It’s that time of the year when there is joy and mirth all around, last minute shopping sprees to make your home look beautiful and then not to forget a huge list of grocery shopping because friends come over home for cards night and families come over to meet and amidst all this the common link is FOOD. Diwali is indeed a grand affair and what makes it even more splendid is the wide array of mouth watering savory and sweet dishes one eats. It’s time for some drool worthy Food , Food and more Food!
To make this Diwali special, here is a fusion Indian recipe – Palak Paneer Filo Tartlets with Curd and Mint dip. It’s a perfect appetizer where the Indian spices from the Palak Paneer lingers on your palate as well as the filo tartlets adds the crunch texture to the entire dish.
While I was in Kolkata, a few weeks before Diwali, my mum used to try out different recipes in the kitchen each day so that she could get out the best food for friends and family for Diwali. It was a mammoth task and I guess only she could have done that. I do take inspiration from her and try out new recipes with Indian flavors but I make sure the dishes are such that I can prep up atleast a day in advance.
Filo is difficult to handle and will tear. Be delicate and the results will be wonderful. While the crispy, delicious tarts forms the base of this dish, the earthiness from spinach compliments it well and the curd dip ties it all together. Keep the spice profile slightly higher for the palak paneer, you will really enjoy it!
So why wait, try it and have a wonderful Diwali with friends and family!
INGREDIENTS: (For 6 tartlets)
- 3 Filo Sheets (I used store bought frozen Filo Sheets)
- 3 cups of roughly chopped spinach
- 150 grams cottage cheese/paneer, cut into cubes
- 1 green chili, cut lengthwise
- 4 tbsp of melted butter
- 5 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- pinch of coriander powder
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 4 tbsp full fat yoghurt
- 10 – 12 fresh mint leaves
- salt, to taste
- pinch of sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C for atleast 8 -10 minutes. Take a couple of filo sheets one on top of the other and cut it into 3 equal halves. Take one part which has 2 layers and keep the rest aside.
Mix the melted butter with dried mint and keep aside. Take a silicon brush, dip it in the melted butter and brush gently on each of the sheets, stacking on each other.
Take cupcake trays and line these filo sheets into the moulds in the form of tartlets with rough edges.
Repeat the same process with the remaining filo halves and bake it in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until its golden brown and crisp.
Meanwhile, blanch the spinach leaves with a pinch of sugar. Once the leaves are blanched, drain the excess water and run the spinach leaves under cold water.
Take a blender, put the blanched spinach leaves with a chili in it and make a smooth puree.
In a saucepan, take ghee. Once heated, add the pure spinach and stir it for a couple of minutes.
Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt and sauté the mixture for 2 minutes.
Add in the paneer cubes and and let the curry cook for 2 – 3 minutes.
Lastly add milk and cook the curry for 3 – 4 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it cool a little.
In a bowl take in yoghurt and whisk it until its smooth. Add roughly chopped fresh mint leaves and salt, mix it well and keep in the fridge.
Once the filo tartlets are ready, de-mould it, fill it generously with palak paneer and put it in the oven on a baking tray for 2 minutes.
Serve these delicious tartlets with a fresh curd-mint dip.
Enjoy and have a great Diwali!