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I'm a decent home cook, although I don't cook much anymore.  But I've been trying to make palak paneer for about 30 years, and I just can't do it.  I don't know why.  It's basic.  The recipe is simple.  I just can't do it.  I get bland, watery sautéed chopped spinach with bits of onion and garlic.  I've tried boosting the amount of spices.  I've cooked the onion to browning.  I've squeezed all the water out of the spinach.  Nothing works.

 

 

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From the Guardian: 

 

 

More important than the type of spinach is what you do with it. More traditional Indian recipes simply add it fresh, simmering it down to a mush, but spinach being largely water, this leaves the dish too soggy for my taste. Dan Toombs, AKA the Curry Guy, who we encountered in our adventures in chicken tikka masala, wisely blanches the leaves first, then squeezes them dry before stirring them in at the end, which both keeps the dish dry, and means that you don't overcook the veg.

If you're using frozen spinach, take a tip from the excellently named Salvador Dhali on Curry Recipes forum, and allow it to defrost, drain and dry out before use – "it needs to be thoroughly squeezed of excess liquid (you'll be surprised at how much liquid comes out)," he writes. "It's key to the success of this dish." This surprise also applies to fresh spinach.

 

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Yeah, even if you think all the water is squeezed out, it's probably not.

 

I will wrap it in a kitchen towel (and yes, the towel will have to go into the wash afterwards) and really wring the sucker dry. I do that with broccoli raab and other high-moisture content vegetables as well, if I have blanched them.

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it's not watery at all, a thick but pourable sludge. steam and puree the spinach. cook it down with the spices and onions till oil separates before adding the paneer.

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Interestingly there's an Andalusian spinach preparation (usually with chickpeas) that, if you follow the Spanish recipes will have the same issues, because they all fail to include the part where after the initial cooking it sits in a warm pot all day and night.

 

Internet recipes:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qljvnEDkKrc

 

Real thing:

 

http://www.lasrecetasdetriana.com/2013/02/espinacas-con-garbanzos-en-triana.html

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Why can't you saute onion and spices, add raw spinach and continue to saute, add oil if necessary and cook down, then puree with hand blender?

 

ETA I have trouble following a script.   Especially cooking.   I visualize what I want to eat, the ingredients, texture and flavors, then try to construct how you get there.    Authenticity be hanged.

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