Palak Paneer and Curried Beans with the Greens

I don’t know about you, but my emotions, feelings, and moods dictate the desire for cooking.  Not just any cooking, such as frying an egg, but some thing a bit more elaborate where I look forward to the end product.  I’ve realized lately that I’ve been running on a low emotional fuel.  I think it’s a result from culmination of various circumstances and situations I went through or are going through.  I feel like Thanksgiving came and went, and now December…  As much as I love December, I feel overwhelmed with different events going on, making Christmas treats to give to people, etc. 
Today, I didn’t quite follow a particular recipe, but used some recipes as guidelines, but improvised a lot.  I was craving for some Indian food, and I always seem to find some thing related to Indian or other Asian ingredients in my frig and pantry, so I made myself focus and got to work. 
Our family loves palak paneer (palak = spinach, paneer=Indian cheese),  so I kind of mixed some ingredients and came up with my rendition of our favorite Indian dish.  The curried beans with greens is also my version of the dish I ate at my friend’s house.  I loved it so much, and I asked for the recipe, but you know how busy people’s lives are – I’m sure the recipe will eventually come, but I was eager to tackle the recipe so here I go!

IMG_1427
Palak Paneer on the (left), Curried beans and greens on the (right).  Lime pickle next to the rice (pickle goes well with the 2 dishes I made). 

Palak Paneer:
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
1/2 pound paneer, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups canned diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
16 ounces frozen chopped spinach (you can get this at the Indian market – this is finely chopped and specifically for this dish)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water
1/4 cup light cream or half&half

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chopped garlic and grated ginger and sauté for 30 seconds.  Add the cubed paneer and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned (make sure you stir the paneer gently to avoid breaking it).   Add the tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes; reduce the heat and add sugar, salt, paprika, garam masala and black pepper.  Cook for few minutes, and add the spinach (make sure you thaw it out and squeeze out all the liquid).  Add the water and cook for about 15 minutes (maybe 20 minutes).  Add the cream on medium low heat and cook for additional 5 minutes.  Taste for salt and seasonings.  Feel comfortable to add more or less of certain spices, etc.  If you like more garlic, add more, and if you want more garam masala or want to add additional spices (cumin or coriander) go right ahead!  I usually saute the spices first, but for this I added after I added most of the ingredients.  I tried both ways, and for this particular recipe, it didn’t make that much difference.  Have fun with the spices and enjoy!

Curried Beans with the Greens:
2  -16 ounce cans red beans
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 inch ginger, grated
1 Tablespoon curry paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 large bunch of collard greens, rinsed and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a large pot, fry the cumin seeds for few minutes, until they begin to splutter.  Add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, and ginger, and sauté for 5 minutes over medium high heat.  Stir in curry paste, cumin, coriander, chili powder and salt, cook for another 5 minutes. 
Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the beans and the greens (add 1/2 cup of water if the mixture is too thick, add the water in 1/2 cup inclement).  Over medium love heat cook the curry with the lid on for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the cilantro right before serving.   Note:  depending on your stovetop, the greens may need more time to cook, so after 30 minutes, check on the greens, and if they need to cook more, simmer over low heat for additional 15-20 minutes. Adjust the taste by adding additional salt or seasonings.

My opinion:  Am I allowed to say that I loved my 2 dishes!!  Both dishes suited well with my palate and my family also enjoyed these dishes.  Palak paneer may not be the traditional type, but my kids loved the mildness of this dish (and of course the cheese!).   With the collard greens, I’m so used to the greens prepared the American style, I feel like I landed on a gem mine!!  I think this dish will be my favorite too!!  It’s a bit spicy, but I like it spicy and hotSmile

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3 thoughts on “Palak Paneer and Curried Beans with the Greens

  1. i ve been waiting for another post here on your blog, and as always you didn t disappoint! i also love Indian and Thai-style curries, and paneer is apparently also very easy to make yourself… must find that recipe again and send it to you.thank you for both these recipes… think we could try it with momengoshi tofu as well?

  2. arigatou! momengoshi tofu will be okay, I think, but the texture will be very different. I sometimes use tofu with simple Indian style curry, and love it b/c tofu absorbs any type of flavours. Paneer recipe okutte ne! tanoshimi:-)

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