09 June 2013

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer is one of the famous Punjabi dish. Most of the Indian hotels serving north-indian cuisine, have this recipe in their menu. This is very healthy recipe as it combines both palak and paneer, which has numerous health benefits. Children will surely enjoy this version of palak than any other versions, as this gravy gives a unique taste and flavor and goes very well with any rice items or any Indian bread like roti, chapathi, paratha etc.

Before going to the recipe let us see how eating this healthy green leafy vegetable along with paneer offers us good health.

Health benefits of Palak (Spinach):

1. Spinach is a rich source of vitamin A and reduces the risk of eye diseases, like night blindness, itching eyes and eye ulcers.
2. Spinach is also rich in potassium and low in sodium, which helps in reducing blood pressure.
3. Spinach is rich in minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus which help in building strong bones and lowering the chances of osteoporosis.
4. Studies show that spinach lowers the cancer risk by 34%, particularly breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and stomach cancer.
5. Another important mineral, iron, which is found abundantly in spinach, is known to reproduce red blood cells, thereby preventing chances of anemia.
6. It is advisable for pregnant women to include spinach in their regular diet as folate found in it is needed by the growing fetus for development of a new nervous system.



Here is the picture of Palak (washed and cleaned).



Health benefits of Paneer:

1.  Paneer is a good source of calcium, which helps build strong bones and teeth, and also prevents osteoporosis.
2.  Paneer is a good source of protein and it reduces cancer risk.
3.  Paneer can prevent stomach disorders and even help with your bones as you get older, especially in women.
4.  It also helps in lower, back and joint pain.

In this recipe, yoghurt is used instead of tomato. Alternatively, you can omit yoghurt and in its place either use finely chopped tomatoes or tomato puree, as you like.

Ingredients:

Palak – 1 Bunch, chopped
Paneer – 10- 15 cubes
Onion (Medium) – 1
Garlic pods – 6 to 8, chopped very fine
Ginger (Juvenile) – 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Oil – 4 tsp
Yoghurt – 2 tbsp
Green chillies – 3, chopped very fine
Coriander powder – ½ tsp
Cumin powder – ½ tsp
Garam masala powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Kasoori Methi – 1 tsp (optional)
Butter – 2 to 3 slices



Pre-requisite:

1. In a broad container/bowl, fill it with water and bring it into a nice boil and then add the chopped palak and cook for 3-4 minutes max and remove. Strain the excess water using colander/strainer. Cool and grind to a thick paste and keep the palak paste ready.


2. Grind one onion into a fine paste and keep the onion paste ready.

Method:

1. In a Kadai/non-stick pan, heat oil, add the cumin seeds and allow it to splutter.



2. When cumin seeds splutters, add the finely chopped garlic, juvenile ginger, chopped green chillies and fry well, until the garlic pieces becomes very aromatic and starts turning light brown.



3. Now add the onion paste and chopped green chillies and fry well. Let the onion paste cook for about 5 minutes on low flame until the raw smell goes and gets well cooked.



4. Add the coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric powder and mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.




5. Add the yoghurt and mix well and cook for another 3-4 minutes.


6. Add the ground palak paste and mix well. Add required salt and allow the mixture to cook well.

7. Add garam masala powder and kasoori methi (optional) & mix and cook for a minute or two.


8. Now add the paneer cubes, and toss around, so it gets mixed well in the palak gravy (ensure the paneer pieces do not break) and cook for another 3-4 minutes.


. At the end, add butter slices on the gravy and wait for the butter to melt and mix well with the gravy and then remove. (This step is a substitute for cream. Alternatively, you can also use cream at this juncture).



Tips:

1. Cook the palak uncovered, this helps to retain the green color of the palak.
2. Cook palak only for 3-4 minutes max and do not allow cooking for longer time, as this will change the taste of the gravy.
3. In place of cream, butter can be substituted.
4. Avoid red chilly powder and instead use only green chillies for better spicy taste.


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