Thursday, 3 February 2011

Palak Paneer

This is one of those dishes you try and then say "Oh my god, I could totally be vegetarian, who needs meat?" I beg you to try this one when you next have a curry night. I have some friends coming over on Sunday for a curry night, little do they know it will all be vegetarian. This is because a. Dinner is cheaper without prawns and lamb, and b. Indian vegetarian food is the best out there. 
Now, I know this looks like a lot of work with the cheese, but it's easy really and is going to taste better than any packet paneer you can buy. (I have made this assumption having never bought it myself but I am cocky like that!)

To make the Paneer cheese - 250g
1.Bring 2litres of whole milk to the boil (I have used semi and it was fine) and as soon as it bubbles add 60ml of white wine vinegar and turn the heat off.  

2.The milk will curdle, this is good! Now pour it into a sieve lined with a cheesecloth and splash a little cold water over to stop sticking.
3. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze...

4. Once you think most of the water has come out, twist the cloth and place on a board in the sink. Pop another board on top and press firmly down until no more water can squeeze out.
5. Ta da! You have cheese in 5 minutes!
Now you have the cheese you need to make the spinach curry. I made a little spice dabba which everyone seemed to have in India. It looks pretty and smells incredible but it also so useful to just whip out and add this and that. You can also see when you're running out of something quickly.
In a hot wok and 2tbsp of veg oil or coconut oil add..
3 dried chillies
1tsp black mustard seeds
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
Wait until the mustard seeds pop..
Once popped, add finely chopped
5 garlic cloves
1/2 thumb of fresh ginger
2 fresh chillies
Once garlic is browned, add
1 chopped onion
1 chopped tomato
At this point, I added a bag and a half of spinach and a cup of water, stuck a lid on the wok for 5 mins to steam and then blended BUT my Indian friend taught me to boil/steam and chop the spinach before you start and then add. This is probably easier, but whichever you prefer. You must taste and add salt and pepper, it does need a good pinch or two of sea salt.
Add your paneer, cubed and stir in a little cream and butter just before stirring. You could skip the cream if health concious but I beg you not to skip the butter it does something magical at the end!

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