I really fancied some palak paneer (spinach and paneer curry also known as saag paneer). But not the traditional kind- I wanted the kind made by our Indian restaurant back in France which uses Laughing Cow cheese instead of paneer.
I researched how the traditional palak paneer is made, noted what the spices and methodology were and just went for it. And did this hit the spot?! YOU BET IT DID!
675 grams spinach (fresh or frozen)
8 Laughing Cow cheese triangles (or equivalent)
2.5 inch (about 6.5 cm) piece of ginger chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 red or green chili
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp creme fraiche (optional)
I used frozen spinach and followed the cooking instructions on the pack. If using fresh, wash and place in a pan and cover until wilted. Move to the side.
Place the ginger, the garlic and the chili in a small blender. Add about 2 tbsp of water to blend into a paste.
Heat the oil in a pan which you can cover later. Add the ginger-garlic paste and sautee for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and the salt. Keep on medium high heat- cover and let this cook for 15 mins.
During that time put the Laughing Cow cheese into a bowl and add the garam masala and cayenne pepper. Mash up with a fork.
After spinach is ready, add the cheese and the creme fraiche. You do not need to add the creme fraiche- the curry holds its own without it. I’ve added it to give it the creamy texture like the restaurant in my hometown. Stir and cover. Lower the heat and let cook for another 10 mins stirring once or twice.
Serve with basmati rice with cumin seeds. Yum!!! Beth, Mom and Hanin- I think I succeeded in replicating the Punjab’s palak paneer!