700g leaf spinach
250g paneer, crumbled into large pieces
1 tbsp ground fennel seeds
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp coarse semolina
1 medium red onion, chopped finely
1 tbsp grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp garam masala
4 green chillies, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste
16 sheets filo pastry (approx. 12″ x 22″)
200g butter, melted
Pinch or turmeric
Sesame and nigella seeds
For the Cucumber and Carrot Mustard Salad
2 large cucumbers
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp English mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (optional)
Juice 2 lemons
Fried green chillies (optional)
Preparation starts at time code 01:25.
1. To make the pies, heat the sunflower oil in a pan and add the cumin. Allow to sizzle before adding the red onions. Sauté for a moment and add the ginger, garlic, chillies, garam masala and salt. Cook for 5 minutes and set aside.
2. Place the spinach in a colander (you might have to do it in batches) and pour boiling water from the kettle on top. Rinse with cold water and squeeze out all the excess water. Repeat for all the spinach.
3. Pile the spinach into a large bowl, add the paneer, onion mixture, ground fennel seeds, semolina and ricotta. Combine thoroughly.
4. To assemble, place one sheet of filo pastry on a work surface. Brush it generously with butter before adding your next sheet. Repeat the layering process until you have 4 filo layers.
5. Along the longest edge of the pastry, make a line of filling. Roll it up as tightly as you can without breaking it. Roll it 1 ½ times over itself. If you have excess pastry, trim it with a pizza cutter.
6. Once you have a pastry snake, brush it with more butter, and then take one edge to start rolling it into a coil shape.
7. Take some additional butter and mix it with the turmeric. Brush this all over the top of the coil. Sprinkle with nigella and sesame seeds.
8. Repeat for the next three snails.
9. Place your four palak paneer snails onto a baking tray and wrap with cling film. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake for 45 minutes at 160C.
To make the Cucumber and Carrot Mustard Salad
1. Make the salad a couple of hours before for best results. Chop one of the carrots with a crinkle cutter or slice them thinly. Using a peeler, ribbon the other cucumber all the way around. Don’t include too many of the seeds as they’ll make the salad watery. Save them for a snack later. Ribbon the carrots in the same ways as the cucumber.
2. To make the dressing, heat the oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds. Wait for the mustard seeds to pop and crackle, and then add the mustard, lemon juice, salt and the optional sugar. Mix this all together and then turn off the heat. Pour the dressing over the cucumber and carrot and mix together. Allow it to stand for around 30 minutes. Lots of water will come out of the salad. With clean hands, squeeze the salad removing excess water. You’ll be left with firm vegetables and slightly pickled flavour. So good.