Palak Paneer (Spinach and Cheese)

Palak Paneer is one of my daughter’s favorite things to eat and I end up making this at least once a week. It contains the goodness of spinach and the protein of paneer, making it super healthy. Add a few spices, onions and tomatoes and it’s super yumm! This recipe was inspired by my mom. She taught me a different version of it a few years back. I modified it and tried a couple different variations of it, until I came up with this. My husband absolutely loves this version, as it’s similar to his absolute favorite dish cooked by me, paneer ki bhurji (Grated pressed cheese cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices). The story behind the bhurji is really interesting actually.

This was the first thing I ever cooked for him. We were courting then and my mum invited him over for lunch shortly after we got engaged. I was an amateur cook then. So while my mum cooked the rest of the food for the afternoon, I was cooking the paneer ki bhurji, while following her instructions. In the process, I confused coriander powder with garam masala and added two heaped teaspoons of garam masala to the bhurji instead of two teaspoons of coriander powder. Garam masala can be really pungent and in most of the food I cook, I add very little of it, from a pinch to half a teaspoon maybe. So to think I had added so much of it, I panicked! The one dish that I was cooking would end up being a disaster, and would probably not even end up on the table. But, my mom being the fabulous cook that she is, came to my rescue. We added quite a few tablespoons of heavy cream to it, to tone down the garam masala, and voilà to this day my husband says that was the best bhurji he has ever eaten! And I have never been able to replicate that!

Coming back to this recipe of Palak Paneer, I have combined a spinach and cheese recipe that my mom taught me with the paneer ki bhurji recipe and it tastes delicious!

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Here’s the recipe:

Palak Paneer

Ingredients:

  1. Spinach – 250 grams (roughly chopped)
  2. Olive oil – 1.5 tablespoon
  3. Onion – 1 large (chopped)
  4. Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  5. Black cardamom – 1
  6. Garlic – 1.5 teaspoon (minced)
  7. Ginger – 1 teaspoon (minced)
  8. Tomatoes – 2 (chopped)
  9. Salt – 1.5 teaspoon
  10. Turmeric – 1 teaspoon
  11. Paprika – 1/2 teaspoon
  12. Coriander powder – 2.5 teaspoons
  13. Garam masala – 1/4 teaspoon
  14. Paneer – 300 grams (grated)

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Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add black cardamom and cumin seeds. Saute for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add chopped onions and minced garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add minced ginger and tomatoes and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4.  Add salt, turmeric, paprika, coriander powder and garam masala. Saute for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add grated paneer (pressed cheese) to the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add chopped spinach and cook for 5 more minutes.
  7. Serve hot with Indian flat bread.

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I hope you enjoy this variation of palak paneer and I look forward to reading your comments and thoughts on this! Happy Cooking!

 

Spinach and Lentil Soup

This recipe was a request from one of my dearest friends. We went to university together back in India. We’ve seen each other through the ups and downs of college life. Many a times I have ended up crashing in her room. We have partied together, stayed up nights studying for exams, eating instant noodles and drinking coffee. The coffee making process used to be a welcome event – a break from the books! And though we haven’t seen each other for 8 years now, I know we’ve still got each other’s back!

This recipe is also a request from a newer friend. I have only known her for a few years now. She is one of the kindest people I know. She’s a mum to a very cute 2 year old. We bond over being mothers of toddlers and food amongst other things. I look forward to many more years of friendship with her!

This soup is a hearty vegetarian soup filled with the goodness of green vegetables and lentils, easy to cook and perfect for cold wintry nights. As with most of my soup recipes this one is super easy to make and one of my favourite soups. My 14 month eats it and she’s a picky eater so I consider her a great judge of my food! I know that if she’s eating it, it’s good!

Spinach is one of my favourite vegetables and you’ll always find some in my fridge. It’s so full of nutrition. Remember Popeye the sailor man? Spinach was his superfood! It’s low in calories and packed with Iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Red lentils are a healthy meat substitute for vegans. They’re rich in fiber and contain as much protein as a piece of steak! They are also packed with iron, folate and other minerals.

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Here’s the recipe:

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  1. Spinach – 120 gms
  2. Red split lentils – 1/4 Cup
  3. Carrots – 1 Cup (Chopped)
  4. Onions – 1/4 Medium onion (Chopped)
  5. Garlic – 2 Cloves (Chopped)
  6. Salt – 1 teaspoon
  7. Peppercorn – 1/4 teaspoon
  8. Nutmeg – 1/4 teaspoon
  9. Olive oil – 1 tablespoons
  10. Water – 3.5 Cups

Instructions:

 

  1. Add oil to the pot. Once the oil is hot, add carrots and garlic. Stir for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and stir for a few minutes, till the vegetables turn a little soft.
  3. Add lentils and water. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to the pot and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Once the lentils are cooked, add the spinach to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Use a hand blender to blend the contents of the pot and simmer for another couple of minutes.
  6. Serve hot with a side of sauted green beans and mushrooms. Stay tuned for that recipe!

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You could also eat it with nice warm crusty bread.

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I hope you enjoy this delicious bowl of soup!