One of my favorite Indian dishes is Palak Paneer, a type of spinach curry. It is a creamy spinach dish that has cubes of paneer in it (almost like farmer cheese). It was my inspiration for this toddler’s version.
~ Frozen chopped spinach (I usually use a 10 oz bag)
~ Cottage cheese (up to 16 oz)
~ Cumin powder
~ Turmeric (if desired)
~ optional – other spices
Preparation is very easy. I thaw out and heat the spinach in the microwave until it is warm, and mix the bag in a bowl with the cottage cheese, sprinkling with the cumin to taste. You may want to do less cottage cheese (like 8 oz), or you can try some sour cream instead. I use what is on hand, what is convenient – and with cottage cheese, my toddler will gladly eat the leftover cottage cheese.
Turmeric does not have a lot of flavor, and adds color – something you may or may not want to do when you have an infant or toddler that gets food on themselves. It will definitely leave stains! I add it out of habit from making Indian dishes for ourselves, but it has fantastic health benefits. An “authentic” palak paneer dish has more Indian spices and is often spicy, but I like to keep it simple for my kids as they try new things. You can certainly add in spices to this dish especially if you are trying to introduce mild spices into your child’s diet.
After mixing the ingredients, I simply puree in a blender. You can puree to different consistencies, making the spinach pieces as small as you like depending on the age of your toddler or baby. It does not have to be pureed.
I have not tried adding paneer, but for a toddler you could easily chop tofu into small cubes and sprinkle in, or use small cubes of real paneer. Real paneer is generally fried, so it may be better suited for older children if you wish to omit fried foods.