I was delighted to learn the secret of this beautiful green dish – and how to keep it green as well (by blanching the spinach, pureeing it and then cooking it only briefly in the finished dish). Instead of pureeing the spinach, you can chop it to achieve a more textured dish typically served in Indian homes. You can also substitute frozen spinach for fresh – and that’s already chopped! Paneer (firm Indian cottage cheese) is now available in supermarkets.
- 2 bunches spinach, leaves picked
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cm piece ginger, crushed
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 200 g fresh or canned chopped tomatoes
- 225 g paneer, cubed
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
- pinch of garam masala
- 1 tbsp thickened cream
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Blanch the spinach in boiling water for 3–4 minutes, then refresh in cold water. Drain and squeeze out the excess water. Puree until smooth.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the cumin seeds, ginger, garlic and onion and fry until golden brown. Add the tomato and cook until they become a soft paste. Stir in the spinach puree and season with salt. Add the paneer and heat through. To finish, add the dried fenugreek leaves, garam masala and cream.
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