My love for East Indian cuisine began during my high school years when my family lived in Southeast Texas. Through professional ties my father had with the Indian community there, we would periodically attend events at the Indian Cultural Center around the corner from our home in Beaumont. I don’t remember the specific dishes we would eat at these events, but I do remember those exotic (to me) flavors and aromas transporting me to another place far away. This would have been all the more pleasant for me because at the time I would have loved nothing more than being transported away from Beaumont, but that’s another story.
Anyway, my affinity with Indian cuisine continued throughout my college years where I would spend many an afternoon seated on the floor, Indian style, in a small off-campus apartment sweating not from the high temperatures of the Texas Gulf Coast, but rather from the intolerably spicy dishes from the Andhra Pradesh state. They’d remind me that sitting on the floor with one's legs crossed and having to lean forward to eat helps with digestion and a plate of buttermilk and white rice after the main course (which, like everything else, was eaten with one’s hands) was the consolation prize for having to endure a dish of molten lava rocks. Good times.
I’m only moderately tolerant of spicy foods, so I more favorably inclined to something milder yet just as flavorful: Palak Paneer.
Wikipedia describes this quintessential Indian classic as a vegetarian dish consisting of paneer (cheese) in a thick paste made from puréed spinach and seasoned with garlic, garam masala, and other spices. It is usually served with a flatbread or rice. It's sister dish, Saag Paneer, is identical except that spinach can be substituted or mixed with other leafy green vegetables.
I’ve always envisioned The Wonderffle Stuffed Waffle Iron being used for any mealtime and cuisine. So I think a Palak Paneer stuffed waffle is a great example of the creative dishes that one can prepare with this.
This recipe is taken from Aarti Sequeira. It's a simple recipe, but it involves a lot of steps and some waiting, so it requires a bit of a time commitment.
One thing to note: Most of the ingredients you'll need can be found at any grocery store. However, you might find it preferable to purchase the paneer and garam masala at an Indian market. If you prefer to make them yourself, you can find instructions in Aarti's recipe. For this recipe, I assume use store-bought paneer.
Follow the directions below to prepare the ingredients. Once prepared, preheat your Wonderffle Stuffed Waffle Iron over medium heat. Gently grease the bottom pan and scissor assembly with cooking oil. Pour the batter into the bottom pan to where it almost covers the bottom indentions.
Once the batter rises over the indentions and begins to bubble, add about 1/3 cup of the palak paneer to the center of the batter, away from the side indentions.
Pour more batter over to where it completely covers it and is about even with the top rim of the scissor assembly. Lightly grease the top pan with cooking oil and place on top of the device, closing it shut.
Flip the unit and cook for about three minutes on each side. You can lift the top plate while cooking to visually check doneness.
Once your stuffed waffle is fully cooked, open the waffle iron by lifting the top lid. Placing your thumb through one of the scissor assembly handles and your index and middle fingers through the other, lift the stuffed waffle from the bottom pan. Release the waffle into the palm of your other hand or onto a plate by spreading apart your thumb and fingers to open the scissor assembly.
Enjoy your meal!
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 ounces paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 (16-ounce package) frozen chopped spinach
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 (1-inch thumb) ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green serrano pepper finely chopped (seeds removed if you don't like it spicy!)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred until smooth
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1 3/4 buttermilk
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) melted butter
5 green onions (diced)
4 Stuffed Waffles