Going out for dinner can often become an adventure for us. Since I will eat meat if it sounds like a dish I’d enjoy, menus can be a little bit more approachable. However, I am typically going to be eating with my husband or kids, so the menu has to include vegetarian fare that is appealing. Perhaps that’s why we eat so much Mexican food. But another cuisine that is extremely and deliciously vegetarian friendly is Indian food.
There are a couple places you can get decent Indian food around us, but by the time we have paid for four buffet style meals, added two beers or fresh chai or fresh lassis to the bill, these meals don’t come cheap.
As it turns out, one of my favorite dishes, palak paneer is not overly difficult to make. It comes together rather simply and quickly. The dish itself is based with a spiced, pureed spinach curry laden with cubes of fresh paneer cheese. Since we’re going to blanch the spinach before pureeing it, the color stays vibrant and brilliantly green. This dish is flavorful, but mild enough to be enjoyed by kids as well.
Serves 4-6 people
1 pound paneer cheese, cut into bite-sized cubes
1/4 cup canola or sunflower oil
1 1/2 pounds loose spinach leaves
2 tablespoons ghee or butter
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, diced
one 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1-2 green Serrano peppers, finely chopped *
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
scant 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
salt and pepper
- If you prefer a milder heat, you can use Anaheim peppers in place of the Serrano peppers. If you DO use the Serrano, make sure to taste it before you add it to the dish, to make sure you don’t create something too spicy for you to enjoy.