Palak Paneer is a delicious Indian dish made with Palak(Spinach), Paneer(Indian cheese) and spices and is one of the most popular dishes in Indian restaurants. Originated in North India this creamy dish forms a perfect combo with Indian breads Like Naan, Chapati or Roti and can be had for lunch or dinner. Paneer, a protein rich food is made by curdling boiled milk with lime juice or vinegar. This is later strained and squeezed and kept with weights on top for some time before cutting into pieces. As most of the time I do not plan in making this dish in advance I always go for the store bought one.
Paneer is used in making many dishes like Matar Paneer(Peas with paneer), Chilli Paneer-where paneer is stir fried with other ingredients like onions, spring onions, capsicum etc, Paneer Butter Masala-where paneer pieces are added to a rich buttery tomato gravy and can be even prepared as an appetizer like Paneer Tikka.
In the recipe outlined below the paneer cubes are stir fried in butter till golden brown at the edges and added to tomato-spinach gravy and cooked for few minutes. To obatin a thicker gravy some like to add cream towards the end of preparation but in this recipe I substituted milk instead of cream. Another important point to be kept in mind while preparing this dish is that spinach has to be blanched in hot water and pureed before adding to the prepared sauce, else you wouldnt get the rich creamy texture for this dish.
1 bag of fresh spinach(palak)-10 oz
Paneer- 8 oz(225g) cubed
1 big onion chopped to small pieces
2 tomatoes pureed
1" cinnamon stick
Few cardamom seeds
Nutmeg powdered-1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds- 3/4 tsp
Garlic paste- 1 tsp
Ginger paste- 1 tsp
Chilly powder- 3/4 tsp(adjust according your tolerance level)
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 tsp
Garam masala/Meat masala - 1/2 tsp
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
Salt to taste
Butter - 1 tbsp
Oil for cooking
- Heat 1 tbsp butter in a pan at medium-high heat and stir fry paneer cubes till golden brown at the edges. Remove from heat and keep aside.
- Grind together cinnamon, cardamom and cloves to a powdered form. Keep aside.
- Heat 1 cup water in the same pan and bring it to a boil. Add spinach and cook till the leaves have wilted. Cool and blend it along with the water used for cooking spinach. Keep aside.
- Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and splutter cumin seeds.
- Add chopped onions and saute for a while before adding the powdered spices kept aside earlier. Saute till onions turn medium-brown.
- Add ginger garlic paste and mix well.
- Add chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, salt and saute till raw smell goes.
- Add tomato puree and saute for few minutes.
- Add spinach along with milk and bring to a boil. Add nutmeg powder and mix well.
- Reduce heat and cook for about 6-7 minutes. Do a taste-test to check if there is enough salt.
- Add paneer cubes and continue cooking for few minutes more till the gravy thickens/oil is seen at the top.
- Serve hot with Chapati/Roti/Naan.
Other Vegetarian Dishes: