I have had the great pleasure of reviewing Johanna Knox’s book A Foragers Treasury for the Booksellers NZ blog. I love the book, adore her and am eagerly anticipating un-palak paneer (one of the brilliant recipes) for dinner. The book is gorgeous. Read the review and go into the draw to win a copy.
Palak means spinach so I’ve called this ”un-palak paneer” to acknowledge that it uses wild greens instead of cultivated spinach. There are many recipes for palak paneer, but this is adapted from an Indian cookbook, Mallika Basu’s spiritedly urban Miss Masala: Real Indian Cooking for Busy Living (Collins, 2010).
2 cups cubed paneer (firm, fresh cheese) or tofu
0.5 tsp chilli powder or flakes
1 onion, peeled anddiced
1 finger of ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 cloves garlic,
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp garam masala
2-4 cups chopped foraged
greens packed firm
½-1 cup water or ½-1 cup peeled tomatoes
- Put paneer or tofu in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and chilli. Set aside.
- Pour oil into a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat.
- Fry paneer or tofu until golden brown all over, turning as required.
- Return browned cubes to bowl.
- Add onion to the pan and cook until it begins to become translucent and slightly browned.
- Add ginger and cook 1 more minute, stirring.
- Add garlic and cook 1 more minute, stirring.
- Add cumin and half of the garam masala, and stir.
- Add foraged greens and stir until they have wilted.
- Stir in the water or tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Place the contents of the pan in a food processor and blend, or use a hand-held blender and process until smooth.
- Return mixture to the pan and add paneer or tofu and the remaining garam masala.
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Add salt to taste and serve with rice.
• Chenopodium, mallow leaves, miner’s lettuce, borage leaves, nettle, dead-nettles, cleavers, plantain, a few nasturtium leaves or flowers and chickweed will all work with this recipe.
• You can also use bitter greens like Brassicaceae, dandelion, puha and other DYCs [damn yellow composites, i.e. with dandelion-like flowers], but you may want to pre-boil them first to remove some of the bitterness.
• If you don’t have a blender, chop the greens very finely before adding.