Put a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile wash, clean and drain 2 big bunches of spinach to remove all grit. Then immerse spinach leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes.
Take out of hot water and immediately immerse in ice bath to cool instantly and help retain the bright green color (a tip I learnt, thanks to my friend Namita Tickare)
Lift spinach out of cold water, drain and purée along with 2-3 green chillies and 1/2 an inch of ginger.
Next, heat oil add 1/2 a tsp of jeera, a tsp of chopped ginger, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic (optional). Cook for a minute, add 1 medium onion chopped fine and sauté till they become light brown.
Add 1 large puréed tomato to the sautéed onions.
Cook to reduce masala and concentrate flavors. Add the puréed spinach and mix.
Add 2 tbsp of cream to the spinach mix.
Also add 1 tsp heaped of maida/ cornstarch blended in 2 tbsp of water.
Add salt, red chilli pwdr, dhania pwdr and some garam masala. Simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Meanwhile cut paneer into small cubes.
Spray another pan with a little oil, and do a quick sear on the paneer. Also lightly season paneer with a sprinkle of salt, red chilli, dhania pwdr.
Gently stir in the seared paneer in the spinach and heat through.
For the finishing touch…add a ghee ka chaunk with hing, jeera, lal mirch, a couple of green cardamom and 2-3 laung. Garnish with cream(optional) and serve hot!
We enjoy Palak Paneer with a side of alu gobhi, nimbu adrak, pyaz hari mirch and garma garam phulka/Khasta roti.
Note: for those who want to skip cream, you can add a little whole milk or 1 pack of frozen cream style spinach to the mix.
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