Category Archives: Wishful thinking

Palak Paneer (sort of)

There is a dish that I would love to learn how to make properly.  It hasn’t happened yet, but we’re getting closer!  Tonight I made lentils and rice (rice cooker, one cup lentils, one cup rice, some turmeric, salt, and if you like, a little ground cumin) and the desire struck me to have something green and vegetable like on the table.  I went and looked up various recipes for Palak Paneer, and sort of winged it.

I have always been under the impression that this dish required yogurt, but none of the recipes I found listed it.  One called for sour cream, which I just found weird.  One called for heavy cream which sounded fine, but I didn’t have any and wound up adding whole milk.  I was also out of paneer cheese, seeing as how I still haven’t learned how to make it (must correct this soon) and I have yet to find a store near me that sells it.

I don’t have any idea how much of anything I used.  When I finally get the blasted dish right, then I’ll worry about measuring and writing down what I’ve done.  I know this doesn’t make sense, but it’s how I work.  I grabbed some garlic and put it through the press because it’s easier than chopping, and tossed it into some olive oil and cooked it a bit.  I also tossed in some chopped onion, ginger, ground coriander, cumin seeds, turmeric, and a touch of red pepper (I don’t know, it’s the stuff in my husband’s special Indian food spice kit).  When the onions looked clear I added all of the spinach I could find in my fridge and cooked it down until it just looked like I had hardly any spinach at all.  At this point I added a tablespoon or two of tomato paste.

I took everything out of the pan and put it into a food processor.  I poured in a bit more olive oil and hit the button.  After a few seconds I grabbed the milk and added a little at a time, pulsing the mix in between pours.  When it was just a little too thin I pulled it out and put it in a small pan to simmer for a bit.  When it had the right consistency (and a pretty close flavor) I pulled it off to let it cool for a bit.

Like I said before, I didn’t have any paneer cheese, so I used what was in the fridge.  What was in the fridge happened to be goat cheese.  I think this is where things when horribly wrong.  The goat cheese melted into the palak way too easily.  It also had such an overpowering flavor that it took over the whole dish.  Since I think goat cheese is wonderful and can do no wrong, this wasn’t entirely a problem for me, but it just wasn’t… right.

I still have not mastered this dish, but believe me, when I do, you’ll know!