My food habits as a child were nasty. I never enjoyed veggies or greens and very picky with fruits. I was a vegetarian to top that, so one can imagine the nutritional imbalances. My husband is a health freak, so he is very particular about quality food and its right quantity. Our shopping trips would end up with a lot of veggies, fruits, meat and bitter conflict. He coaxed and cajoled me to eat them. How long can one resist!
Eventually, he could drive some sense into me but could not intimidate me to eat meat. I was further brought into the groove by some scary remarks when I was pregnant. It made me totally sober and I finally surrendered to truth. Marriage has its plus too!
The health effects of leafy vegetables are lectured everyday. Spinach and cottage cheese are a happy, cheerful combination. Spinach is the most celebrated healthy food and has an agreeable flavour compared to many other greens.
This simple Palak paneer is easy to make and delightful to the eyes.
- 1 bunch spinach
- 2 green chillies
- 1 medium white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil/olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 cloves, a piece of cinnamon stick, 1 cardamom pod and pieces of star anise
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 sprig coriander leaves
- 1/2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
- I block paneer (cottage cheese)
- Blanch spinach in hot water and submerge in cold water to retain its colour. (Occasionally, I do it in the microwave for 1 minute left uncovered, with a sprinkle of water and salt on chopped leaves.)
- Roughly chop the spinach and add chopped green chillies to it.
- Blend it coarsely using a hand blender.
- Cube paneer (Indian cottage cheese block) and fry in a little oil on medium heat gently tossing to brown the sides. (If fried for a short while it retains its softness. Frying for a longer time makes it a bit chewy.)
- Heat vegetable oil, add cumin seeds, followed by the spices.
- After the seeds splutter, add chopped onions and garlic.
- Fry them till translucent.
- Add the mushy spinach and green chillies.
- Sprinkle the required amount of salt and boil everything.
- Finally add fried paneer and tomato pieces.
- Garnish it with coriander leaves and a dash of ghee/cream.
There is a spicier version I make, but this is a quick paneer curry.