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. (?)
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)
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.