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Monday, August 13, 2012

Palak Paneer Pizza


Although Indian cuisine is one of my favorites, I'd never had Palak Paneer before.  In fact, I'd never tried Paneer, a pressed cottage cheese commonly used in certain parts of India.  Finding it in Kensington Market inspired me to give this dish a try.  While planning the meal, however, I decided to make it into a pizza dish, instead of eating it in the typical way I eat curry: with brown basmati rice.

Knowing that Adam will only eat cheese on pizza, and only eat pizza made with mozzerella, I decided to make it only for me, and made him a plain pizza with mozz and veggie pepperoni.

While the curry itself turned out great, and the flavour was great on pizza crust, I can't say I was overly impressed with paneer, which I found very bland, and, of course, doesn't really melt, which doesn't exactly make it the best choice for pizza.  I think next time I will use mozzerella instead.  If you want to do a vegan version, cube up some firm tofu or use your favorite vegan cheese alternative.

Palak Paneer Pizza

1/2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 chunk fresh ginger, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tbls garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
1/4 cup cider vinegar or 2 tbls lemon juice
1 400g package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed (or large box chopped, fresh baby spinach)
1 cup strained tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
200g paneer or mozzerella, grated

1 whole grain pizza dough

Pour oil into a large skillet or pan and add onion, ginger, garlic and spices.  Next, add vinegar cook over medium heat until liquid evaporates.  Add spinach and strained tomatoes.  Simmer for about 15 minutes and season to taste.

Lightly grease pizza pan and then sprinkle with cornmeal.  Spread out dough to edges or to desired thinness.  Sprinkle with cumin seeds.  Spread spinach mixture over entire crust.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 450F until crust is baked through (took about 25 minutes in our oven!).  Leftovers keep in the fridge for 4-5 days or can be frozen.