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Culture and Food: Palak Paneer

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by

Jessica Audet

on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of Culture and Food: Palak Paneer

Culture and Food: Palak Paneer
The relationship between food and culture
Food defines a culture.
- shows what is readily available in the community
- shows the social structure of a culture; who prepared the food? Who was it eaten with?
Even with the "globalness" created by advanced transportation and the internet cultures still stick to their traditional food.
We try different cultures food but Indian food will always be Indian food.
The Paneer in the Palak
Paneer is a soft crumbly cheese made of cow’s milk but historically made out of buffalo milk. The ingredients for paneer are a whole milk and an acid (such as lemon or vinegar) . The milk is simmered until the curds separate from the whey and then is strained through a cheese cloth.
It is native to india but is also used in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afganistan and Nepal. It is prepared fried and thrown into a curry (palak in this case) but it can also be eaten fresh.

History of Palak Paneer
Paneer cheese has been linked back to the Indus Valley Civilization (3300–1300 BCE) when it was made by curdling yak or buffalo milk with sour green leaves, bark, berries and yoghurt. Now you can find it on the new McSpicy menu from McDonald’s.

The dish, Palak Paneer, originated in the Punjabi region but variations are popular all over India.
Palak Paneer
Palak, in hindi, means spinach so palak paneer is a spinach curry with sautéed paneer. Other ingredients include diced onions, chopped tomatoes and whole or chopped green chilies. This dish originated in the Punjabi region but different variations are popular all over India.

Why is Palak Paneer of cultural significance?
Because most of India is vegetarian (statistics vary from 20-42% of the population) Paneer has become an important source of protein in Indian cuisine. Vegetarian food can be distinguished from food with meat products with an evident green circle label.
Palak Paneer is very nutritious and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The dish includes many traditional spices that have been part of the Indian culture for ages including mustard leaves. Mustard leaves have been consumed in the Himalayan regions of India for more than 5000 years.
Availability in India
This beautiful and nutrient rich green dish is still a regular meal in Indian cuisine around the world.
Festivals
Paneer is so important in India an annual festival has been dedicated to it called the “Paneer festival” in Shvatra. Dishes such as Paneer Satay, Paneer Brunt Chilli, Paneer Barbeque, Paneer Butter Garlic, Paneer Kalimiri Tikka, Thread Paneer, Paneer Lasooni Methi, Paneer Kastoori, Paneer Lajawab, Paneer Adraki Masala and Palak Paneer are served to please vegetarian and non-vegetarian taste buds alike. Palak Paneer is also a traditional choice for Indian wedding menus. Most weddings include one paneer dish as an option for vegetarians.
Bibliography
http://www.lovefood.com/journal/opinions/15280/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-paneer
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=93
http://sr-caterers.com/dt_portfolio/paneer-special/
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