If you are a learner like me who wants to follow simple steps and get great results, then let us combine the favourites of Indian and French palates and this recipe will kick your cooking skills up a notch.
Lip smacking palak paneer forms the base for the gooey and cheesy Gratin. Bake this fragrant and beautiful dish and your kitchen will smell of awesomeness.
This is my take on baked gratin so, feel free to try other variations. let’s get started with this !
Now, this dish is layered; the base of palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese), next come the potatoes and the top layer is of white sauce.
For the palak paneer base :
- Blanch(boil in salted water) a bunch of roughly chopped spinach leaves and keep them aside to cool down.
- Thinly slice a large onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Slice 100g paneer(cottage cheese) into cubes.
- Heat a pan on low to medium flame and add 1 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp refined/olive oil.
- Add the sliced onions and garlic and saute them till the onions become translucent. Add paneer cubes and let them get golden around the edges.
- Put the dry spices like chili flakes or paprika powder, dry oregano and 1/2 tsp of garam masala.
- Add the spinach leaves to the mixture and add salt to taste. **Remember we added salt while boiling spinach so add salt accordingly**
- Cook it for 8-10 mins till the mixture dries. It has to be a dry mixture.
For the white sauce :
- Heat up a saucepan on a low flame and add 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of refined flour (maida). Maintain this ratio 1:1 if you like to add more butter.
- Use a balloon whisk and keep stirring till the flour starts to cook.
- You can add 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp clove powder, 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder or mustard powder. Add the spices as per your taste and liking. And keep whisking simultaneously.
- Next you need to add 1 to 1.5 cup of cold milk and whisk it well to bring the sauce together.
- Add a pinch of salt and grate in 1 cup of cheese of your choice. I use the regular processed cheese blocks available in market. Stir well till the sauce starts to thicken. Cook it for 2 mins and turn off the flame.
Cut thin oval slices of 2 medium potatoes and season them with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
Now, we just have to assemble all the layers for which take any oven proof dish like i have and slightly grease it with oil. Also, at this point set your oven for preheating.
To layer the dish:
- start with evenly spreading the palak paneer mix at the base and pat down with the back of your spoon to seal the layer.
- Next start placing potato slices on top and make sure to cover the base layer completely. *If you like you can have another set of alternative palak paneer and potato layers*
- Once the layers are set, pour the white sauce over the potato slices and let it penetrate to the base layer.
- Grate some cheese on top and bake your dish in the oven at 170 degrees for 15-20 mins. *You may even add bread crumbs on top for a crispy cheesy top layer*
|Cheesy Goodness-Palak Paneer Gratin|