Palak Paneer is considered one of the most famous Indian dishes made with delicious paneer cubes or referred to as “Indian cottage cheese“ in a creamy spinach sauce. The vibrant leafy spinach sauce includes fresh spinach leaves also known as “Palak“ in Hindi, onions, tomatoes, herbs and flavourings. Make this super-rich palak paneer following the steps given.
This delicious palak paneer recipe is the most delicious and mouth-watering recipe. It is the most common curry in and around India. This flavoursome rich and the vibrantly green dish is made with paneer in a mildly seasoned fresh spinach puree.
This is pleasant and easy to cook vegetarian main you must try! It is a loved paneer recipe, packed with healthy nutrients and vitamins like calcium, iron and vitamin C.
In this palak paneer recipe, we will show you how to blanch the spinach quickly. This is done so that the dish has a nice, vibrant green colour, as well as for some added health advantages.
Did you know that blanched spinach is healthier and more hygienic than raw? For the following reason, we recommend you blanch your spinach leaves before using them.
This tasty palak paneer goes well with flatbreads such as naan, roti, or paratha. You can also serve it with jeera rice, saffron rice, biryani rice, or ghee rice.
Palak Paneer and Saag Paneer Difference
Saag paneer and palak paneer are terms that are frequently used interchangeably, but they are really separate dishes. Palak paneer is an authentic Indian recipe made with only spinach puree. Whereas, saag paneer is made with a blend of several types of leafy vegetables.
Several leafy greens fall under this division of ‘saag’, including amaranth leaves, spinach, mustard leaves, radish leaves, dill leaves, fenugreek leaves and purslane.
Saag paneer seems to have been familiarised outside of India. Nevertheless, it is still quite rare in India. Even though they are separate dishes, both palak paneer and saag paneer are hearty, healthy and flavorful vegetarian curries.
To make Palak Paneer
Blanch Spinach and Prepare the Puree
- Using a strainer, wash the palak (spinach) leaves about 250 grams, very well under flowing water.
- Simmer 3 cups of water in a pan, microwave or an electric water heater. Add ¼ teaspoon salt to the hot water and let it mix well. Then add the palak leaves into the water.
- Let the spinach leaves sit in the water for over a minute. If you are doing this on a stove, be sure to turn the flame off the pan.
- While the water is getting to a boil, prepare a bowl of ice water and set it down. Just add a few ice cubes to 2 to 3 cups of water to get cold water.
- After a couple minutes, strain the spinach leaves.
- Quickly transfer the palak (spinach) leaves to the bowl bearing ice-cold water. This process of “shocking” the spinach helps maintain the vibrant green richness of the spinach. Allow the spinach leaves to stay in the cold water for a minute or two to stop the cooking process.
- Pour the ice-cold water into the drain and squeeze the spinach to remove any excess dampness. Add the spinach in a blender or grinder container with an inch diced ginger, 2 to 3 garlic cloves and 1 to 2 chilli peppers or green chillies. You can utilise a hand-held immersion mixer to make the puree if you fancy.
- Make a creamy spinach purée by blitzing the components together. There should be no requirement of adding any water to make the purée. Set the spinach purée away to rest.
Make Spinach Gravy
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, vegetable oil, ghee or butter in a pan or Kadai (wok). If using salted butter, melt it on a low flame making sure that it does not burn or turn brown.
- Add ½ teaspoon cumin or also locally known as jeera seeds and let them crackle.
- Later, add a small to medium-sized bay leaf.
- Add ⅓ cup finely diced onions (1 small to medium-sized onion).
- Sauté until the onions turn golden brown.
- Then add a teaspoon of evenly chopped garlic. Sauté till the raw odour of garlic is gone, but stop short of cooking the garlic.
- Add ⅓ cup diced tomatoes.
- Sauté the tomatoes till they soften and brighten.
- Once the tomatoes are cooked and softened, you will see fat releasing from the sides of the mix, then continue to add ½ teaspoon red chilli powder, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, and a pinch of asafoetida or known as hing.
- Stir well for a few seconds.
- Add the spinach purée to the frying pan.
- Add ½ cup of freshwater or as needed. Mix well and stir again until all the elements come together.
- Cook the gravy for 5 to 7 minutes and let it boil or more until the spinach puree is thoroughly cooked. Add salt as much as is required. The gravy will have thickened in consistency by now.
- Mix well and add about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of garam masala.
Assemble Palak Paneer
- Mix again and then put in the paneer cubes about 200 to 250 grams cottage cheese straight to the sauce.
- You can even choose to lightly shallow fry the paneer cubes in some oil till they are light brown colour and then add them into the spinach gravy. In this recipe, you don’t need to fry the paneer any further.
- Mix smoothly and turn the heat off.
- Finally, add 2 tablespoons of fresh cream or low-fat cream.
- You can also add a teaspoon of crushed and dried Kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves at this step, although this is optional.
- Stir lightly so that the cream gets evenly mixed into the gravy.
- Palak paneer hot is best served with roti, naan or paratha or jeera rice or ghee rice. You can top it with fresh cream or some butter also while serving. You can add a few drops of lemon juice on top and Voila!