Palak paneer is one of the famous paneer dishes which is quite subtle in its taste and yet easy to cook. Palak paneer is a Punjabi gravy dish in which paneer (cottage cheese) cubes are cooked in smooth creamy spinach gravy.
I am so fond of this dish that I never had enough of this recipe and relished it completely whenever my mum used to cook it. This dish is also a favourite at my in-laws home and whenever winter arrives I usually make it a lot at my home. The beauty of this dish is the organic green colour it has which is beautifully contrasted with white cubes of paneer.
This recipe doesn’t require much spices and the prominent flavour is imparted by garlic. The gravy should not be overcooked as it might ruin the green colour and impart a bitter taste to the gravy. Paneer can also be added without frying, but I usually like fried paneer to go along with this recipe.
For those who don’t wish to add paneer, paneer can also be substituted in this recipe with tofu.
Palak paneer is usually enjoyed with roti, poori or pulao complimented with onion slices and lemon wedges.
Ingredients required for Palak Paneer :
Spinach leaves – 1 large bunch
Cottage cheese – 3/4 cup (cubed)
Onion – 1 medium
Garlic – 8-9 pods
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
Green chillies – 1-2
Tomatoes – 3-4 medium sized
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
Fresh cream/malai – 2 tbsp
Salt – As per taste
Oil – 2 tsp + for frying paneer
How to make Palak Paneer :
- Wash the spinach leaves to remove any dirt. Thick stems should be discarded. I usually prefer using only the leaves.
- Transfer the spinach leaves in boiling water and let it cook for about 4-5 minutes.
- When the leaves turn soft, remove the leaves using a sieve or a slotted spoon. Don’t discard the broth.
- Immediately transfer the spinach leaves in ice-cold water. This step ensures that the leaves retain its green colour.
- When the leaves cool down, transfer it in a mixer grinder.
- Grind to a smooth paste without adding water.
- Meanwhile, soak the cottage cheese or paneer block in hot water for 10-15 minutes. This makes the paneer soft.
- Dice the paneer. I have kept the pieces a bit long.
- Deep fry the paneer pieces till they turn slightly brown at the edges.
- Remove on a blotting paper and keep it aside. (You won’t see a blotting paper since I forgot to use it this time 😳
- Grind together garlic, ginger and green chillies to a fine paste.
- In a pan heat 2 tsp of oil.
- Crackle cumin seeds.
- Add chopped onions and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- When the onions turns slightly golden brown, add the garlic-ginger-chilli paste and saute for a minute.
- When the raw smell of garlic and ginger fades away, add the chopped tomatoes.
- Cook the tomatoes till it becomes soft and starts to sweat oil.
- Now add coriander, red chilli and turmeric powder and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Now add the spinach puree.
- Add enough broth and mix evenly. The consistency of the gravy should not be too thick nor too thin.
- Now add 1/2 tsp of garam masala and mix. Adjust salt. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Now add the fried panner cubes and mix gently. Simmer for further 3-4 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh cream and serve hot with phulka, paratha or rice.