Spicy paneer wontons in a gentle spinach soup

23 Jan

spicy paneer wontons in a gentle spinach soup

I am pretty sure that I wasn’t well acquainted with paneer when I was a child, as my earliest memories of it must be from my pre- teens. I recall that one of my dad’s friends had landed a business deal delivering this marvellous new product that was increasingly popular, so popular in fact that it was flying off the shelves. It may have had something to do with the popularised chilli paneer dish? Packaged paneer ready in the fridge. I was new and it was exciting.

So he handed my dad some freebies and naturally I ensured that they landed in my lap and thus started an era of paneer experimentation. It had fast become the favourite food of every other Asian person in my network. Paneer is an unsalted, full fat Indian cheese that may be crumbly when fresh and spongy or even chewy when pressed and ready-made for sale. I think that a lot of tired taste buds weere wakened when paneer came into fashion with is almighty, loud and punchy flavours. Plenty spice, liberal use of garlic and ginger, copious soy sauce and ketchup made for lively and lasting tastes.

I love that paneer is a wonderful sponge for juices and flavours; it is clean and will mop up full flavours generously.  I experimented many times over the years, scrambled paneer in a bhurji is one of my favourites and this has become the stuffing for my wontons today.  I love thick and creamy shahi paneer dishes, kofta (balls with veg and simmered in thick gravy), I love paneer in cashew nut gravy and who can deny the simple, clean and guilty pleasure of ras malai?

A few people wrote to me this week asking about palak paneer (curry of paneer cubes simmered in smooth spinach) and it got me thinking…so I made this and I am very excited about. It’s pretty special. The spinach soup is light and easy, but incredibly addictive and soothing. Not a bad thing to find spinach addictive! The paneer is punch and full, has bite and parcelled into slippery smooth wontons. Can it get any better?

As a tip, make sure the paneer is pretty warm all the way through, cold paneer is chewy but when warm, this recipe really comes to life and it’ll be juicy and tender. Perfect.

Ingredients to serve 4 (makes 16 wontons)

For the wontons;

150g paneer, grated

¼ tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. mixed cumin and coriander powder

¼ tsp. turmeric

¾ tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. tomato puree

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or minced

1-2 spring onions, finely chopped

1 tbsp. sesame oil

½ tbsp. soy sauce

16 wonton wrappers

Salt to taste

½ tsp. chilli powder

For the soup

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

200g finely chopped (or in the food processor) spinach

800ml vegetable stock

One medium onion, thinly sliced

4-5 curry leaves

One chilli, finely chopped

1 tbsp. corn flour mixed with water

1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1 tsp. minced ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

Method

  1. To make the soup, heat the oil in a deep pan and then add the chilli, onion, curry leaves, garlic and ginger sauté until the onions have softened.
  2. Add the spinach and mix thoroughly, before adding the vegetable stock and the rice wine vinegar.
  3. Bring the soup to a simmer before adding the corn flour and water paste to thicken the soup. Simmer the soup for 5-7 minutes.
  4. To make the stuffing, heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes introducing the grated paneer.
  5. Stir in the turmeric, chilli, and coriander and cumin powder and mix thoroughly.
  6. Stir in the tomato puree and soy sauce and then cook the curry for 4-5 minutes.
  7. To make the wontons, place a teaspoon of paneer mixture in the middle of a wonton and then create little drawstring purses and seal them with a little water.
  8. Steam the wontons for 8-10 minutes before removing them from the steamer.
  9. Ladle the soup into bowls and then place 4 wontons into the bowl and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m linking this to Anneli and Louisa for four seasons because its comforting an

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19 Responses to “Spicy paneer wontons in a gentle spinach soup”

  1. liveboldlylovefreely January 23, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    I was not starving until I saw this. lol Great recipe!

    • Deena Kakaya January 23, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

      Oh thank you, that’s high praise! I hope you’ll try it out x

  2. Camilla January 23, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    Oh wow, this dish is drop dead gorgeous to look at and to eat I’m sure. I love wontons and spinach soup so a match made in heaven with all those lovely spices:-)

    • Deena Kakaya January 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

      Thanks so much Camilla for the wonderful words , so kind of you. I’m quite excited about this recipe x

  3. Anita Menon January 24, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    Your recipes are fantastic Deena. I have bookmarked so many of them already. This one looks like a clear winner

    • Deena Kakaya January 24, 2014 at 8:19 am #

      Comments like yours make my day Anita, thank you so much! I’m enjoying your site too, your recipes and photography are so lovely xx

  4. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche January 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Oohhh this looks awesome! Palak paneer / saag paneer is my FAVOURITE thing to order when we get an Indian take away. I sometimes find paneer a little dry on its own but I bet it’s fantastic with the spinach soup 🙂

    • Deena Kakaya January 24, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

      Really Becca? Got to love a bit of palak paneer! Yeah this soup is not too thick, so when it’s hot it keeps the paneer in the wonton nice and moist! Xx

  5. Ganga108 January 24, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

    I think I need you to come cook at my place. Love your food. xx

    • Deena Kakaya January 24, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

      Now that’s a compliment! I’m very flattered x

  6. Joanne January 25, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    I am a BIG fan of paneer. I loved how you stuffed it into wontons as sort of croutons for this soup!

    • Deena Kakaya January 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

      Hi Joanne, oh you are a paneer fab too? That’s great to hear. I love it when paneer is warm all through because it’s juicy and tender that way. When paneer grows cold it’s chewy and i don’t like that’s, so the soup keeps the paneer warm. Xx

  7. Simi Jois January 26, 2014 at 5:14 am #

    I love the idea of paneer wontons, and I should kick myself for not thinking about it. Thanks for sharing ! looks so inviting

    • Deena Kakaya January 26, 2014 at 8:53 am #

      Hi Simi, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’m glad to learn that you like this one!

      It’s really easy to do and the paneer stays warm and moist because of the heat of the soup. It’s a really quick and easy dish to make, which is a bonus in my eyes! I hope you’ll try this one out and enjoy it x

  8. Eat Your Veg January 27, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

    Gorgeous recipe Deena! I’m a big spinach fan but haven’t actually souped it yet, yours sounds truly wonderful. And as for the scrambled paneer wontons, YES PLEASE! The spice mix sounds heavenly. I adore paneer, and have been contemplating making my own for years, apparently it’s pretty simple? Thanks so much for entering January’s ‘Virtuous’ Four Seasons Food.

    • Deena Kakaya January 27, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

      Hi Louisa! Great to hear from you. Thank you for the generous words on this recipe. The soup is just lovely, lightly and delicate. It’s soothing and the wonderful thing is that the heat of the soup keeps the paneer moist and juicy. They’re lovely. It really is very easy to make paneer, if you ever want to make paneer and want to talk, let me know xx

  9. Lisa January 28, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    Anything paneer gets my attention. Another lovely dish.

    • Deena Kakaya January 28, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

      Oh I remember that you like paneer Lisa, I’m so glad that you like this recipe xx

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