Dishes like palak paneer make me thankful that about half of India is vegetarian. Paneer, often referred to as "Indian cottage cheese" on menus (though it more closely resembles halloumi), sears beautifully and is a perfect addition to simple vegetable dishes. It's traditionally cooked in a spicy puréed spinach curry, but you can also toss it with sautéed mustard greens or Swiss chard to add protein and texture.
- 2 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter)
- 8 ounces of paneer (can be found in freezer at Indian grocery stores), thawed if frozen and cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ white onion, finely chopped
- One 2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño, de-seeded and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 pound of spinach, washed thoroughly
- 1 ½ cups cooked basmati rice
- Salt, to taste
- Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Melt the clarified butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then sear the paneer cubes on 2 sides for 2 minutes each, until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
Add onions, ginger, garlic, jalapeño, and garam masala to the pan and sauté on medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until translucent. Add spinach, toss well to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted.
Transfer spinach mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, but not entirely puréed. Pour mixture back into pan, add the paneer, taste for salt, and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.