359 Days of DSM, which had been gathering cobwebs since I decided to hang up my blogging gloves and pick up US Government and History books. DSM is almost updated. It took almost two weeks to update a month and a half of clicks. As of today, only three days remain to be uploaded. Fruits of procrastination are not sweet, believe me!
Next, to figure out blogger in draft and revamp DSM to look all spiffy and hi-tech like, err... the other spiffy and hi-tech blogs.
While in the midst of updating a daily blog (yes, I am aware it is an oxymoron) and revamping the original blog, I decided to do a quick Google search for Kothimbir Vadi (roughly translated, steamed cilantro pudding?) and landed on Nupur’s One Hot Stove and almost sizzled with excitement over her The Adaptation Edition. A perfect come back for yours truly who has a hard time following a recipe to a T.
Besides, the way I look at it, Indian cooking is versatile enough to substitute chole masala instead of garam masala and add cream cheese instead of heavy cream in a restaurant-style curry. The result is unpredictable but rarely, if ever, undesirable.
I understand the recipe challenged ones need exact measurements in teaspoons and tablespoons, but most Indian cooks just eyeball their spices while cooking and if you are like me, keep going back to the kitchen to measure the spice in a teaspoon while writing down the recipe.
However, I digress. The search for kothimbir vadi was prompted by a surplus of cilantro and was subsequently discarded in the absence of a steamer. However, a big box of baby spinach sealed the deal in favor of palak paneer. I do have a tried and tested go-to recipe but the lure of Nupur’s event and the luxury of some free time prompted another google search. This time, I zeroed in on Indira’s Palak Paneer, Punjabi shtyle and took some tips along the way from that very passionate Vah Chef (if you do click on this link, ignore the ditsy girl who can’t help overact on a cooking show!?).
One pot palak paneer. Click for recipe.
Here’s my version two of Palak Paneer, with no blanching of spinach, which frankly, I don’t care for. I like that Indira sautés the spinach in some oil, garlic and green chili, a girl after my own heart. Vah Chef adds kasoori methi to the mix, which does bring out the flavor of spinach, if it does have one. I have on occasion added frozen sarson (mustard leaves) as well to enhance the flavor of spinach.
2 bunches of spinach
2-3 green chilies, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped fine
1 big tomato, chopped fine or pureed
1 tbsp my MIL’s secret paste (ginger-garlic green chili)
1 tsp coriander cumin paste
2 tsp garam masala powder (I use Sanjeev Kapoor’s Kadhai masala)
1 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp of kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1 slab of tofu/ paneer, sliced into bite sized chunks
Wash spinach in plenty of water and discard any tough stems. Do not bother chopping the spinach.
Heat a heavy bottom vessel and add a teaspoon of oil. Add chilies and garlic and cook for a minute on medium heat till the raw smell of garlic turns fragrant. Add the washed spinach and let it wilt.
Turn off the heat once the spinach wilts. Let cool and then grind to a smooth paste.
Wipe clean the same vessel you wilted the spinach in and add one to two tablespoons of oil. As the oil heats up add the chopped spinach and the ginger-garlic green chili (GGGc) paste. On medium heat sauté the onions and the GGGc paste till fragrant.
Add all the dry powders except kasoori methi and sauté for another minute till the aromas invade every nook and cranny of your kitchen.
Add the kasoori methi and the chopped tomato (puree) and cook till the oil separates.
Add the pureed spinach and mix thoroughly. Add the paneer/ tofu, adjust the salt and cook for about ten minutes before turning it off.
1. I do not care to blanch spinach or any other veggies for that matter. To me it is a bothersome and time consuming step to cooking.
2. I also do not care for fried paneer/tofu. If you prefer it, go ahead and fry away all you want. Indira fries her paneer in ghee and I can imagine it tastes as good as it can get.