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Palak Paneer Mini Pizzas

Vijaya Selvaraju

Spice up personal naan pizzas with a flavorful topping of Indian-style curried spinach.

Palak Paneer Mini Pizzas

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spinach, washed

  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped

  • 3 cups paneer (or firm tofu), cubed

  • 4 tablespoons oil (canola/vegetable)

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 tablespoon garam masala

  • 1 cup water

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • Naan or pita

  • Grated mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Add spinach to a large pot of rapidly boiling water. Cook for 30 seconds, then drain. When slightly cooled, squeeze as much water out of the spinach as you can.

  2. In a blender/food processor, puree the tomatoes. Add spinach, and pulse so that the spinach remains slightly coarse.

  3. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat, and fry paneer until golden brown on all sides. Remove from pan, and set aside.

  4. In the same pan, heat remaining oil and butter. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Cook until soft and brown. Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric and garam masala to the pan. Stir, while cooking, for about 15-20 seconds until fragrant.

  5. Add tomato/spinach mixture, water, and salt to taste. Cook for 15-20 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. The mixture will thicken, and the spinach will transform from a bright green to a greenish-brown color.

  6. Stir in heavy cream, then add paneer. Cook for about 1 minute to warm the paneer through.

  7. Top mini naan/pitas with palak paneer and lots of grated mozzarella cheese.

  8. Bake at 400°F for 8-10 minutes, until naan is toasty and cheese has melted. Enjoy!

Palak Paneer Mini Pizzas
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Transcript

- One of my favorite Indian vegetarian dishes of all time is palak paneer which is also known as saag paneer. Now I know a lot of people have a love hate relationship with spinach but trust me, once you try it this way, you're not going back. Let me show you how. I'm gonna start my making the base of the gravy for the palak paneer. And it starts off with some tomatoes, 'cause you want a little bit of acidity to balance out the richness of the dish. And tomatoes do just that. Then you wanna blend these until they're really really smooth. OK those tomatoes look great. And now I have some spinach that I just blanched off. So I just got a whole bunch of fresh spinach, put it in some boiling hot water, and then I cooked it for seconds, pulled it out, and squeezed out as much of the liquid as I could. And then you're left with this beautiful green cooked spinach. So I'm just gonna pulse it. Now you don't wanna over process the spinach. You want it to be slightly chunky still so that it has a good texture. And that's it, the spinach is ready to go. So I'm getting a pan nice and hot, because I'm gonna fry off some paneer. So a little but of oil into the pan. And this you guys is paneer. Paneer is a fresh Indian cheese. It doesn't have too much flavor to it, it's kina springy, neutral, doesn't have any salt in it. But it's perfect when you put them into delicious curries. You're just gonna add the paneer in there. Really space it out and you want it to get nice and golden on all sides. And the key with paneer is to always keep it moving, because it colors very quickly, and you don't want it to overcook, otherwise it gets really rubbery. OK see how lovely and golden the paneer is. So it has a nice little crisp on the outside but also a lot of flavor from frying it. You're just gonna scoop them out. And it smells so good. I don't know, there's something about fried cheese that smells insanely delicious. OK so I have a little bit of oil left over in the pan, and to that I'm gonna add butter. This is a very rich dish, but you definitely need it. And to the butter, a whole bunch of onions, some minced garlic, and some ginger. And you wanna cook these out 'til they get nice and soft. I love the smell of onions, ginger and garlic cooking together. They're looking really good, they've softened up, slightly brown, and now is when we're gonna introduce the spices. And this is what gives palak paneer its very unique flavor. So I have a little bit of red chili powder for heat, some cumin and coriander powder which are both gonna give us an earthy, citrusy note, a little bit of tumeric and my favorite, garam masala, which is a combination of spices that you can buy at the grocery store or even make at home. And really once you add the spices, you don't wanna cook them for too long. So I would say like a good 15 to 20 seconds, so that they get nice and fragrant. In goes the spinach with the tomatoes. And you just wanna cook that out. And you see right now the spinach has this beautiful vibrant green color? Well your goal is to cook it out so it turns a little more muted in color, a little browner. And a little bit of water to thin things out. And some salt to season. Now your goal here is to watch this spinach transform. It's gonna take a little bit of time and patience, but trust me it's totally worth it. If you find that your pan is drying out a little bit and there isn't enough liquid. Then feel free to add a little bit of water. So my spinach has been cooking for a bit, and you see that it's transformed from that beautiful hunter green to a really mellow army green. So now it's ready for the heavy cream, because that's what makes palak paneer very very tasty. So a little bit of heavy cream, give that a nice mix, and get it bubbly again. And now that the heavy cream is mixed in, I'm gonna add my paneer. Now the paneer is already cooked, so you just really wanna heat it through for a minute or so, no longer otherwise you risk your paneer getting super hard. So just fold it through and give it a sec, and it'll be ready. How crazy good does this look? So you can take this palak paneer and just serve it over a little bit of rice. But I thought I'd take it to the next level, you know 'cause we're all about the next level, and make some palak paneer naan pizzas. So get in there, be generous. Oh my gosh that looks so good just like that on its own, without the cheese. And I have some shredded mozzarella cheese here. Add as much as you like. I'm gonna pop this into a 400 degree oven for about eight to 10 minutes. You want the naan to get nice and crisp and for all that cheese to be bubbly and ooey and gooey on top. I'll see you in a bit. I just pulled these out of the oven and they smell and look so good. You wanna let them set for like a minute or so so that the cheese has some time to settle, but I am quite anxious so here we go. So you have that gooey cheese. And you see all that paneer creeping up over the edge. Oh my gosh I can't wait. Mmmm you guys the flavor of this is so unreal. You have that rich creamy spinach spiked with those bouncy creamy nuggets of paneer, and then that blanket of melted cheese over the top. Purely delicious and sensational. A great twist on an Indian classic. Palak paneer pizza.