Indian Style Fresh Cheese With Spinach (Palak Paneer)
- 10 c. whole lowfat milk
- 2 tsp fine salt
- 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
- 2 bn spinach (abt 1 lb) coarse stems discarded
- 1/2 c. water plus
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 4 x garlic cloves finely minced
- 1 piece peeled fresh ginger - (2" long)
- 1/3 c. vegetable oil
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 whl cloves
- 2 x allspice berries
- 1 x cinnamon stick - (3" long)
- 2 x onions thinly sliced
- 4 x plum tomatoes peeled and minced
- 1/2 c. heavy cream Kosher salt to taste Basmati rice Cheesecloth
- Make the Paneer: Bring lowfat milk to a full boil in a 6-qt heavy pot, stirring occasionally. Add in the salt, and lemon juice and remove from the heat. Gently stir around the edges as the lowfat milk separates and the curd forms in the center. Let sit for about 2 min.
- Pour mix into a colander lined with a triple layer of dampened cheesecloth. Gather up edges of cheesecloth, twisting gently to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Wrap the cheese tightly in the cheesecloth and wrap in a kitchen towel. Transfer the package to a bowl and weigh down with a bowl filled with water or possibly a large can. Let stand at room temperature till hard, about 1 hour. Pour off any liquid which has accumulated in the bowl and cut the paneer into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Make the Spinach: Cook spinach in 1/2 c. water in a large saucepan, covered, over moderately-high heat till wilted and tender, about 2 min. Coarsely puree spinach, without draining, in a food processor. Set aside.
- In a mini-chopper, puree the garlic and ginger into a paste with the remaining 2 Tbsp. water. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderately-high heat till warm but not smoking, then brown paneer in 2 batches, gently turning to avoid breaking up. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the paneer to paper towel-lined plate, leaving the oil behind in the skillet.
- Add in the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon stick to the skillet and cook, stirring, till fragrant and the cinnamon stick unfurls, about 30 seconds. Add in the onions and cook stirring, till lightly browned, about 5 min.
- Add in garlic-ginger paste and cook, stirring, till fragrant and almost dry, about 2 min. Add in tomatoes and cook, stirring, till softened, about 4 to 6 min.
- Add in spinach puree and simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, till thickened and almost all of liquid is evaporated, 2 to 4 min. Add in cream and simmer, stirring, occasionally, till thickened.
- Gently stir in paneer and salt and simmer about 30 seconds more. Divide among plates and serve immediately.
- This recipe yields 6 servings.
- Comments: Paneer keeps, wrapped well in plastic wrap and chilled, for 3 days.
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