Palak paneer. When I review the ingredients to this popular North Indian dish, I know I ought to fall in love with it. I love cheese. I love cream. And I definitely love spinach. But why is it that I can never, no matter how many times I try it, seem to not fall in love with this dish?

Could it be because the dish is too soggy for my liking? The palak paneer is a spinach puree and, besides potatoes, I do not like my vegetables pulped into virtual oblivion. So since I was making an Indian meat dish that day, I figured that I should make an Indian style vegetable dish, and since I only had spinach that day, palak paneer seemed the obvious choice. I decided to improvise to suit my tastebud. Like Asmah Laili (the effervescent Malay TV DJ turned Cook) always says – Bukan masakan itu bikin kita, kita bikin masakan itu’ (I think). It’s not the  dish makes you, but you make the dish. (?)

Recipe

1. cumin seeds (about 1 tbsp)

2. Spinach(amaranth/local bayam)

3. parmesan cheese cubes

4. half a packet of cream

5. one sliced chilli, preferably green (but I used red that day)

 

Saute cumin seeds, chopped garlic and sliced chillies

 

 

Add in the spinach and cook till wilted

 

Stir in cubes of parmesan cheese. Do not overcook or cheese will melt.

 

 

Pour the cream in and cook till desired consistency i.e. more cream or let it thicken and soak into the spinach

 

Serve with hot Basmati rice or naan and an Indian style meat dish

 

The Hubby liked the dish. Interestingly, he called it ‘The Lemak Bayam’. There is a Malay dish using spinach and coconut milk and it looks like the picture above. However, besides the obvious difference in taste between cream and coconut milk, the cumin seeds add a different dimension in flavour to the former dish. Overall, we genuinely liked the spinach dish and I would make it again the next time for sure.