Thursday, February 19, 2009
Palak Paneer and Secret of Popeye's Strength
Popeye had it right when he said " I'm strong to the finish when i eats me spinach, i Popeye the sailor man! toot toot (pipe)". Whenever he is bludgeoned by Bluto, the evil villain, this can of spinach magically appears in his hand and once popped into his mouth can and all, it gives him strength of immense proportions. He can now single handedly eliminate all villains and get the babe of his dreams...
I think this story has long been used by mom worldwide to get their kids to eat spinach. I wonder what it is about kids, that if their mom says something it can never be right, but if some silly cartoon character says the same thing, then the matter is taken to be gospel truth. I mean, is it fair to all us moms out here that a cartoon character has to be used each single time to get kids to eat healthy? But one thing in the kids favor at least as far as spinach is concerned, I can safely say I understand. I hated spinach with a passion as you can see from this story here. But once I developed a taste for it, there was no stopping me.
There is a restaurant in Madras that serves up some of the most delicious Palak Paneer. Along with a hot "kadak" tandoori roti,.... oooh la la....
I have tried many different recipes for palak paneer but the perfect recipe has always eluded me till I saw Nita Mehta's book " Paneer all the way" which showed me the exact recipe. The taste was the exactly what I remembered from the restaurant.
This is the recipe as mentioned in her book.
150 grams paneer
1/2 kilo spinach ( Delhi Palak)
1 teaspoon jeera seeds
2 large onions
1 inch piece ginger
4-6 cloves garlic
2 tomatoes chopped finely
2 green chillies
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons ghee
2 pods cardamom
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
Clean the spinach well and cook the leaves along with 1/2 cup water over a low flame. When done, grind coarsely in the mixie.
Grind the onions, ginger and garlic in the mixie separately.
Heat two tablespoons ghee, and add jeera. When they turn start sizzling, add the onion paste. Fry till the oil separates and the onions turn golden brown.
Add the chopped tomatoes and chopped green chillies.
Fry again till tomatoes turn mushy and oil separates.
Add the ground spinach paste. Add a few tablespoons of water in case it is too thick.
Cook for 5-7 minutes longer and then add salt.
Add cardamom and paneer. Mix well take off the fame.
At the time of service, heat 1 tablespoon ghee and add 1 teaspoon of red chilly powder and take of the flame. Pour over the heated palak paneer.
Serve hot along with rotis, chapatis , rice etc...