We’re keeping it traditional tonight... well, almost. This tasty spinach dhal is classic South Asian fare, but it’s the ingenious spiced chapati chips that really send our hearts aflutter.
Dal Spice Blend
If you don't have a garlic press, lay the garlic clove on a chopping board. Place a chef’s knife flat on top of the garlic clove and press down firmly to crush. Finely chop the garlic.
Wash and dry all produce.* Mince or grate the garlic. Peel, then mince or grate 1 tbsp ginger. Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces. Roughly chop the cilantro. Zest, then cut the lemon into wedges. Cut the paneer into 1/2-inch cubes.
Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp oil, then half the garlic and half the ginger. Cook until fragrant, 1 min. Add the rice and toast, 2-3 min. Add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed, 12-14 min.
Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp butter and swirl the pan to melt. Add the paneer. Pan-fry, turning the cubes occasionally, until crispy and golden-brown all over, 6-7 min. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium. Add another 1 tbsp butter to the same pan. Swirl the pan to melt. Add the onions and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften, 4-5 min. Add the dal spice, remaining garlic and remaining ginger. Season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1-2 min.
Add the spinach to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the spinach wilts and the mixture comes together, 2-3 min. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Season with salt. Fluff the rice with a fork, then stir in the lemon zest and half the cilantro. Season with salt.
Add the crispy paneer to the pan with the sauce and stir to coat. Divide the rice between plates and top with the spinach and paneer. Squeeze over a lemon wedge and sprinkle over the remaining cilantro.