Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Palak Paneer from UK

I call this dish Palak Paneer from UK because I saw this recipe on a show on UKTV Food. I am always intrigued when English chefs cook Indian food on TV. All the ingredients seems so much more exotic when they talk about it. Everyday items from an Indian Kitchen like curry leaves, cumin powder, garam masala, fresh coriander and ginger-garlic paste which are used by me without giving them a second thought appear so much more glamorous on TV.

Terms like beautiful and gorgeous are used very frequently to describe very commonly used spices,but I must say they do make you see stuff in your own kitchen from a different perspective. And I like that. sometimes while cooking something mundane I pretend I am on a TV show and say things like "Now lets put some of this gorgeous yellow turmeric powder in our curry" or "I am going to chop some of this beautiful fresh green coriander and garnish my lovely crunchy salad" It really makes me laugh while cooking and takes away some of the boredom out of everyday cooking .

I am sure by now all of you are thinking "This Anupama has really lost it this time" But you know what even as a kid of 12 or 13 I used to browse through Tarla Dalal's recipe books while eating something very ordinary at home like rice and dal or something similar and pretend that I was eating the dish that was reading about.

Before I saw this recipe on TV I always made Palak Paneer in a slightly different way. I never used tomato in it and I admit I always felt that my dish always lacked something that I could not really put my finger on. But I loved it this time.

So these are the things I used:

2 bunches of baby spinach leaves finely chopped , 1.5 onions finely chopped, 1 large tomato finely chopped, 4 cloves garlic crushed, 1/2 inch piece of ginger, 1.5 tspn coriander powder, 1.5 tspn cumin powder, 1/2tspn garam masala, 1 green chilly chopped, 1/2 cup milk, 2 cups paneer cubed, salt to taste, 3 tblspns oil

And this is what I did:

1. Heat the oil and saute the ginger , garlic and chilly for few seconds,

2. Add the chopped onions and fry these for a minute,

3. Next add the chopped tomato and the spice powders and cook until the raw smell of tomato disappears. Add small quantities of water so the masala does not stick to the bottom of the pan,

4. Now add the spinach, lower the heat to medium and slow cook the spinach until completely cooked,

5. Next add the milk. You can use cream here but milk also gives a great creamy flavour without all the unnecessary calories,

6.Cook further for 2 to 3 minutes until the whole dish gets a creamy texture, now add salt, and check the seasoning

7. At the final stage add the cubed paneer (I did not fry the paneer, but while I was cooking the spinach I immersed the entire block of paneer in warm water. This really softens the paneer beautifully) and cook on a low heat for just one min and switch of the gas.

Palak paneer never tasted so good to me . So do give it a try.


Nabeela said...

I used to salivate over food pictures from Tarla Dalal's books too as a kid. But I only got into cooking after I got married.

Rajitha said...

you are so right...the way the food network cooks ( i do not call them chefs) ooh and aah on the ingredients..i go back and check them out in my pantry too ;) and anupama u are not the only one who is doing live tv show at home...you have a buddy in me ;)

Suganya said...

Haha.. No dear, I don't think you have gone nuts. Been there, done that ;)

Cinnamon said...

I shud indeed try this, it looks delicious... and abt the food programs on TV, I totally agree with you :)
And as suganya, said.... i guess everyone does these kind of crazy things sometime or the other :)

meeso said...

It was cute to picture you saying that while you're cooking :) The dish looks soooo good!

Nabeela said...

You've been tagged Anupama!

Swaroopa said...

looks Gr8 im sure it tastes good too..

Latha Narasimhan said...

You write up reminded me of the first time my daughter came after staying in the hostel! She yearned for all the things that were supposed to be simple and boring!:D Americans and europeans are famous for exaggerating things! Ofcourse our turmeric has great qualities and it is ok to say gorgeous!:))
Your UK paneer in spinach gravy is great!:))

Linda said...

Hi Anupama -- that palak paneer looks beautiful to me ;) So does your autumn in a plate for that matter! Over on this side of the pond, I keep reading Indian menus/books that say things like "spicy lentil soup with vegetables and curry powder" when they really mean sambhar. Curry powder, what a pity :)

TBC said...

Hey Anupama,
I saw one of your pics used here-
http://indiancomfortfood.blogspot.com/2007/10/khandvi.html... maybe u already know about it?

Nupur said...

This post made me laught out loud! Like you, I too do "pretend" shows sometimes to have some fun in the kitchen. I pretend that our dog, who always sits outside the kitchen when I cook, is the "audience".

Anupama said...

She has gorgeous pics doesn't she Nabeela?

Yes Rajitha, Its really hilarious they go on and on with all the superlatives. i am glad I am not the only one who thinks so.

Suganya, Looks like we all have this trait in common

Thanks Cinnamon after doing this post I have started noticing the adjectives used by all the TV cooks even more.

Hi again Meeso, I find it very funny when i speak to myself. Thankfully I don't do it very often or my husband would really start worrying

Yes Swaroopa, Looks are definitely not deceptive in this case

Thanks Latha, yes I admit our spices are really gorgeous or else the rest of the world would not have gone so gaga over indian food

Thanks so much Linda. And yes Curry Powder suddenly makes the food sound completely diffrent than what it really is.

Thanks a million times TBC for letting me know. I was not aware of it. I have left a comment for that blogger. It was a bit upsetting. i hope she removes the pic from there soon

That's Dale isn't it Nupur? I wonder what she thinks when you do that

Kribha said...

This dish looks super delicious. I agree with you about how the chefs describe the cooking. I also do that talk sometimes. You are not alone.

Mahek said...

i totally agree with you that Indian food cooked by foreign chefs the words used to describe the spices make them more exotic
i normally watch nigella lawson in India and she uses such great words like warm,earthy for spices