Palak paneer recipe – Indian cottage cheese in spinach gravy. Palak paneer is one of the most loved north Indian dishes. It is very easy to prepare and tastes delicious. It is served with naan, roti or even with any flavored rice like plain basmati rice or jeera rice.
Palak paneer recipe can be made in so many ways. This is an easy and healthy one which i finally arrived at after trying so many other recipes. There is no blanching involved in the recipe, so no loss of nutrients in the spinach.
For the regular use, i make this without any cream, curd or nuts. To get a restaurant style taste and gravy, you can use cream or cashews or almond milk. Instructions included in the recipe below. To get the best color, keep garam masala to minimum in this recipe and also prevent overcooking which darkens the dish.
Palak paneer recipe card below
- 1 heaped cup paneer cubes/ Indian cottage cheese (150 grams)
- 2 cups palak tightly packed (100 grams)
- 2 to 3 green chilies deseeded
- ¾ cup fine chopped onions or ½ cup paste
- ½ cup tomatoes (deseeded) or puree
- ¼ tsp kasuri methi
- ½ tsp coriander powder (optional)
- ¼ tsp cumin powder
- ¼ to ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp garlic paste or ginger garlic paste
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 2 green cardamoms
- 2 cloves
- ⅛ tsp cumin or jeera
- Oil or butter as needed
- 2 to 4 tbsp. Fresh cream or 10 cashews(refer notes)
- salt as needed
- This step is optional. Fry paneer in a pan with 1 tsp oil for 2 to 3 mins. To keep them soft, you can also drop them in water and leave for 10 to 15 mins. Drain and set aside.
- In the same pan, add green chilies, spinach and fry for just 2 to 3 mins on a medium heat. Spinach must wilt off thoroughly. Do not overcook. Set aside to cool.
- Grind spinach with green chilies to a smooth puree.
- Heat a pan with oil, add cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves and cumin, when they begin to splutter Add onions and fry till they turn transparent.
- Add ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell goes away.
- Add tomatoes and salt, fry till they turn mushy.
- Add kasuri methi, garam masala and coriander or cumin powder. Saute until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
- Pour half cup water and stir. Cook until the mixture thickens.
- Simmer the flame, add the pureed spinach. Mix well and cook until it begins to bubble for about 2 mins.
- Add paneer and mix. Switch off.
- This step is optional. If using cream add it now. As a substitute to cream, you can soak 10 cashews in warm water for 15 mins and blend to a smooth milk cream consistency.
- Serve palak paneer with naan, roti or rice.
If using cashews, soak them in warm water for 15 minutes and blend to a smooth puree. Alternately you can soak almonds for about 4 hours, peel off the skin and blend to a smooth paste or milk.
How to make palak paneer recipe
1. Wash cleaned palak thoroughly in a large pot filled with water. I also sprinkle vinegar and salt to remove the pesticide residue. Rinse a few times more. Drain off the water completely.
2. This step is optional. Heat a pan with 1 tsp oil and saute panir just for 2 to 3 mins. You can add them to warm water and leave for 10 to 15 mins to keep them soft. Drain and set aside. I do not add to water.
3. To the same pan add another tsp oil, saute green chilies and palak on a medium heat.
4. Switch off when the leaves wilt off. This takes only 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook, spinach takes only 2 to 3 mins to cook. If there is any stock of spinach left, you can use up, need not evaporate it.
5. Cool it completely. Add to a blender with green chilies. We are not going to use red chilli powder, so the heat comes only from green chilies. Mine were not hot, so i used 3.
6. Make a smooth paste. Set aside.
7. Heat oil in a pan or pot. Add cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and jeera. Do not skip the dry spices as we are not going to use much garam masala in powder form which helps to retain a good color.
8. Add onions or onion paste. Fry until golden.
9. Add ginger garlic paste or garlic paste alone. Fry until the raw smell goes.
10. Add deseeded tomatoes or tomato puree and salt.
11. When the tomatoes turn fully mushy, add crushed kasuri methi, coriander powder and garam masala. You can also add kasuri methi later along with pureed palak.
12. Saute until the masala smells good for 2 to 3 mins or until it begins to leave the sides of the pan.
13. Add half cup water and cook on a medium heat.
14. When the gravy thickens, lower the flame completely. Add the puree.
15. Mix it well and cook until it begins to bubble just for about 2 mins. I do not suggest cooking for long at this stage as it discolors the gravy.
16. Add the fried paneer. Mix well. Switch off the stove.
17. This step is optional. To make the palak paneer gravy creamy and tasty like in restaurants, add cream or cashew milk or almond milk. If using cashews, soak them in warm water for 15 minutes and blend to smooth puree of thickened milk or cream consistency. For health reasons, if you like to avoid cashews, you can also use almonds. Soak them in water for about 4 hours. Remove the skin and blend them.
Serve palak paneer with rice, roti or paratha.