Spinach Malfatti

Sharing a recipe I made for dinner today…. Husband working late and not eating dinner home….time to experiment 😉 I saw this recipe past weekend on an Indian Food website- http://www.tarladalal.com Tarla Dalal is a very well known, award wining Cooking genius. From traditional Indian food to Italian, Chinese, Thai, Lebanese….. she has recipes for all. Of course the recipes for each cuisine are based on ingredients available in India, however, she also adds a little bit of Indian-ess to the recipes by adding some Indian Spices. I have practically grown on her recipes…my mom had all possible books by her and all her experiments came from those books or recipes in newspapers and magazines.

This dish is called Spinach Malfatti (not sure why this name), it is nothing but Spinach and Paneer Dumplings in Tomato Sauce. It is a baked dish, very few ingredients and quick to make. So here is the recipe–

Spinach Malfatti

by Tarla Dalal

Serves 4


For the Dumplings:

3 cups finely chopped Spinach

3/4 cup crumbled paneer ** (cottage cheese)

2 pinches of Nutmeg powder (I did not have this, am sure adding this would make difference. Without it too it was good)

1/2 tsp chopped green chilli (jalapeno)

2 tbsp all purpose flour

2 pinches baking powder

salt to taste

For the Sauce:

1-1/2 cup tomato pulp (I just used Pom brand Chopped tomatoes and pureed in my magic bullet)

1 tbsp chopped garlic

2 spring onions, chopped

1 tbsp dry red chilli flakes

1 tsp red chilli powder (you could add paprika)

2 tbsp tomato puree (I did not use this as I had more than required tomato puree)

4 tbsp milk (2 %)

2 tbsp olive oil

salt to taste

Shredded Mozzarella for top


For Dumplings:

1. Steam the spinach leaves for 5 minutes and squeeze out the water. Reserve the water for use in the sauce.

2. Mix all the ingredients and shape into small balls.

3. Steam for 5 minutes and keep aside. The balls will expand a little and might become softer than when you put them in for steaming. However, the will not break.

Spinach balls

For the Sauce:

1. Heat the olive oil, add the garlic and spring onions and sautee for 1 minute.

2. Add the tomato pulp and cook till sauce thickens.

3. Add the chilli flakes, chilli powder, tomato puree, salt and 1/2 cup of water or reserved spinach liquid. Bring to a boil.

4. Add the milk . Mix well and keep aside. Spinach Balls 1

Baking Procedure:

1. Place the dumplings in a baking dish.

2. Pour the tomato sauce on top and sprinkle the cheese on top.

3. Bake in pre-heated over at 400 def F for 15 minutes.

Serve Hot

** Paneer is Indian cottage cheese, which is more solid than the cottage cheese you would find in a regular grocery stores. It can be easily found in an Indian Grocery Store. Im sure regular cottage cheese from regular grocery store can be used as well…but it would require draining the cottage cheese through a cheese cloth and adding more all purpose flour in order to make balls that will h0ld their shape.

Spinach Balls3

Apologies for my photography…. trying to click pics at night in yellow light just does not work 😦 BUT the flavors beat everything. Most yummiest, awesomest thing I have had in a while. The soft paneer and spinach make the most yummy tasting dumplings…. the spices in both the dumplings (salt and chopped green chilli) and the sauce (salt, chilli flakes, garlic and chilli powder) are few, simple YET very satisfying to the tongue. The milk adds nice creaminess without adding the calories 😉

Serve it with some Hoemade garlic bread (spary olive oil on bread slices, toast in the oven, rub garlic and serve) or healthy salad and make this healthy entree even healthier.

The sauce is yummy enough to add to pasta as well. I have some extra, will be using it up soon =)

I definitely enjoyed this and I am sure you will too. So try it and let me know how it turned out.


Take care.


2 thoughts on “Spinach Malfatti

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