Paneer was never a staple ingredient at home during my childhood and neither was it so easily available as it is now. I have a very vivid memory of perhaps one of the first times we had it...we were returning home from a trip to newly opened Esselworld in Mumbai..and we stopped for dinner at a restaurant somewhere in Goregaon if I am not wrong. We were two families who had made this trip to Mumbai’s first amusement park. So coming back to palak paneer, this was one of the dishes ordered and I remember one of us kids didn’t want it as paneer was not an acquired taste then :-) . Anyways now it is dish I make quite often and this is the recipe I follow...
6 packed cups of roughly chopped palak,
2 small tomatoes,
Green chillies to taste,
10-12 cloves of garlic,
1 tbsp ginger paste,
200 grams paneer,
1 tbsp oil,
1 small chopped onion (optional),
Salt to taste,
½ tsp red chilli powder,
½ tsp coriander powder,
½ tsp cumin powder
Cook the palak, chopped tomato, chopped green chillies, garlic cloves and ginger paste till done. Let cool completely and grind to a fine puree.
Dice the paneer. Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onion if using it and fry till it is light brown in colour, then add the paneer cubes, red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. Saute for about 5 minutes then add the pureed palak, salt to taste and about a cup of water. Cook for another 10 minutes and turn off the heat. Goes well with rotis or pulao.