Palak Paneer is one of the most comforting foods in the world. A tasty, spicy curry flavoured with cumin, coriander and other spices, delicious pieces of creamy, crumbly cheese, all pulled together with a swirl of cream… you’d be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t love this dish. The deliciously crunchy and gooey paneer koftae takes it to another level.
The trick is to try not to overcook the spinach, which is why you add the spinach mixture to the cooked curry base at the very end of its cooking process.
For the gravy:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 asofoetida powder
6 cloves garlic, minced
3cm piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 onions, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp butter or ghee
2 green chillies, chopped
1 can whole tomatoes
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup fresh coriander, to serve
For the koftae:
4 pieces white bread, crusts cut off
2 tbsp whole milk
300g paneer (if you can’t find it, ricotta will do)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp chopped coriander
Sunflower oil, for frying
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the spiced yoghurt:
1 cup full fat plain yoghurt
¼ clove garlic, minced
1 cup full fat sour cream
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
To serve (optional):
Long grain rice (cooked as per instructions on the packet)
To make the spiced yoghurt, mix all yoghurt ingredients together, cover and chill until serving.
Dry roast the coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a frypan until fragrant then take off the heat immediately (so they don’t burn) and transfer to a food processor along with the oil, turmeric, asofoetida powder, garlic, ginger, onions and chillies and pulse until mixture forms a smooth paste. Season to taste and transfer to a large saucepan.
Puree tomatoes in the food processor and add to the saucepan along with the butter and cook mixture for 20 minutes or until tomatoes have cooked down and their flavour has intensified.
With a little oil or butter, wilt the spinach in a saucepan on a low heat so it doesn’t burn. You may have to do this in batches. Transfer just wilted spinach to food processor and puree.
Add spinach puree to the cooked tomato mixture and mix well. Cook for a further 10 mins on a low heat or until reduced and flavour has intensified, being careful to not burn the mixture at the bottom of the pan.
To make the koftae, soak bread in milk in a small mixing bowl until soft. Add the rest of the koftae ingredients and mix well with you fingers, working the mixture until combined. Roll mixture between your hands to form small balls.
In a heavy saucepan, fill a third of the way with sunflower oil and carefully drop the koftae in with a slotted spoon, frying until golden brown.
PLEASE NOTE: you may have to adjust the temperature if the oil gets too hot. Place on paper towels to drain, then carefully fold koftae through curry mixture.
Stir the cream through the curry and serve on top of rice with a swirl of the spiced yoghurt and chopped coriander alongside the chutney, pickle, roti and yoghurt. Enjoy!