I just love springtime. One of the first signs that Winter is definitely on the way out, is when our spinach starts coming up. About two more weeks and Mr. B and I will have a good 2 – 3 pounds.

We’ll have the first taste of it in a nice spinach salad; those are always good if you like spinach. But there’s also a cooked spinach dish that we just love – Palak Paneer.

Here’s a recipe I like from Manjula’s Kitchen:

Ingredients:

* 1 10 oz package of chopped frozen spinach or 4 cups of fresh finely chopped spinach

* 1/3 lb paneer (Indian Cheese. I’ve only found it in Hindi markets. You can omit it [some would cry HERESY! but I’m really only in it for the spinach!] or use fried tofu if you like.)

* 2 medium tomatoes, pureed

* 1 teaspoon chopped ginger

* 1 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania)

* 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)

* 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

* 1 tablespoon oil

* 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed (jeera)

* Pinch of asafetida (hing)

* 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

* 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour

* 1/3 cup heavy cream

* 1/2 tomato thinly sliced to garnish

Method:

1. If using frozen spinach thaw and blend it just for a minute so spinach has a creamy texture but without becoming pasty.

2. blend the tomatoes and ginger to make puree.

3. Mix coriander, turmeric, and red chili with tomato puree and set aside.

4. Mix whole-wheat flour with heavy cream and set aside.

5. Cube the paneer in about half inch pieces and deep fry them on medium high heat just for few minutes so paneer become very light gold in color, take paneer out on paper towel so extra oil can be absorbed.

6. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if it cracks right away it is ready.

7. Add hing and cumin seed. After cumin seeds crack, add the tomato puree mixture, and let it cook for a few minutes until the tomato puree is about half in volume.

8. Add the spinach, and let it cook on low medium heat for about 10 minutes covered.

9. Add heavy cream mixture and let this cook another four to five minutes.

10. Add paneer and fold it gently with spinach and let it simmer for a 2-3 minutes. Pot should remain covered until the cooking is finished, otherwise the spinach will splatter.

11. Transfer the spinach to a serving dish and spread the tomato slices over the top, and cover the dish so tomato slices get tender with the steam from the spinach.

See? It’s not hard once you see it done a time or two. Palak Paneer goes really well with naan. Enjoy!

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