Those that know me are likely well aware of my insatiable love of Saag Paneer, aka Palak Paneer, aka cheese in a spinachy love gravy. It was probably the first dish of Indian origin I ever tried, and is also likely to the instigating force behind my subsequent quest to learn to cook. Naturally, it was the first dish I wanted to add to my kitchen repertoire. Sadly, it has been the most elusive.
For years I toiled, always disappointed. Was it just that my expectations were too high? Were my spices lacking? Did real saag paneer actually taste like onions or spinach? Was this just going to be my white whale, and that was that?
Thankfully, much thanks to this month’s MPF selection, Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, my quest may finally be at an end.
Jaded by the lack of success, I waded into an all-Indian meal with great skepticism. Perhaps this was why I ended us so pleased at the result? Like going to a Sly Stallone movie and finding yourself weirdly entertained.
First things first, I actually made my own paneer. Really. It’s not hard. You should try it if you have an extra bag of milk laying around. As an added bonus, the activity doubled as a particularly interesting science activity for my daughter.
The rest was simply a matter of following Jaffrey’s recipe. As previously alluded, her expertise in dishes from Northern India is not suprising, so I was
comfortable in her capable hands willing to set aside my mistrust for this kick at the can.
The result was luscious. Lovely. Not perfect (I will likely tinker with the recipe, just to give it the extra little touches I have encountered elsewhere and enjoyed), but pretty dang close.
Meal aside though, now I am wondering what to do with myself now that I am on the path to achieving my culinary quest’s end. And so I ask you, dear reader, what is your ideal dish, and what would you do if you’d ever managed to achieve it (other than eat it day and night until the end of your days)?
Mealplan fodder is essentially a month-long focus on a single cookbook. I generally refer to the selected cookbook and only that cookbook as inspiration for the filling in of a month’s worth of meals. I
always try to do a plan for at least a week’s worth of meals ahead of time. I find this to be a huge time-saver, and would highly recommend giving it a whirl.