i want to get this out of the way right at the beginning: this “palak paneer style spinach” is a total mashup of a few recipes with tenuous ties to “authentic” palak paneer and my own personal eating preferences and self-imposed rules de jour.
really, a much more accurate title for this recipe would be “kate’s personal current favorite way to eat spinach and chick peas and spices for dinner”, buuuuut, i wasn’t sure that phrase would get much traffic from the googles, nor did i think it would give you much of a clue as to what to expect from the recipe. (though as i think through it a bit more, perhaps creating “expectations” tied to a known recipe that is beloved by many AS IS – not tweaked and contorted – is *not* such a great idea… onward!)
ok, so, now that we’ve got that bit out of the way (and i’ve really set a solid foundation for convincing you how good this palak paneer style spinach is…), let’s talk flavor. in a word, yum. this part (the spices) is reasonably free from my meddling. onion, garlic, ginger, green chili, cumin, garam masala, etc. all the usual (delicious) suspects.
where things start to get a little weird unconventional is when we get to the protein. paneer, as you may know, is a type of indian cheese. it is delicious. also sometimes difficult to find if you are shopping in an american grocery store. extra firm tofu, as it turns out, has a similar texture and sufficiently mild flavor as to make it a good substitute for paneer.
unless you are simultaneously experimenting with not eating dairy or soy. so while i have made palak paneer style spinach with tofu standing in for paneer in the past and thought it was delicious, this time i used chick peas in place of the paneer.
paneer and chick peas have little in common, aside from the fact that they both taste delicious in indian-inspired dishes such as this one. and i’ve successfully put chick peas and spinach together in the past, so i wasn’t worried that they would get in a fight with each other and stage a mutiny (looking at you, every egg custard based ice cream recipe i’ve ever tried to make…).
and indeed, all of the flavors and ingredients behaved harmoniously and made for delicious leftovers, which i appreciate. that said, if you’re not imposing dietary restrictions on yourself for sport (only kind of true…) and eat tofu, i encourage you to swap that in for a more “authentic” (ha!) palak paneer style spinach. or if you can find paneer in a local store, give yourself a high five and use that!
sort of regardless of what you use (don’t use week old fish), this palak paneer style spinach will be delicious because did i mention there’s ginger and garlic?