Paaluk Panir (Spinach with Ricotta Cheese)
10 oz spinach, washed & trimmed & coarsely chopped
8 oz panir or ricotta cheese
4 tablespoon tel (oil)
½ teaspoon rai (mustard seeds)
½ teaspoon jiru (cumin seeds)
¼ teaspoon hing (asafetida)
1 large kaando (onion), chopped
4 cloves lasan (garlic), chopped
1 tablespoon aadu (ginger), chopped
2 lilu-marchu (green chili), chopped
1 tablespoon garam masaalaa or Raval Masaalaaä
¼ teaspoon marchu (cayenne pepper)
1 teaspoon dhaanaa-jiru (powdered coriander & cumin seeds)
½ teaspoon mithu (salt)
2 tablespoon limbu (lemon juice)
1. If using ricotta, pour a ½” thick layer of ricotta in a baking pan. Bake it in an oven preheated to 400 F till the cheese becomes pinkish (about 5 minutes). Let it cool, then cut the cheese into 3/4" square pieces.
2. If using panir, cut to ¾” cubes.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil.
4. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds & asafetida
5. As the seeds begin to pop, add the onion, garlic, ginger and green pepper.
6. As the onions turn translucent, add the garam masaalaa, cayenne pepper & coriander-cumin powder.
7. Fry until the onions brown, mixing well.
8. Add the spinach and salt.
9. Cover and reduce the heat.
10. Mix and cook till the spinach is wilted. And glows a bright green.
11. Remove to food processor and puree.
12. Heat oil in the pan, then add the cheese. Fry on medium heat until you see pink & brown spots on the cheese.
13. Return spinach to the pan, mixing into the panir.
14. Remove from heat.
15. Squeeze on lemon juice & serve with naan (pita bread) or rice.
Can add 4-5 stems of other herbs along with the spinach, such as methi (fenugreek), basil and fudinaa (mint) for a more developed flavor.