Yesterday, I wrote about how to make paneer so today I’m going to show a dish using it as the main ingredient. Once again, I turn to Ms. Anjum Anand for inspiration and guidance. I’ve had a similar dish before in restaurants so was eager to try it at home. It is a combination of spinach and paneer in a creamy sauce with garlic, ginger, and spices. I also made a batch of naan to accompany it.
When Erin noticed the paneer recipe yesterday, she pinged me on Twitter to inquire about where I found the time to make these things during the week. I confessed about working from home, so I do have extra time that I would have otherwise sacrificed for a commute.
Last night, I was quite ambitious. I started cooking with the intent of only making the paneer, then I decided to make this spinach dish with it for dinner. Mid-way through I realized how good it would taste with naan, so I started a batch of that as well. I began cooking around 7pm and didn’t finish until 10pm. A late dinner, but I had fun making it :-)
Once you have the paneer ready, this dish comes together quickly. Make sure to have all of the vegetables prepped and ready to go.
Spinach and Paneer
adapted from Indian Food Made Easy by Anjum Anand
2 12 oz. bags fresh baby spinach (approximately)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1-2 green chilies, whole
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground coriander
1 batch paneer cheese cut into 1″ cubes
1 tsp garam masala
2/3 cup whole milk (or 1/2 cup heavy cream)
Heat a pot of water until boiling. Add spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes until fully wilted. Remove and drain. Blend the spinach until it is a smooth paste. I didn’t do a very good job on this step and therefore my dish didn’t turn out with quite the right consistency. Next time I will make it more smooth.
Heat a pan over medium heat. Add oil and cumin seeds, cook for 30 seconds. Add onion and cook 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, and chillies (I used only one) – cook for an additional minute. The chili adds flavor but didn’t make it spicy.
Add coriander, and salt to taste. Add spinach and stir. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary to keep the mixture loose but not watery. I used about 1/4 cup water. Boil for 3 minutes.
Add paneer, garam masala, and milk. Stir and cook for a few minutes or until the spinach is creamy. Serve with naan or rice.
Aside from the flaw in not making the spinach smooth enough (which resulted in a not quite creamy consistency), it tasted great. I liked the punch of garlic and ginger in combination with the spinach. A healthy vegetarian meal that was filling but not too heavy. Oh, and the naan worked perfectly to scoop up chunks of paneer slathered in spinach!
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