There are Palak paneer and then there are absolutely good Palak Paneer like this. Spinach are powerhouse of nutrients and this pesto version of Palak Paneer is further enriched with goodness of cashews and green peas. This Palak Paneer is not your restaurant style Palak Paneer with oodles of creams floating atop but a very real one that highlights all the true flavours of this dish in real sense.
And if my four year old can licked her bowl of palak paneer clean, I could see no reason why it wouldn’t strike a chord with you or your kids. Believe me, it’s that good.
And after trying this am sure you will fall in love with this version of Palak paneer again and again.
Spinach are rich in two important minerals – calcium and iron , both are kind of building blocks of our body cells. But this is also true that absorption of iron is minimized in presence of calcium. For this reason alone, I do not pair spinach with paneer often. Leaving the iron part , this dish is calcium enriched – with goodness of spinach, cashews and paneer all rolled into this one dish.
My kid love all kinds and versions of pureed spinach, as pesto or as base for other gravies like this Sabzi diwani handi or Kashmiri methi chaman. I am sure other kids will love this too. Paneer is 100 percent homemade, there is nothing better than a good slab of homemade paneer. Here is how to make paneer at home.
Palak paneer / Spinach pesto with indian cottage cheese
- 2 bunch Fresh Spinach (my spinach bunch was thin)
- 200 gm Paneer
- 6-8 pieces Cashews
- ½ cup Green Peas
- 2 tbsp Ginger , chopped
- 1 Onion, a small one chopped
- 2 or 3 Green chillies
- 1 sprig Coriander leaves / cilantro chopped
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 2 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- ½ tsp Garam Masala powder
- Salt and sugar to taste
- Oil for frying paneer
- 10 gm Butter
- 2 tbsp Milk / cream
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- 1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- Wash and clean the spinach leaves throughly. Chop them roughly and blanch in hot water with salt and pinch of turmeric.
- Cool it and puree it in mixer along with cashews, half portion of green peas, ginger, chopped coriander leaves, onion, green chillies and lemon juice. Make it a coarse paste.
- In a pan, warm up the butter. Saute the remaining green peas. Then add the spinach puree. Once the water dried up completely, add all the spices mentioned above. Keep sauteeing at medium heat. Add salt and sugar around 1 teaspoon .
- After adjusting the seasonings, add warm water as per the gravy consistency.
- In a separate pan, heat the oil and lightly fry the paneer pieces till golden brown.
- Add the paneer pieces to the spianch gravy. Mix it lightly.
- Stir in milk or cream.
- In a separate pan, warm up the ghee. Temper the ghee with fenugreek seeds. After tempering remove the fenugreek seeds and stir in the flavoured ghee into the palak paneer. This is to further enhance the flavours.
- Serve the palak paneer with roti, naan or kulcha.
Hot Tips On How To Store Spinach –
Wash the spinach. Take care to weed out the slimy and half rotten leaves. If leaves are big, then roughly chop it. Else no need to chop the spinach if leaves are small. Drain the water completely by keeping it in colander for an hour. Store it in airtight box and refrigerate it. Spinach stored this way can stay fresh and crisp for around ten days.
Hydroponic Spinach – There is another reason why this Palak paneer is so special – these spinach are hydroponically grown. Yes, you hear me right. These are hydroponically grown spinach , meaning these spinach are grown without soil, in a water solvent enriched with all the required and necessary nutrients.
So how does it taste? To tell you the truth, I didn’t find much difference between hydroponically grown spinach and soil grown one, except the fact that spinach leaves were very fresh, free of mud, so less washing required, not slimy and very crisp.
Why go hydroponic way ? First, it requires no soil, hence top soil erosion can be checked to a great extent. Second, it requires less water to grow also. Third a vertical garden is possible, that means less space and more produce. All the three factors listed above are so good and conducive for sustainable environment.
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