Palak corn curry is a rich, saucy dish that’s made with fresh spinach and sweet corn. It is lightly spiced and perfectly creamy, and great to pair with classic Indian sides. This dish is also called as Makai Palak as corn is known as ‘Makai’ and spinach is called ‘Palak’ in the Hindi Language. Here you’ll find step-by-step instructions with photos for making this satisfying palak corn recipe at home.
About Palak Corn
Corn and spinach make for a wonderful combination. Corn Palak is a classic Punjabi recipe that features these two fresh ingredients in one delicious dish. It’s often found at Indian restaurants, as a main or side served with rice and bread.
Cooked spinach (palak) on its own doesn’t have much taste. But it becomes incredibly flavorful when cooked with sweet corn and a vibrant paste of tomatoes, onion, cashews, herbs and spices.
This palak corn recipe is similar to Palak Paneer but creamier and saucier, and made with low fat cream (optional). The end result is a lightly spiced, smooth, delicious and nutritious curry.
The recipe can be made with sweet corn, or the Indian variety of desi corn. If you use canned corn kernels then the recipe comes together quickly as you don’t need to spend time cooking the corn cobs and then removing them.
For the gravy base, I add cashews and melon seeds which not only give a good taste but also helps in thickening the gravy. Feel free to skip them or add almonds in place of cashews and skip the melon seeds altogether.
Kindly note that in the final dish photos, I have blended the spinach to a semi-fine consistency and in the stepwise photos, they are blended to a fine and smooth consistency.
How to make Palak Corn
Preparing masala paste
1. Measure, chop and have all the ingredients ready to make the masala paste.
2. In a small grinder or blender, add the following ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons chopped or broken cashews – can use almonds instead
- 1 or 2 chopped green chilies – about 1 teaspoon chopped
- 1 medium sized onion which is roughly chopped – ⅓ cup chopped onions
- 1 medium sized tomato which is roughly chopped – ½ cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 inch ginger which is roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 small to medium garlic cloves (chopped)
- ½ tablespoon magaz (melon seeds) – skip if you do not have
3. Grind or blend to a smooth paste. Add a splash of water if needed while grinding. Set this masala paste aside.
Blanching and Pureeing Spinach
4. Next, rinse 1 bunch of spinach leaves (palak) very well in fresh water in a colander. Drain the water very well.
5. Boil 4 to 5 cups of water with ½ teaspoon salt. Let the water come to a boil and then immediately switch off the heat.
6. Quickly add the spinach leaves to this hot water.
7. Let the spinach leaves be immersed in the hot water for 2 to 3 minutes.
8. Have a large bowl of ice-cold water ready to blanch the palak. I added 10 to 12 ice cubes in 2 cups of water. You can use chilled water as well.
9. After 2 to 3 minutes, with the help of tongs, remove the spinach and place them in the ice water bowl. Keep the spinach submerged for 2 to 3 minutes.
10. Either drain all of the cold water or pick the spinach leaves with a help of tongs and transfer them to a blender.
11. Blend to a semi-fine or smooth spinach puree, adding very little water only if needed. You should get approximately 2 to 2.5 cups of spinach puree. Set the spinach puree aside.
Cooking Sweet Corn (Makai)
12. First steam or boil 2 cups raw corn kernels. I have pressure cooked the corn kernels. Add enough water just to cover the corn kernels while pressure cooking them.
You can also steam them in a pressure cooker or in an Instant Pot. Alternatively you can steam or boil 2 medium corn cobs for 4 to 5 whistles. Let them cool and then remove the corn kernels with a knife.
Opt to use canned cooked corn kernels if you are not using the raw ones.
13. Drain all the water from the boiled corn kernels and then set them aside.
14. Have all of the ingredients ready to make the palak corn curry.
15. Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons oil or butter or ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds. Fry them until they crackle, become aromatic and are browned.
16. Now add the ground masala paste. Be careful as the paste will splutter in the oil.
17. Mix very well. Then add 1 pinch turmeric powder, ¼ teaspoon red chili powder, 1 pinch asafoetida and ¼ or ½ teaspoon garam masala powder.
18. Stir and mix the spices well. Cook the masala paste on medium to medium-high heat, stirring often.
19. Continue stirring, until the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala paste. The paste will thicken, become glossy and aromatic.
Making Palak Corn Curry
20. When the masala paste is sauteed very well, then add the spinach puree to the pan.
21. Stir and mix very well.
22. Pour in 1 cup of water or as required depending on the consistency you prefer.
23. Next add salt to taste. Mix well.
24. Reduce the heat and simmer the curry for 6 to 7 minutes on low heat.
25. After 6 to 7 minutes, add the boiled corn kernels.
26. Mix well. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes more to heat the corn kernels through.
27. Whisk or beat ¼ cup cooking cream or light cream or low-fat cream till smooth. Skip the cream if you don’t want to add it.
28. Now add the cream and ½ teaspoon crushed dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi). Omit to add dried fenugreek leaves if you don’t have them.
29. Stir and cook for just a minute or so to thicken.
30. Add ginger julienne (from ½ to 1 inch ginger).
31. Serve the corn palak hot with your favorite Indian sides. It pairs nicely with roti, paratha, naan, steamed rice, ghee rice and cumin rice.
Enjoy the curry either on top of or alongside jeera rice or basmati rice. Serve with warm roti, paratha or naan bread.
Absolutely. Easy double or triple the ingredients to increase the servings from 3 to 4, to 6 to 12.
Simply swap the ¼ cup of cream for 2 tablespoons of coconut cream whisked in right at the end of cooking.
Instead of sweet corn, regular corn or even fresh green peas can be used.
Store in a sealed container this palak corn will keep well for 1 to 2 days in the fridge. Reheat in a pan.
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- 1 bunch spinach (palak) – yields approx 2 to 2.5 cups spinach puree or 250 grams spinach
- 4 to 5 cups water – for boiling the water and blanching the spinach
- 2 to 3 cups ice cold water or chilled water – for adding the blanched spinach leaves
- 2 cups sweet corn kernels or 2 medium corn cobs or green peas
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 pinch turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) – optional
- ¼ or ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
- ½ teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), crushed
- ¼ cup light cream or cooking cream (20% to 25% low fat cream) – whisked till smooth – optional
- 1 cup water
- 2 to 3 tablespoons oil or butter or ghee
For masala paste
- ⅓ cup chopped onion or 1 medium-sized
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes or 1 medium-sized
- 1 inch ginger – roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves – small to medium sized, chopped
- 1 or 2 green chilies – chopped or 1 teaspoon chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped cashews
- ½ tablespoon melon seeds (magaz) – you can also use watermelon seeds.
- ½ to 1 inch ginger – julienne
Preparing masala paste
- In a small grinder or blender, add all the ingredients listed under "Masala paste" above.
- Grind or blend to a smooth paste. Add very little water if required while grinding.
- Keep this masala paste aside.
Blanching and making spinach puree
- Rinse the spinach very well in water. Boil water with ½ teaspoon salt. Let the water comes to a boil. Then switch off the flame. Immediately add the spinach leaves to this hot water.
- And let the spinach leaves be immersed in the water for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Drain the water and quickly pour ice water over the spinach or immerse the spinach in ice cold or cold water. Keep for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Drain the ice cold water or remove the blanched spinach leaves with the help of pasta tongs and place them in a blender.
- Blend to a semi-fine or smooth spinach puree adding very little water, if needed. Set aside.
Making Corn Palak
- First steam or boil the corn kernels and keep aside. You can choose to steam the raw corn kernels or corn cobs in a pan or steamer or stovetop pressure cooker or Instant Pot.
- In the step wise instructions above I have detailed the steps to cook corn kernels in a stovetop pressure cooker. You can also use canned corn kernels to cut down on cooking time.
- After you have cooked the corn kernels drain all the water from them and set aside.
- For the cooked corn cobs, let them cool completely. Then carefully remove the corn kernels with a knife.
- Heat oil or butter or ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Fry the cumin first till they crackle, become aromatic and are browned.
- Now add the ground masala paste and mix very well.
- Then add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida and garam masala powder.
- Keep on stirring and sautéing the masala, till the oil starts to leave the sides of the paste.
- When you see that the oil has started leaving the sides of the masala paste and its color has changed, the paste has thickened and have become glossy, then add the spinach puree. Mix very well.
- Then pour water and season with salt as required. Simmer the curry for 6 to 7 minutes on a low heat. Later add the boiled corn kernels and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Whip or beat cream till smooth in a bowl with a wired whisk or spoon.
- Now add cream and dry fenugreek leaves. Stir and cook further for ½ to 1 minute.
- Garnish with ginger julienne and serve corn palak hot with naan, roti, paratha or jeera rice or steamed rice.
- In place of cashews, you can add almonds or use about 2 tablespoons of almond meal or almond powder.
- You can also use baby spinach instead of the regular spinach. For frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze all the water from the leaves. Then blend adding little water if needed to get about 2 to 2.5 cups spinach puree.
- Discard the spinach stems if they are fibrous or dense. But you can use tender and soft spinach stems.
- Skip melon seeds if you don’t have them.
- The addition of cream is optional and can be skipped.
- To make a slightly spicy curry increase the number of green chilies.
- The consistency of the gravy can be thick or medium. So you can choose to add water according to the consistency you prefer.
- If you don’t have dry fenugreek leaves then omit adding them to the recipe.
- You can use the Indian variety of white corn or desi corn or American sweet corn. In place of corn you can add green peas and make matar palak or peas spinach curry.
- For a gluten-free recipe skip adding asafoetida.
- This malai palak recipe can be scaled to make a large batch according to your needs.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Corn Palak recipe post from the archives (February 2014) has been republished and updated on 17 July 2021.