Rinse the spinach leaves or palak (250 grams or 0.55 pounds) in running water.
Boil 3 cups water in a pan, microwave, or electric heater. Add ¼ tsp salt to the water & stir. Next, add spinach leaves to the hot water. Let the leaves sit in the water for 1 minute.
Next, strain the spinach leaves.
Immediately submerge spinach leaves in ice water. Allow the spinach to sit for 1 minute.
Drain the ice cold water. Add the spinach in a blender or grinder jar with 1 inch chopped ginger, (1 or 2 small to medium) garlic cloves, and 1 or 2 chili peppers (green chillies)
Make a smooth spinach puree.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil (or ghee or butter) in a pan or kadai (wok). Do not brown butter.
Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and let them splutter.
Next, add one small to medium-sized tej patta (Indian bay leaf).
Add ⅓ cup finely chopped onions (1 small to medium sized onion).
Sauté until the onions become golden.
Next, add 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic. Sauté until the raw aroma goes away. Do not brown.
Then, add ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes (1 small or medium sized tomato).
Stir and sauté the tomatoes until they soften.
Add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon red chili powder (or cayenne pepper or paprika), & a pinch of asafoetida (hing). Mix well.
Add the palak (spinach) puree.
Add about ½ cup of water or as required. Mix & stir again.
Simmer the gravy for 6 to 7 minutes or more until the palak (spinach) is cooked. Season with salt.
Next, stir and add ¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala powder.
Stir again & add the paneer cubes (200 to 250 grams cottage cheese). I have added the paneer cubes directly to the gravy, but you can brown them beforehand.
Turn off heat and stir in cream.
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