Palak paneer (cottage cheese cooked in spinach sauce)

Paneer is fresh cheese aka cottage cheese, common in the Indian subcontinent.Palak paneer is very close to my heart, as the flavour of palak (spinach) reminds me of my childhood. It is my daughter’s favourite too! It is simple to make but is very tasty and goes well with either rice or naan (indian flatbread).

  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Serves 4
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes


  1. Paneer (cottage cheese) 250 grams, cut into small cubes (easily available in the supermarket)
  2. Spinach 250 grams
  3. Onion, sliced 1 large
  4. Tomatoes, chopped 2 medium
  5. Ginger paste 1 teaspoon
  6. Cumin powder
  7. Garam masala powder (a blend of ground spices, easily available in the supermarket)
  8. Cayenne pepper
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Oil 2 tablespoon
  11. Water to boil spinach
  12. Fresh cream 2 tablespoons


1. Heat oil in a deep non-stick pan and saute’ the cottage cheese pieces till golden brown.

2. Boil water in a pan and add the spinach to it. Boil it for 5 minutes and strain the spinach in a colander to remove excess water.

3. Add the boiled spinach, tomatoes and ginger paste in the grinder and grind it to form a green paste.

4. Heat oil in the same pan (where you had fried the cotttage cheese cubes) and saute’ onions till golden brown.

5. Add the green paste, cumin powder, garam masala powder and cayenne pepper to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add a cup of water and salt to taste, cook for another 3 minutes.

6. Add the cottage cheese pieces and boil it together for 5 minutes. Add cream and mix well.

7. Serve hot with rice or naan.

Special dal-tadka

Image may contain: food

  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Serves: 8
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 40 – 60 minutes


  1. Chana dal (split chickpeas)  250 grams
  2. Toor dal (pigeon peas)  125 grams
  3. Water 1.5 litres
  4. Onions, sliced 2 large
  5. Tomatoes, pureed 4 medium
  6. Garlic paste 1 tablespoon
  7. Ginger paste 1 tablespoon
  8. Turmeric 1 tablespoon
  9. Cumin powder 1 tablespoon
  10. Coriander powder 1 tablespoon
  11. Red chilli powder (only if you want it to be spicy) 1 teaspoon
  12. Salt to taste
  13. Oil- for cooking

For tempering (a cooking technique in which whole spices are roasted in oil or ghee)

  1. Oil or ghee  2 tablespoons
  2. Cumin seeds  1 tablespoon
  3. Cinnamon 1 inch stick
  4. Cloves 2-3
  5. Cardamom 2-3
  6. Dry red chillies 2-3
  7. Hing (Asafoetida)  a pinch


1. Wash the chana dal and toor dal and add water, turmeric and salt to taste. Boil it in a pan for 40 minutes (chana dal takes longer to boil) or in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes. Cook until tender and then leave aside.

2. In the meantime, put 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep non-stick pan, add the sliced onions and saute’ till golden brown. Add garlic paste to it and saute’ till the raw smell disappears.

3. Add the pureed tomatoes, ginger paste, cumin, coriander and red chilli powder to it. Saute till the oil starts to separate from the paste.

4. Pour the dal into the deep pan with the gravy. Mix everything well.

5. For tempering, use another pan and pour 2 tablespoons of oil. Once, the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, hing and red chillies to it. Cook for 1 minute.

6. Add the dal mixed with gravy, into this pan and cover it with a lid.

7. Dal tadka is ready and it can be served in a bowl. It tastes great with rice or flatbreads.



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Leave Dentistry for a Day

Amrita Banerjee has been interviewed by Dr Mayank Jain from Indian Health Professionals Around the World- a common agenda as she has very successfully managed her dual career- Dental Surgeon and a Professional Indian Classical Dancer. Her interview can be reached on the Facebook page ‘Leave Dentistry for a Day’.