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 rather tolerant of spicy foods, but I am 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 fromAarti 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!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 ½ cups coconut milk
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp Tumeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- Kosher salt
- 1 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 oz paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes (can substitute with hard tofu understanding the taste will differ)
- 8 oz chopped spinach
- 1 small white onion, finely chopped
- ½ tbsp ginger root, peeled and minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small green serrano pepper finely chopped (seeds removed if you don't like it spicy!)
- ¼ tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ cup plain yogurt, stirred until smooth
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, cornstarch and black pepper and salt in a bowl.
- Pour coconut milk over the dry ingredients and very gently stir until halfway combined. Pour in the ghee and continue mixing very gently until combined.
- In a large bowl, mix together the turmeric, cayenne, ½ teaspoon of salt, and tablespoons of oil.
- Cut the paneer into small cubes and toss them to the oil mixture.
- Put a large nonstick pan over medium heat and then once it's warmed pour the paneer mixture into it.
- Put two or three sheets of paper towel on top of a plate and set nearby the stove.
- After the paneer has fried for two or three minutes, turn over each piece individually with tongs and then fry for about another minute or so.
- Once the paneer is sufficiently brown on both sides, turn off the heat and with the tongs place each cube of paneer onto the paper towel.
- Turn the heat back on and add another ½ tablespoon of oil, onion, garlic, ginger, and serrano to the pan. Saute this mixture for about 15 minutes until it gets toffee-colored. Every so often, add a few tablespoons of water to it to keep it from getting too dry.
- Add garam masala, coriander, and cumin. You may want to add a few more tablespoons of water to keep it from getting too dry. Cook this for another five minutes or so, stirring often, until the raw scent of the spices cook out, and it all smells a bit more melodious.
- Stir in the spinach and add some salt and abut ¾ cups of water. Cook this uncovered for another five minutes.
- Turn off the heat to add the yogurt, a little at a time to keep it from curdling, and then the paneer. Turn the heat back on, cover and cook for a final five minutes or so.
Cook The Stuffed Waffle
- Place The Stuffed Waffle Iron on the burner and pre-heat it on low to medium low temperature.
- Lift the top pan and pour about ¾ cup of batter onto the bottom pan, covering the bottom indentations.
- With a ladle or large spoon, scoop out some of the palak paneer and drop it onto the batter, being sure not to reach the side indentations.
- Cover the filling with more batter up to the top rim of The Stuffed Waffle Iron.
- Close the waffle iron, flip it, and cook on medium-low for about 6 minutes on each side. When done, turn the heat off, open the top pan, and remove the cooked stuffed waffle using the center pan.