Cooking the Spinach and Finishing Palak Paneer

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 18,081
    Chef Edward Hammond demonstrates how to make Palak Paneer, fresh Indian cheese with spinach, including cooking the spinach and finishing the dish.

    Edward Hammond: Hello! I'm Edward Hammond and I'm here today at Sur La Table cooking school in Arlington, Virginia. Today we're making Palak Paneer, fresh Indian cheese with spinach.

    Now we're going to fry our onions, garlic, ginger, chilies and spices and cook our spinach. We'll begin by heating our remaining ghee and a heavy deep saut pan or a Dutch oven would do nicely. We're using medium-high heat. When the ghee is hot, we'll add our onions. We're going to cook these, stirring often until they're light golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.

    So now our onions are light golden brown. They're a little bit uneven in how they've browned and that's perfectly okay, just add to a complex flavor of the dish and now we're going to add our ginger and the garlic and hot green chilies. Those need to be served and fried for just a couple of minutes until they smell a little bit fried and the garlic and ginger will also pick up a little bit of golden color.

    Our garlic and ginger and chilies have been fried and now we're going to add our ground spices. These just need to be stirred briefly, 30 seconds of so, just to lightly cooking them. Now we can add our spinach. Add it to the pan and just pack it all in there. It may seem like an awful lot at first, but spinach shrinks quite a bit once it's cooked.

    And once thats in there we can give a little shake to the pan and then we're going to put a lid on and we're going to lower the heat and we're going to let it gently cook for about 8-10 minutes. So now we're going to take up the lid and we're going to give it a stir and we're going to put the lid back on and let it cook for about another ten minutes.

    Our spinach is cooked for another ten minutes. So now we can take up the lid and we're now going to add our salt and our fried paneer cheese cubes and a little bit of our homemade spice blends, Garam Masala. I usually add about one teaspoon of kosher salt. Salt is as always a matter of taste and you can add as little or as much as you like.

    Then now I'm going to add just a few tablespoons of heavy cream. You could also use sour cream, the cream in any case is optional, it just depends on how rich of a dish that you want. We'll fold all of that in and we will put a lid on it and let it cook for a few more minutes.

    Our spinach and paneer cheese cooked for the last five minutes or so and now we can place it into a serving dish. The spinach is nice and tender, but not overcooked. I place it into a nice dish and now we can garnish it with a little bit of our Garam Masala spice blend over the top and you can dress a little bit of fresh heavy cream right at the end and you can even put some very thinly sliced hot green chilies on top as well.

    This dish is traditionally served with Indian flat bread, such as Chapati, Paratha or Naan, but it's also equally good with warm French baguettes. Enjoy!