Palak Paneer – how my heart skips a beat!

There is a resturant in Karachi, called Barbeque Tonight, famous for its grilled meats, koftas, ribs, steaks, tikkas, etc., etc., etc.. Celebrities, politicians, dignitaries, foreigners come to dine there and I have to admit their Malai Boti and Shish Tawook koftas are amazing. If you find yourself in the Defence/Clifton area of Karachi, have no two thoughts about it, go straight to Barbeque Tonight and you will have a meal fit for kings! And I’ll have you know that in dining there for more than ten years they are the most consistent place in terms of flavour, quality, quantity and service. Never have we had a complaint there and never have we heard of anyone else having a complaint. They are truly committed to giving each and every person that walks through their doors amazing service. Moving on from this glowing recommendation of our sponsor πŸ™‚ 

So it annoys some people in my family and friends (Mr. Mazhar – who is a complete carnivore- more than others) that I will NOT go to Barbeque Tonight and NOT have Palak Paneer. The one, of very few, vegetarian dishes on their menu. Trust me when I say this: “it is legen-wait for it-dary”. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever eaten. Amazing aroma and flavours of ginger and garam masala, silky and smooth spinach, creamy and soft pieces of cheese….oh my! My mouth is watering! 

Since moving to Abu Dhabi I have been on the lookout for a decent version of Palak Paneer to satisfy my craving but to no avail. So after much heartache and disappointment I decided to make my own Palak Paneer, thank you very much! I found a couple of recipes online but couldn’t decide on which one to follow exactly, and so it happened that I used two recipes together, some steps from each and came up with my version that was so close to the original it’s almost criminal! I tried it out as a side dish at a lunch party and my guests couldn’t stop raving about it. They finished the entire dish and complained that I had made too little. Since then my sister and one of my cousins have been asking me for the recipe again and again. So here we are with this recipe. I will give credit where it’s due. I read Rachel Allen and Anjum Anand’s recipes and used a little bit of both to come up with my version. You can try this or go to the experts but do give it a try. It is a truly mouth watering dish.

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy making it too.

                                                                                                                                        

Palak Paneer

Ingredients 

  • 750g spinach, roughly chopped

  • 1 tsp cumin, whole

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into long julienne

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1-2 green chillies, whole 

  • 2 tsp coriander powder 

  • salt, to taste

  • 250g frozen paneer, thawed

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 6 tbsp whole milk, or 4 tbsp cream

  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste


Method

  1. Bring a large pot filled with water to the boil. Then turn it down to a simmer and blanch the spinach in it for three minutes or until wilted. Drain into a colander and run cold water over it until cool. This will help the spinach to keep its vibrant green color. Using a hand-blender, blend the spinach to a smooth paste and set aside.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a large non-stick pan and add the cumin. Fry it for about 30 seconds, then add the onion and fry over a low heat until they turn translucent and soft. We don’t want to brown them. Then add the ginger, garlic and chillies and cook for about a minute. 
  3. Add the ground coriander and salt to taste. Cook for another 30 seconds then add the spinach and a few tablespoons of water. Bring the mix to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes. 
  4. In a frying pan add a small knob of butter and bring up to heat on a medium flame. Fry the paneer cubes in the butter till they are golden brown around the edges. As soon as that happens add them into the spinach mix along with the garam masala and milk or cream. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the spinach is nice and creamy. The mix should be nice and smooth not too thick or stodgy. Stir in the lemon juice to taste.
  5. You may wish to garnish it with some pieces of thinly sliced garlic and / or whole round red chillies browned in some hot ghee (clarified butter). This is optional.

And it’s ready! The fragrance of this dish is what I find to be the most appetising aspect. Not to mention that the taste is out of this world too! Hope you enjoy it too. Happy cooking! Hope you all have a great weekend!

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    2 Comments Add yours

    1. hynasami3 says:

      We ordered some palak paneer among the other tikka and mutton Karachi dishes from barbecue tonight for our special guest Sunday evening and I have to say we only had bits left – he thanked us for our hospitality and I thank bbq tonite πŸ™‚

    2. nigamin says:

      I have been waiting for this one. Jzkl. Happy Weekend

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