Spinach and Cheese (Palak Paneer)
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10 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cups distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup ghee and salt to fry cheese cubes
2 cups spinach
1 medium tomato, chopped roughly
5 garlic cloves, 3 whole and 2 finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger
1 green thai chili
1 T. oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, to taste
Salt to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup paneer, cubed (either homemade or purchased)
1 T. dried fenugreek leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
Making the Spinach
Making the Paneer
In a very large pan, bring the milk and 2 cups of cream to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the vinegar, stirring constantly. Cook this until the milk curds separate from the watery whey. This is quick and only takes about 2 minutes.
Line a colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth making sure you have overhang. Pour the curd/whey into the colander and let this drain for 1 hour.
With the overhang, pull up the sides of the cheesecloth and twist the curds into a ball. Squeeze out any liquid still left in the curds. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together and lay on a flat plate. Put a very heavy skillet on top of the cheesecloth. I typically use a cast iron pan. Let this sit for about 15 minutes. You will see more liquid collecting on the plate which you will want to drain. Once you have a firm block of cheese. Remove from the cheesecloth and cut into 1 inch squares.
In a large non-stick skillet, heat ghee. Season the cheese squares with salt and add half to the skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned - 6-8 minutes per side. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Do the same with the other half of the cheese.
Making the Spinach
Add spinach to a small bowl and add 2 T. water to blanch in the microwave for 1 minute. If you prefer, boil water in a small saucepan and blanch spinach for 2 minutes until wilted. Put the cooked spinach in an ice bath to stop the cooking and retain color.
In a blender, add blanched spinach, tomato, 3 garlic cloves, ginger and green chili. Blend until smooth paste and set aside.
In a medium sized pan, add oil and heat until shimmering. Add the remaining 2 cloves of chopped garlic and sauté quickly until it turns light brown. Less than 1 minute.
Add chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is soft and translucent. Now add the spinach puree into the pan. Add 1/2 cup water and cook for 10 minutes. Stir to prevent sticking.
Once the spinach is cooked, add the garam masala, turmeric, red chili powder and salt. Mix and cook for 1 minute. Add the heavy cream and stir to mix.
Add the cubed paneer and let this simmer for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the burner and add lemon juice and fenugreek leaves. Mix.
Serve palak paneer with hot rice and naan.