There is no fun in blogging anymore. Once upon a time, there were few blogs and there were few bloggers and being food crazy was frowned upon. Hence there was this thrill in writing lustily about a particular recipe, as if you just stumbled upon its virtues,as if it changes your life (it may have!!), as if you were the only one in the world who could make it well and photograph it like never seen before, tempting lots and lots of readers who still haven't discovered the secret.
What secret, you ask? Well the secret is that dear readers, anybody can cook and just like any other skill, the more u cook, the better you become....But now there are sooooooooooo many blogs.. that there is no need for me to blog anymore.
I can spend my days surfing on others blogs and see and enjoy the thrill in the younger blogs while I secretly miss the old hats whose blogs lie still and dead, gathering dust like the empty tharavadus in Kerala. I wish all these bloggers would wake up and blog once more, just to see some new words from them..just for a new line of conversation... not for the recipes which abound everywhere.
Between the frozen aisle which imports everything u miss, to the multitude of new bloggers, there is no recipe left to cover now. Its just versions and versions...which is really what a recipe is... a version of a food played out in your family, customized to your family's tastes.
Rant apart, an old standby which is the best way to get spinach into my kids, though my better half refuses to touch it..:) Palak Paneer, which is fried cubes of cottage cheese in a spiced up spinach gravy. Some fry the paneer, some toss it with tandoori spices and grill it, some put in bland... it works any way..just don't add cream to the final gravy , Ala restaurant style.
Paneer cubes - 15-20 .
Onion - 1 small onion
Coriander Powder-1 Tsp.
Cumin Seeds -1/2 tsp Tsp.
Turmeric- 1/8 tsp
Asafoetida- A pinch
Red Chili Powder-1/4 tsp
Garam Masala- A pinch.
Oil -2-3 Tbsp.
For Gravy Base :
Spinach- 1 bunch.
Ginger small-1/2 inch
Onion- 2 tbsp chopped
Green Chilies(Small) 2-3 Nos
Salt to taste
Cream (Optional) 1 Tbsp
1. You could use fresh or good quality frozen spinach. Since this is one leaf that soaks up all the insecticides and stuff sprayed on it, use organic as much as possible. Spinach if bought as fresh bunches from the farmer’s market or the Asian stores has a lot of sand on it. Soak the spinach in a large vessel with water for 10 minutes and rinse each leaf well under running water. Do not stint on washing it well. The sand can destroy all your hard work! If you are using pre-washed spinach, you could cook it as it is. Wash & drain the water from Spinach. Chop them coarsely.
2. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of oil in a non stick pan and sauté the paneer pieces till light golden on all sides. Take care not to leave the pan unattended as it gets burnt quickly. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Drain onto paper towels and keep aside.
3. Cook the spinach with the ginger, green chilies, ½ cup water and one clove of garlic in a pan till soft. If using a pressure cooker, cook for one whistle only.
When it cools down, blend the cooked spinach to a coarse paste using a hand blender or food processor. Use quick pulses to avoid blending it to a paste.
4. In the same wide pan heat the remaining oil, fry the chopped onions till translucent. Add the remaining garlic and sauté. Add the spice powders, 1 tablespoon of water and sauté for a minute. Take care not to burn the spices. Add the yogurt and when the liquid in it dries up add the blended spinach paste and salt.
5. Cover and let it simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes and add the paneer cubes. Let it cook for another 5-6 minutes to combine the flavors, check seasoning and add the tablespoon of cream. It should be slightly tangy and spicy. Add a pinch of garam masala before serving.
Tips to Note:
Do not add any additional water for blending. The spinach should be coarse but should not be fibrous.
Do not add any water while cooking the gravy. The gravy has to get thickened on medium heat so the more the water, the more time it will take and it will dilute the flavor of the spinach.
Add tomato instead of yogurt in the first cooking of the spinach for the tanginess.