Palak Paneer is a North-Indian dish made with spinach, soft paneer cubes, and spices. This hearty curry is perfect with rice, roti, or bread!
Growing up, I wasn’t the biggest fan of spinach (can’t say the same now, I love it!). But if there was one dish loaded with greens I’d gladly eat, it was Palak Paneer. A smooth spinach gravy enhanced with onion, tomato, and spices, and soft and fresh paneer cubes tossed in this spicy and creamy sauce is a compelling combination. It’s hard not to love this dish, and I personally love a bowl of Jeera Rice with this dish.
Paneer or Indian Cottage Cheese is possibly the most loved ingredient used extensively across North Indian dishes. In fact, nowadays, a lot of other Indian dishes are also using paneer to spruce up their dishes: think paneer pav bhaji, paneer masala dosa, and so on and so forth. This versatile Indian cheese enhances the flavors of any dish it is a part of and is often the star of the dish.
Now if you’re avoiding dairy or are a vegan, you can easily swap paneer for some medium-firm tofu. Most recently, I’ve been using tofu a lot more than paneer cuz a) Tofu is cheaper (where I live) and b) I’m trying to eat more plant-based and avoid dairy. A trick I often use to make tofu taste less soy-ish and more like paneer is to boil it in water for a couple of minutes. This gets rid of any strong smell, softens the texture of the tofu, and also makes it absorb the spices in the gravy better.
Palak Paneer is the kind of dish that even spinach haters will love – cuz its flavored with all the quintessential Indian gravy spices and aromatics, making it a wholesome and delicious dish that both kids and adults devour.
Here’s a video on how to make Palak Paneer at home –
Palak Paneer – Indian Cottage Cheese in a Spinach Gravy
- 2 cups packed Spinach leaves (palak) – washed
- 1 pc Green Chili
- 2 pc large Garlic Gloves
- 1 inch Ginger
- 1 small Onion, roughly chopped
- 2 small Tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp Vegetable Oil
Making the Palak Paneer
- 1 Tbsp Oil, Butter or Ghee
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds or Jeera
- 1 pc Bay Leaf of Tej Patta
- Onion & Tomato Puree (ingredients listed above)
- Spinach Puree (ingredients listed) above)
- 2 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp Garam Masala (adjust for spice)
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder (adjust for spice)
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder (dhania)
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder (jeera)
- 1 cup Paneer or Tofu, cubed
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Cream, for garnish (optional)
Blending the 2 Purees
- Bring a pot of water to boil, add spinach and boil for a minute or two, until it wilts. Discard hot water and soak spinach in cold water to stop cooking process. Add spinach and green chili to a blender, blend to a smooth puree and set aside.
- Heat oil in a pan, add ginger and garlic and fry a minute. Then add the onion and tomatoes and saute until the mixture reduces to a mush. Once it cools, add it to a blender, blend to smooth paste and set aside.
Making the Palak Paneer
- Heat oil/butter/ghee in a pan, add cumin seeds and bay leaf and let them turn aromatic.
- Then add the onion-tomato paste and mix with the oil, fry until the mixture dries out, and oil starts to separate.
- Add the spices: salt, red chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder and cumin powder and mix well for a couple minutes to cook out the spices.
- Then add the spinach puree and mix into the gravy. Add a cup of water if the consistency is too thick and boil for a minute. Taste and adjust seasoning if required.
- Add soft cut paneer or tofu cubes and mix into the gravy, and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Turn off the stove.
- Before serving, garnish with some fresh cream (optional) and serve warm with roti or rice.
- This stores well in an airtight container in the fridge for upto a week. Or you can freeze for a few months, defrost, microwave and have homemade palak paneer whenever you desire.
- Best served with basmati rice, jeera rice or matar pulao, but also goes well with roti, kulcha, naan etc.
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