Palak Paneer, made from soft cottage cheese and smooth spinach sauce is a popular dish in India. The combination of herbs and spices used in this dish makes it a must-have. For vegans, cottage cheese can be replaced with tofu.
- Spinach – 5 to 6 cups (chopped)
- Green chilies – 1 or 2
- Garlic cloves – 5 to 6 (small to medium-sized and chopped)
- Ginger – ½ inch (roughly chopped)
- Water – 3 cups (for blanching spinach)
- Onion – ⅓ cup (finely chopped)
- Tomato – ⅓ cup (finely chopped)
- Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
- Red chili powder – ½ tsp (optional)
- Asafetida – 1 pinch
- Garam Masala powder – ¼ or ½ tsp
- Bay leaf – 1 (small to medium)
- Cottage Cheese (Paneer) – 200 to 250 grams
- Cream – 1 to 2 tbsp
- Ghee, oil, or unsalted butter – 2 tbsp
- Dry fenugreek leaves – 1 tsp (optional)
- Salt – as required
Preparing Palak Paneer
Step 1: Wash the spinach leaves in running water. Discard the stringy stems but keep the tender ones.
Step 2: Take a pan and boil 3 cups of water. Add ¼ tsp salt to it and stir. Next, put the spinach leaves in hot water and let them sit in it for 1 minute.
Step 3: Take the leaves out and immediately put them in a bowl containing ice-cold water. Through this method, the green color of the spinach can be preserved. Let the spinach leaves stay in the cold water for a minute. After this, drain the water.
Step 4: Put the spinach in a grinder jar or blender along with chopped garlic, ginger, and green chilies. Don’t add any water. Make a smooth puree and keep it aside.
Step 5: Next, you have to make the masala. For this, take a pan or wok and add ghee, oil or butter. If you are using butter, make sure that it does not turn brown.
Step 6: Add cumin and let them splutter.
Step 7: Next, add the bay leaf. After this, put the finely chopped onions and sauté them until they turn golden.
Step 8: Once the onion is done, add the garlic. You don’t have to turn the garlic brown. Sauté it until the raw smell of garlic fades away.
Step 9: Next, add the chopped tomatoes. Mix them well and sauté it until they turn soft.
Step 10: Once the tomatoes are softened, you will see fat releasing from the mixture’s sides. Then, add asafetida, red chili powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well.
Step 11: Add the spinach puree and mix it properly.
Step 12: Add water as required and stir it again.
Step 13: Cook the spinach at a simmer for 6 to 7 minutes. Add salt.
Step 14: By now, the gravy will thicken. Add garam masala powder and stir.
Step 15: Next, add the paneer or cottage cheese cubes.
Step 16: Stir the mixture gently on a low flame. Keep stirring until the cubes become succulent and soft. Continue cooking for 1 minute.
Step 17: Lastly, add low-fat cream. Stir gently and turn off the flame.
The delicious Palak Paneer is ready to serve. Serve it with some Indian flatbreads like chapatis, tandoori rotis, naan, or paranthas. You can even add a few drops of lemon juice or lime to give the delicious dish a tangy flavour.