I think we really like our new cookbook, Extending the Table that Will got me for Christmas. I had eyed it for awhile at Ten Thousand Villages, because it looked like our other favorite cookbook Simply in Season, but with a more worldly variety of recipes. It covers foods from all over the world, with a focus on street foods that are simpler to cook. Thus, why we like it because that also helps keep costs down! Plus, it’s always fun to make international foods, which we particularly enjoy.

This recipe appears to have a few more ingredients than you might consider “simple,” but at its core it is simply spinach, cottage cheese, and tomato. We served ours with turmeric brown rice, which helped fill out the meal and absorb the flavors of the spinach. At first taste, this dish did not appear to be anything spectacular and we were almost disappointed since we figured with the ginger and other spices, it would have a few more pops of flavor. However, the more we ate it and the more the rice absorbed and distributed the flavors, the more we enjoyed it. Similar to the Tanzanian Chickpeas in Coconut Milk, this dish proved itself to be better the second day, after the flavors had time to set in overnight. Because of its simplicity, I would imagine we would make this dish again, although so far the winner from this book is definitely the Tanzanian Chickpeas in Coconut Milk (I’m almost drooling just thinking about it!)

Cooking Notes: The biggest change we made was using baby spinach, instead of regular spinach. Otherwise, we pretty much followed this recipe to a “t”!

Palak Paneer: Spinach in Cottage Cheese (adapted from Extending the Table; serves 4)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1-inch piece ginger root, grated
1 lb. baby spinach
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Heat oil in the saucepan-toss in onion and ginger and fry until golden brown. Add spinach, red pepper, garlic, salt, and the cinnamon stick, cooking about 10 minutes. Then add the tomato, cottage cheese and water, cooking another 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Place in a serving dish and sprinkle with the cumin.

We have made a second variation of Palak Paneer, which is the superior recipe. Find it here.

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