Palak is Hindi for spinach, and paneer is a type of cheese eaten in India (similar to cottage cheese; tofu being a vegan substitute). In this dish, spinach is blended with coconut milk and spices to make a delicious and balancing curry. Paired with chapati and rice it will feel like you are eating a meal straight from India!
Each month, we feature on our blog one free recipe from our membership, SAṄGHA which has been hand-crafted by our in-house cook, Rainer. These recipes have been specifically made with the principles of Ayurveda in mind and heart. Eating according to the traditional medicinal principles of Ayurveda can bring balance and harmony to our mind, body, and soul, ultimately aiding us in our path of Awakening.
This month, we want to share with you a classic ashram favourite: Palak Paneer & Chapati!
In Ayurveda, it is recommended to create a meal with 60% augmenting (building) and 40% extracting (cleansing) qualities.
Augmenting ingredients include foods that are sweet, sour, and salty. For example root vegetables (carrot, sweet potato, beets), grains (rice, barley, wheat), as well as fruits.
Extracting ingredients include foods that are bitter, astringent, and pungent. For example bitter greens like dandelion leaves, spinach, and kale, as well as cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
This recipe has a 60/40 balance with all 6 tastes. The chapati, rice, coconut, and paneer all have augmenting qualities and the spinach and cilantro are extractive. The meal is also Vata-Pitta pacifying balancing heat and cold in the body.
Total Time: 45 min.
1 cup white basmati rice
2 cups water
2 tsp ghee
2 pinches of mineral salt
1 tablespoon ghee
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
2-inch piece fresh turmeric, grated or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp mineral salt
1 tsp maple syrup
1 can coconut milk
2 big handfuls of spinach
1 cup of paneer cubed, or tofu
lime, cilantro for serving
1/2 cup wholewheat flour
1/2 cup chana flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons ghee
Heat a small saucepan over medium, add ghee and salt.
Next, add rice and stir to coat, then add water and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
Heat a saucepan over medium, add ghee, ginger, turmeric, spices, and salt once warmed.
Stir until fragrant then add coconut milk and 1.5-2 cans of water. You may add more or less depending on desired consistency. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Add spinach and maple syrup. Stir until spinach wilts.
Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree until smooth.
Bring back to a simmer with the lid on.
Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron or other medium-sized pan over medium-high heat. Add a few drops of ghee then add cubed paneer or tofu.
Allow to sizzle and cook on one side until crisp then flip. Once evenly cooked add to curry and simmer 5 minutes longer.
Serve with rice and chapati, garnish with lime, cilantro, ghee, or date chutney.
In a bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir in oil and water. Using hands, mix until a smooth dough is formed. Add more water or flour as needed.
Let rest for 10 minutes.
Divide dough into 4 portions.
Flour a surface lightly, then roll out each ball into 6-7 inch circles.
Place a small amount of ghee or neutral oil in a heavy-bottomed or cast iron pan over med-high heat.
Cook chapatis until puffed and lightly browned, flip, and cook 20 seconds more on the other side.
Serve warm over curry.