Smooth creamy palak paneer made with fresh spinach leaves, paneer, onions, herbs and spices. One of the most loved recipes in my family and I hope it become yours too. If vegan or allergic to dairy products, then add tofu instead and skip cream entirely or use coconut cream.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: North Indian
Author: Dassana Amit
for palak puree
200 to 250gramsspinachor 5 to 6 cups roughly chopped spinach or about 7 to 9 oz spinach
1 or 2green chilies- chopped
1 or 2small to medium garlic cloves- roughly chopped (optional)
½inchginger- roughly chopped
3cupswater for blanching spinach
3cupswater for ice bath
1small to medium sized onion- finely chopped or about ⅓ cup finely chopped onion
1small or medium sized tomato- chopped or about ⅓ cup finely chopped tomatoes
4 to 5small to medium garlic cloves (lahsun)- finely chopped
½teaspoonred chili powder- optional
1pinchasafoetida(hing) - optional
¼ or ½teaspoongaram masala powder- add more if required
1small to medium tej patta(indian bay leaf)
200 to 250gramspaneer or tofuor about 7 to 9 oz paneer (cottage cheese)
⅓ to ½cupwater or add as required
1 or 2tablespoonscream- low fat 25% to 35% (i used amul cream) or 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
2tablespoonoil or ghee or unsalted butter
1teaspoonkasuri methi leaves(dry fenugreek leaves) - optional. kasuri methi is crushed and added right towards the end. just before adding cream.
salt as required
1 to 2teaspoonsof cream or butter for topping the palak paneer(optional)
lemon or lime wedges or slices
making palak puree
Rinse the palak or spinach leaves very well in running water. Tender stem are fine. If the stems are stringy, then discard the stems.
Boil 3 cups water in a pan or microwave or electric heater. Add ¼ tsp salt to the hot water and stir. When the water comes to a rolling boil, switch off the flame. Add the spinach leaves in the hot water. Let the palak leaves sit in the water for about 1 minute.
After 1 minute, using a pasta tong, take the leaves.
Immediately add the palak or spinach leaves in a pan or bowl containing ice cold water. This method helps in preserving the green color of the spinach. Just add 8 to 10 ice cubes to 3 cups water to get cold water. Allow the spinach leaves to be in the cold water for a minute.
Then drain the ice cold water. Add the spinach in a blender or grinder jar with chopped ginger, garlic and green chilies.
Make a smooth palak puree. No need to add water while making the puree. Keep the spinach puree aside.
Heat oil or ghee or butter in a pan or kadai. If using butter, melt it a low flame making sure that the butter does not brown.
Add the cumin and let them splutter.
Then add the tej patta or bay leaf.
Add the finely chopped onions. Saute till the onions become golden.
Then add the finely chopped garlic. Saute till the raw aroma of garlic goes away. No need to brown the garlic.
Add the chopped tomatoes. Stir and saute the tomatoes till they soften.
Once the tomatoes are softened and you see fat releasing from the sides of the mixture. Then add the turmeric powder, red chili powder and asafoetida/hing.
Stir very well.
making palak paneer
Then add the palak puree and mix well.
Add about ⅓ to ½ cup water or as required. Stir again.
Simmer for 6 to 7 minutes or more till the palak or spinach is cooked. Season with salt. The gravy or sauce will also thicken by now.
Stir and add garam masala powder.
Stir again and then add the paneer (cottage cheese) cubes.
Stir gently and simmer on a low flame till the paneer cubes become soft and succulent. Cook for about half to 1 minute.
Lastly, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of low-fat cream. If using heavy whipping cream, then add 1 tablespoon of it. Stir gently again so that the cream gets incorporated in the gravy uniformly. Switch off the flame.
garnishing palak paneer
Pour the palak paneer in serving bowls. While serving you can top it with some butter or cream.
You can also drizzle a few drops of lime or lemon juice on top along with ginger julienne on the palak paneer.
serving palak paneer
Stir and serve it hot with some rotis. It also goes very well with indian breads like tandoori roti, chapatis, phulkas, parathas or naan.
Being a versatile dish, it also accompanies rice dishes from the indian cuisine like cumin rice, veg pulao, ghee rice and even a simple steamed rice very well.
The paneer or tofu cubes can also be lightly fried and then added to the curry. In this case, you don't need to cook the paneer or tofu in the gravy as when frying they are already cooked.
Use fresh tender spinach leaves.
Remove the stems before from the leaves if they are dense or stringy. Tender stems can be added.
Use fresh paneer or better to use homemade paneer.
Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and asafoetida (hing)can be skipped if you do not have these.