomato)
- handful fresh coriander (cilantro)
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 fresh green chili pepper (quartered)
- ⅛ tsp turmeric (optional)
- 300 g (10.5 oz) fresh spinach
- 100 g (3.5 oz) light cream (substitute with milk, soymilk, or even coconut milk for a flavourful twist)
- 100-200 g (3.5-7 oz) paneer, cubed -- make your own!
- Mince the garlic and ginger for 6 seconds/speed 6.
- Push food down sides of bowl with a spatula, add oil, onion, salt and chop 5 seconds/speed 5. Clear sides of bowl with spatula and cook 4 minutes/100°C/217ºF/speed 2.
- Add tomato, green chili, and spices except fresh coriander. Chop 5 seconds/speed 5. Cook 4 minutes/100°C/212ºF/speed 1.
- Add spinach. If it feels too full, pack it in and put the lid on! Cook 5 minutes/100°C/212ºF/speed 2. (If too full for the measuring cap to fit in place, just rest it gently on top and it will settle into place as the spinach cooks down.)
- Chop for 6 seconds/speed 6 (increase speed gradually to avoid hot splashing on start.) Clear the sides of bowl with spatula if needed and continue cooking 12 minutes/80°C/175ºF/speed 1, measuring cap removed. Enjoy the aroma! If opting for fried paneer, you may use this time to fry paneer cubes till golden.
- Add cream and fresh coriander/cilantro, replace measuring cap on lid and blend for 6 seconds/speed 6. Add paneer and heat for 3 minutes/90°C/195ºF/REVERSE/soft stir before pouring into a ThermoServer or serving bowl. (Alternatively, if adding fried paneer, toss gently into the warmed sauce just prior to serving.)
- Serve with rice, grains, or chapati (recipe coming soon!)
- make your own paneer with Thermomix (easier than making yogurt)
- watch for chapati recipe coming soon