A popular pizzeria snack takes an Indian vacation! Palak and paneer wrapped in soft and tender homemade pizza dough and then brushed with a hot spicy garlicky butter!
Made with pureed spinach, onion, tomato, spices and cubes of fresh Indian cheese called paneer, Palak paneer is a popular dish from northern part of India. It is generally served with flat breads such as naan / rotis / parathas. Naans are very similar to pizza base and goes great with palak paneer. Garlic knots are made from pizza dough, so marrying the flavors of palak paneer and garlic knots was a obvious success!
Paneer is made by curdling hot milk with a acid and then extracting all the whey from it. the resulting cheese is then weighed down for several hours to form them into blocks. Though it can be made at home with very less effort, I purchased mine from Costco (and spinach as well!)
The dough is a softer version of pizza dough and is made in a stand mixer with very less effort. Make dough and let rise. Cut into 16 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a circle.
Toss together blanched spinach, grated paneer and some flavorings, place some filling in each circle, roll into a log, stretch and wrap around to form a knot, rise again, bake, brush with spicy butter and serve.
Serve hot from the oven with your favorite tomato sauce.
Palak Paneer Knots
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup + 2 tablespoons luke warm water
Palak paneer filling
6 cups chopped baby spinach, pack lightly
1 1/2 cups grated paneer
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon garlic butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Tomato sauce ( homemade or store bought), for serving
To make dough,
Whisk flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add olive oil and water, Knead with the dough hook for 3-5 minutes on medium speed, to get a soft, smooth dough.
Shape dough into a ball, place in a large greased bowl, wrap bowl with a clean kitchen towel, place in the warmest spot in your kitchen and let rise until doubled in size for 1-11/2 hours.
To make palak paneer filling,
Combine spinach and 1/4 cup water in a large microwavable bowl, cover (a microwave safe dinner plate works) and microwave for 3 1/2 minutes. Uncover, and let cool completely. Place spinach in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze very well, to get rid off all moisture.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well with finger tips, until thoroughly combined.
To make palak paneer knots,
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Divide risen dough into 16 equal pieces, press each piece into a 5 inch circle (on a lightly greased counter), place 1 heaped tablespoon of palak paneer filling in the centre, roll into a log, press edges to seal, and pull the ends lightly to make the log about 6-7 inches long. Wrap the log around and pull the tip of one end through the middle (refer pictures) or you may wrap around like a traditional garlic knot. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough (spacing evenly). Cover sheet with the kitchen towel and rise again for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake knots for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
While the knots are baking, make spice butter.
Combine butter, red pepper flakes and crushed coriander seeds in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, until butter is melted (stir occasionally). Continue to cook for about 30 seconds, until the spices are toasted. Take pan off heat and stir in remaining ingredients.
As soon as you get the knots out of the oven, brush the melted spice butter over each knot (make sure to get all spices on the knots).
Serve hot or warm with tomato sauce.
Makes 16 knots