It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. The last semester was really busy, so kudos to Laura for holding down the fort!
As Laura said a while ago, when life gets busy, it’s hard to find time to make anything new. I’ve been surviving on a steady diet of Italian Soup with White Beans and Greens and baked sweet potatoes, with a pie thrown in here and there. But the semester is winding down now, which means I’ve got a new recipe this week. Well, it’s new to you. Not to me. I’ve been making palak for several year as a quick weeknight meal.
Palak is an Indian spinach dish, made with spices and finished off with a touch of cream. Usually the dish is served with cubes of paneer (a firm Indian cheese), panfried until they brown on the edges. If you don’t have paneer, though, you can substitute firm tofu – cube and fry it the same way. If you don’t have paneer or tofu, you can also serve palak by itself as a side dish. (I went the side dish route this week.) It’s great over some steaming basmati or jasmine rice.
Palak is one of my favorite Indian dishes, and when I was in grad school, I asked a friend from India if she had a good recipe. She directed me to Betty Crocker’s Indian Home Cooking, which is where this recipe comes from. Betty Crocker doesn’t seem like the best authority on Indian cooking, and I’m sure that there are many more authentic (and complicated) recipes out there. But this one’s pretty great, so I’m not complaining!
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbs. fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tbs. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
- scant 1 tsp. salt
- 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed but not drained
- 2 cups paneer or tofu cubes (optional)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- basmati or jasmine rice, for serving, prepared according to package directions
- cilantro, for serving (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir fry for a minute or two, until the garlic turns golden brown. Stir in the tomato sauce (watch out - it will splatter!), coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let it simmer 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the undrained spinach. Cover the pan again, and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the spinach mixture is cooking, pan-fry the paneer or tofu until the edges begin to brown. Set aside.
- When the spinach mixture is finished, remove the pan from the heat. Add the cream and garam masala, and use an immersion blender to puree the palak. Serve over rice and top with chopped cilantro.