About this dish
Palak Paneer is one of the most popular vegetarian dishes on a North Indian restaurant menu. There are many North Indian and Mughlai style dishes that are often only eaten in restaurants and not usually prepared at home, especially tandoori dishes like naan, tandoori chicken and paneer tikka which need a tandoor to prepare, which no home cook has access to. However, Palak Paneer is one dish which is not only popular in restaurants but is also frequently prepared at home.
The dish usually consists of a creamy palak (spinach) gravy with cubes of paneer. There are many variations of the dish, some like the spinach puréed to a very smooth consistency while others make it with chopped or coarsely ground spinach for a more chunky consistency. Some prefer to fry the paneer cubes before adding them to the curry while in our family, that's strictly forbidden. Some add tomatoes to the curry while others would argue that there shouldn't be any tomatoes in palak paneer. The list goes on, however, in my opinion, it's very difficult to mess this one up. Spinach and cheese are a match made in heaven and show up across cuisines in various dishes - our recipe is not very heavily spiced and lets the mild flavours of the spinach and paneer shine through.
This is my mother's recipe for palak paneer. I love this recipe because it's a one-pot dish, all the ingredients get roughly chopped and are the cooked and puréed in the same pot with a hand blender. We're using fresh spinach in this recipe, but you can use frozen spinach by all means. Just keep in mind that frozen spinach is already blanched and doesn't need further cooking once thawed.
Enjoy this creamy palak paneer with rotis, classic or laccha paranthas or naan if you're feeling fancy.
- 500g fresh spinach
- 250g paneer
- 1 tbsp mustard oil or any other cooking oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 20g or 4-5 cloves garlic
- 20g ginger (optional)
- 2 green chillies (optional)
- 1 or 150g onion
- 1-2 tomatoes
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp + for garnish garam masala
- 1/2 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1 tsp kasoori methi
- 1 tbsp or 15ml lemon juice
- 2-3 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp or to taste salt
- Wash the spinach well, roughly chop the spinach and separate the stems and leaves since their cooking time differs.
- Add oil to a deep heavy bottom pot or pan and once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
- Then add in the roughly chopped garlic, ginger and green chillies (if using). Allow the aromatics to fry and flavour the oil.
- Once the garlic is golden brown, add in the roughly sliced onions and fry still translucent. Then add the spice powders - coriander powder, garam masala, red chilli powder and the kasoori methi. Fry for 30 seconds till fragrant.
- Now add the chopped tomato and salt and cook on medium heat till the tomato is no longer raw and most of the liquids have evaporated, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the spinach stems and cover and cook to soften. Once the spinach stems are soft, add the chopped spinach leaves and cover to allow the steam to cook the leaves. Be careful not to overcook the spinach, once overcooked the spinach will lose it's bright green colour.
- Once the spinach leaves have wilted, purée the spinach and vegetable mixture till smooth using a hand blender. Squeeze in some lemon juice into the purée.
- Add the cubed paneer and cook for another 3-5 minutes till it warms up and softens.
- To finish, add some fresh heavy cream and a pinch of garam masala.
- Serve and enjoy with rotis, paranthas or naan along with a tall glass of lassi or chaach.