In need of Indian cooking lesson

I happen to be slightly obsessed with food. I love all different types of cuisines, so to pick a favorite is almost impossible. But Indian food has to be pretty high up on the list. I could eat it day in and day out and I don’t really get sick of it ever. But eating it, I’ve discovered, is a lot easier than cooking it.

One of my favorite Indian dishes is palak paneer or saag paneer, either one. Although I can’t taste the difference between the two dishes, I believe the difference is that palak paneer is made up of only spinach puree, whereas saag paneer can be a mixture of different greens, like turnip greens, mustard greens, etc. Correct me if I’m wrong Indian food lovers! Either way, I love both saag and palak paneer. I love to order the dish at Indian restaurants, but want to be able to eat it more frequently so I decided I’d try to make the dish at home.

I’ve attempted to make palak paneer twice now, and the first time it turned out AWFUL. There was a strange taste throughout the whole dish and I eventually wound up throwing the whole thing out. I believe it was because the garam masala I bought at the grocery store, which is a mixture of spices used in many Indian dishes, was bad! Although I can’t be 100% sure that the garam masala was the culprit, I can’t think of what else I may have done wrong.

So, for my second attempt, I made sure I went to the South Asian food store and asked the woman at the counter for the best garam masala they had. I’ve heard it’s not that difficult to make your own, but it involves blending and toasting a whole bunch of spices, some of which I didn’t have, so I thought I could get away with buying it. This time, I used Aarti Sequeira’s recipe for saag paneer. The dish turned out decent, but this time instead of being overpowering, it was a little blander than I would have preferred (I still ate the whole thing). Maybe I didn’t allow the flavors to cook long enough together? As the dish sat, it got better.



golden paneer cheese after being fried in oil and spices. This part of the dish was fine!

Anyway, what I’ve concluded is that I really need some tips on how to cook Indian food, particularly saag/palak paneer! I’m going to keep cooking it and tweaking it, but I figured if any of you had any tips, it might save me some time and money!


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2 thoughts on “In need of Indian cooking lesson

  1. rodneylev says:

    garam masala does not go well with spinach at all. better just to make ur own, leaving out the cloves and cinnamon. the rest of the spices in most garam masalas will taste good with spinach.

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