This is part of an ongoing series about the start up of a food truck called NaanStop. We will be launching in the first quarter of 2011. You can follow us on twitter (www.twitter.com/naanstop), on Facebook, or email me at email@example.com with any feedback. Check back here for weekly updates!
In my family, we don’t normally have a traditional thanksgiving dinner. But, we do eat a lot. With my brother and I at home, my mom takes the opportunity to make sure we are well fed and does not stop cooking for days. In light of the fact that Thanksgiving is just a few days away, I’m taking a break from writing about food truck planning to share a recipe for Palak Paneer, a classic North Indian dish that my mom often makes when my brother and I visit.
Palak means spinach and paneer is a type of cheese that has a mild flavor similar to ricotta cheese, but with a firm texture. It is often used in Indian vegetarian dishes to add some protein the way tofu is used in East Asian cuisine. Chopped spinach and tomato sauce make the base of this dish as a sauce, while the paneer adds some richness. It would work great on its own as a different side to your Thanksgiving dinner or as a meal in itself served over basmati rice or with some fresh naan. Below is the rustic home-style recipe taught to me by my mom. If you end up trying out the recipe, take some pictures and let me know. I’d love to hear about how it turns out!
6oz fresh spinach chopped
½ lb paneer (available at any Indian grocer)
½ tsp whole cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
¼ cup tomato sauce
½ c water
1tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp ground cumin
pinch garam masala
salt to taste
- Cut paneer into ½ inch cubes and deep fry in oil at 350 degrees for just a few minutes until golden brown on the outside. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- In a medium pot, coat the bottom with oil and heat over medium heat. Add the whole cumin seeds, turmeric, and cayenne pepper and fry for about a minute to release the fragrances
- Add garlic and ginger and sauté briefly
- Stir in tomato sauce, water, coriander, ground cumin, and garam masala
- fold in chopped spinach and cook until spinach becomes soft. Continue cooking to thicken if necessary.
- Gently stir in paneer and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.
- Serve alone, over basmati rice, or with naan.