Healthy Palak Paneer

Healthy Palak Paneer

I did a non-traditional, call it “fusion” Mushroom Spinach Curry some time ago. Now, here is the traditional Palak Paneer, but done in a healthier, modern way. Indians typically fry the paneer for this dish, but I don’t fry!

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Green is both the right way to eat and to live. Our environment, our food, and ourselves are inter-connected. Green Living is about Sustainability, Ecological Balance, and Social Justice. I spent today learning more about Green Living at Seattle’s wonderful Green Festival 2008. You can enjoy all their material free and online at the Green Festival Site.

Eating green foods is one of the most important parts of a healthy diet, and spinach is the king of greens. It is a rich source of iron and lutein-rich antioxidants that we all need. In Indian dishes spinach can be very tasty, but in Indian food you sometimes find vegetables that are overcooked. Leafy green vegetables lose many of their nutrients if they are overcooked. In this post, I offer you a delicious Indian dish, made in a simple and nutritious way. Here is another one of my recipes to enjoy spinach in a mushroom curry.

I used:
1 big bunch of fresh and tender organic spinach, finely chopped (by hand or food processor)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 4″ block of cottage cheese (you can make it at home, you can use store-bought, or use tofu for vegan substitute)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water
two small green chilies, halved
salt to taste
cilantro for garnish

My method:
1. Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F).
2. Wash and chop the spinach, and set it aside.
3. Dice the cottage cheese or tofu into 1″ (2.5 cm) cubes, and bake them in a lined baking tray until they look slightly brown.
4. Heat the oil in a pot on medium heat.
5. Once the is hot enough that you see a bit of steam, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a minute or so. Don’t let them burn!
6. Add the onions and ginger, and let them cook till the onions are translucent, but not burnt.
7. Add the green chilies, and let them cook for a minute.
8. Add the spinach, sugar, garam masala, salt, and about half a cup of water. Turn the heat on medium high, and let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes, so the liquid simmers.
10. Add the baked cottage cheese or tofu into the spinach, and let it cook on high heat for about 7 to 10 minutes, just until the mixture thickens. Keep stirring and tasting to make sure you don’t overcook the spinach, maintaining its freshness, color, and taste. Cooking on medium-high heat for a short time does just that.
11. Garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve with bread or rice. Enjoy!