With food, I become obsessive with culture. With Indian food, curries are the treasured items. You have spice, you have power.
The famous Dune quote “The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel. The Spacing Guild and its navigators, who the spice has mutated over four-thousand years, use the orange spice gas, which gives them the ability to fold space.” comes to mind when I think of spices in Indian curries.
Why yes, I watched the entire movie in one sitting. I was madly infatuated with Sting in the 1984 movie.
While I know that the spice reference in Dune is different than spices used in cooking. There are similar themes. Spices enhance the flavor of foods. Food that we eat. It goes beyond just eating for survival. It is about adding to life.
There are so many different varieties of spices that make the Indian curry.
Spinach paneer uses graham masala.
The spices in garaham masala
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
This combination is the underlying essence of the North Indian dish spinach paneer.
I started learning how to make this dish because I am fascinated by how simple the recipe is to bring out such a complex taste.
I’ve looked around the internet to find the basic recipe for Spinach paneer using cottage cheese instead of paneer.
Total time to cook: 40 minutes Total prep time: 10 minutes
- ½ cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup milk
- 1 medium onions, finely chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 cup roma tomatoes finely cut
- 11⁄2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 11⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon graham masala
- 1 cup wilted fresh spinach leaves, chopped
- 1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
Finely chop onions and garlic and saute in olive oil until onion is clear.
Add spices and reduce heat to low. The flavor of the spices get unlocked when heated.
Add chopped tomatoes and continue to stir. When you cook tomatoes, the sauce thickens.
Add milk and cottage cheese. Continue to cook down the sauce.
Add the wilted chopped spinach.
I took a little detour from this classic recipe by adding shiitake mushrooms to my dish. I’ve seen recipes add tofu to their dishes. So I figure shiitake mushrooms would be a nice change.
I know, breaking with tradition. Enjoy!