Palak Paneer

Restaurant Style Palak Paneer Recipe | Creamy Spinach Curry with Indian Cottage Cheese | Punjabi Palak Paneer Recipe

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer, a popular North Indian dish in which Paneer/Indian Cottage Cheese is added in creamy spinach gravy. One of the most nutritious, easy and tasty dish.

One of the best ways used by Indian Moms to feed spinach curry to kids!! 🙂 Palak Paneer is one dish that all the kids like to have happily without fussing about the spinach gravy.

What is Palak Paneer

Palak is Spinach and Paneer is Indian Cottage Cheese.

Fresh Spinach leaves are cleaned nicely and blanched, pureed and the cooked in onion tomato gravy with ginger and garlic.

Not many spices are used in its preparation like in many other Indian dishes. I only use garam masala and red chilli powder to enhance its taste.

Since this one of the most popular north Indian dish, everyone has their own way of making it. Many people like to add tomatoes and some like to add only yogurt/curd in it, along with some chickpea flour or cornmeal or red lentils(Dhuli Masoor) to thicken the puree. I add a combination of tomato and yogurt. Also, a dash of lemon juice at the end of making it, helps in easy absorption of iron and calcium in the body.

Cream is also added to for giving richness to dish. If you don’t want to add cream, grind 1 tbsp of pre-soaked cashews along with tomatoes while making the puree. There are pointers at the end of the post on how to make it  Vegan friendly.

Benefits of blanching Spinach

Many people do not blanch the leaves and directly puree it and make the gravy. But blanching has it’s own benefits, especially we are making curries like this.

Retains the bright green color of Spinach, which is appealing to eyes in curries like Palak Paneer.

It makes easy the absorption of the calcium in body, as it reduces some amount of Oxalic acid from the leaves.

When spinach is used in making curries, it may leave an after taste of raw spinach especially the Indian variety.. Blanching helps in removing the raw or the metallic after taste from the spinach curry.

How to make Palak Paneer

Ingredients for Palak Paneer

To make Palak Paneer, we need Spinach (Palak) and (homemade/store bought)Indian Cottage Cheese/Paneer, of course:), 1 medium onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli(1-2), lemon(optional), tomatoes, yogurt/curd, cream, garam masala(available at Indian Grocery stores out of India),red chilli powder.

1.To start with, clean the spinach leaves wash it in running water. In a pot/pan add 2-3 cups of water, when the water starts boiling, add spinach leaves and let it sit in hot water for 2-3 minutes. In another pot/pan take 2-3 cups of water and add some ice cubes to it.

2.Once the leaves are soft with the help of tongs take these out or drain out the leaves in a colander and transfer immediately to ice cold water. Let the leaves sit there for 2-3 minutes then puree the blanched leaves with green chill and a small ginger piece around 1/2″ in a blender and keep aside

How to Blanch Spinach Leaves(pics)

.3. Finely chop onion, garlic cloves and another small ginger piece. We need 1 small onion, I don’t add many onions to the gravy. If you want to add more, take a medium onion. Ginger you can take around 1″ piece and cut in two halves. Puree 2 medium tomatoes and keep aside. If the tomatoes are too sour add only 1 tomato.

4. In a pan/kadhai, add a tbsp of oil. As I have mentioned in my earlier posts also, I use mustard oil for Indian cooking. You can use any oil(like olive/sunflower) of your choice.

5.When the oil is hot enough add 1 tsp of cumin seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add chopped ginger and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, till garlic starts turning brown.

6. Add chopped onions and sauté till translucent. Add tomato puree and 1/4 tsp of jaggery/sugar/honey to cut the acidic factor of tomatoes and spinach. Add garam masala powder and red chilli powder to onion-tomato masala and mix well, then add tsp of yogurt to it. This is optional. If the yogurt is too sour avoid it or use only 1 tomato for the gravy. Cook the masala for 2-3 minutes.

How to make Spinach Gravy(pics)

7. Add spinach puree to masala and salt as per your taste, mix it well, cook it for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water to it if your spinach puree is too thick. Add water carefully(as required) we don’t want runny palak paneer!! You can avoid adding water to it the consistency of your spinach puree is okay to you. After adding water cook till the gravy boils and starts to thicken, then add cubed paneer pieces to it. Mix well. Finally, add dry roasted dried fenugreek leaves(kasuri methi) to the gravy and mix well, switch off the flame and keep it covered for a few minutes.

 

Add 1/2 tsp of lemon juice if you are not adding yogurt.

To enhance the taste before serving add a dollop of butter or temper with 1Tsp of desi ghee/butter tadka with whole red chilli. You can add more red chilli powder if you want it spicy!!

Hubby and kids love with a dollop of butter in Palak Paneer. This optional.

If you are on low-fat diet you can avoid adding butter/ghee and add 1/2 cup milk in place of cream. After adding spinach gravy, avoid adding water in step 7.

For Vegan Palak Gravy

Add Tofu/veggies of choice like mushrooms, baby corn in place of Paneer.

Soak 4-5 cashew nuts or a tbsp of melon seeds in hot water for 4-5 minutes and grind with tomatoes to be added to the gravy, or you can use any plant-based cream or milk. Don’t add any water in step 7 while adding milk.

How to have Palak Paneer

We like to have it with Chapatis, Lachha Roti/Paratha, Naan(Whole Wheat Tawa Naan) or Ajwain parathas.

It also goes well for kids with Jeera Rice or Fresh Mint and Peas Pulao.

Checkout this collection of Paneer Recipes from snack and starters to curries and rice recipes.

Can I make Palak Paneer ahead and Freeze it

You can make it ahead 1-2 days before serving and keep it in an air tight container. Reheat, add butter and Paneer pieces before serving. You can blanch Spinach puree it and then freeze. Thaw the puree and use to make Gravy anytime you need.

Some more Spinach recipes from the blog..

Palak Paneer Fried Rice(Spinach and Paneer Fried Rice)

Palak Kabuli Chane Ka Pulao(Spinach Pulao with Garbanzo beans)

Spinach Tortillas

One Pot Creamy Spinach Pasta

Kale and Spinach Saag with Paneer Koftas

Sarson Ka Saag

Spinach and Pomegranate Raita

Palak Paneer Paratha

Rajma aur Palak ki Tikki

Hara Bhara Kebab

Recipe Card for Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer

Swati
Creamy Spinach Gravy with Paneer /Indian Cottage Cheese Cubes
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main
Cuisine Indian, Indian North Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 300 gm Fresh Spinach 10 oz box or pack
  • 200 gms Fresh Paneer cut in small cubes
  • 1 Onion(Medium)
  • 2 Tomatoes(Medium)
  • 7-8 Garlic Cloves
  • Ginger(1" piece)
  • 1-2 Green Chillies
  • 1 tsp Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • 1-2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder or as required
  • 1/4 Cup Cream
  • 2 tbsp Yogurt/Dahi
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • Butter for garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • Wash nicely Spinach Leaves and then blanch clean Spinach leaves.

Blanch Spinach Leaves

  • In a pot/pan add 2-3 cups of water, when the water starts boiling, add spinach leaves and let it sit in hot water for 2-3 minutes. In another pot/pan take 2-3 cups of water and add some ice cubes to it.
  • Once the leaves are soft with the help of tongs take these out or drain out the leaves in a colander and transfer immediately to ice cold water.
  • Let the leaves sit there for 2-3 minutes then drain the leaves and then puree the blanched leaves with green chill and half of ginger piece around 1/2″ in a blender and keep aside.

Make Spinach Gravy

  • Chop onion, garlic and remaining ginger.
  • Puree tomatoes or chop very finely..
  • In a pan/kadhai heat oil, add cumin seeds, once it crackles add garlic and rest of ginger and saute till garlic starts turning brown. 
  • Add chopped onions and saute till translucent.
  • Add tomato puree and 1/4 tsp of sugar/honey to cut the acidic factor of tomatoes and spinach.
  • Add garam masala powder and red chilli powder to onion-tomato masala and mix well, then add tsp of yogurt to it.
  • Cook till masala thickens.Add spinach puree to masala and salt as per your taste, mix it well.
  • Add 1/4 cup of water to it if your spinach puree is too thick and cook it for 1-2 minutes.
  • Once gravy starts to thicken, then add cubed paneer pieces to it. Mix well.
  • Finally, add dry roasted dried fenugreek leaves(kasuri methi) to the gravy and mix well, switch off the flame and keep it covered for a few minutes.
  • Add some butter/ghee tempered with whole red chilies and serve hot with chapatis, naan bread, parathas or rice (optional).
  • You can add more garlic in the tempering for a garlicky flavour.

Notes

For Vegan Version
Add Tofu/veggies of choice like mushrooms. baby corn in place of Paneer.
Soak 4-5 cashew nuts in hot water for 4-5 minutes and grind with tomatoes to be added to the gravy, or you can use any plant-based cream or milk. When you add milk, do not add water after adding gravy.
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Author: Swati

Some who believes 'EAT WELL, READ DAILY, TRAVEL OFTEN AND LAUGH KHUL KE'!!! Hi!! Swati here!!! Chef, Chocolatier, food admirer, reader, love to travel, listen to music, Bollywood and shoot nature and food pics!! Welcome to my Foodtrails and join me in my food adventure!!

33 thoughts

  1. Love palak paneer, my children prefer this dish to other spinach recipes. Liked your version, its slightly different. I have not added curd or sugar will do it next time.

  2. Palak Paneer looks scrumptious. The colour of the gravy is so inviting. Love the tips and tricks to make this gravy . My boys love Paneer and You have tempted me to make it again.

  3. Who can resist a hearty bowl of palak paneer? I can’t. Love it so much especially with makki ki roti. Like the idea of adding yogurt, which I normally don’t. Got to try that next time I make palak paneer. I personally don’t like making spinach puree without blanching the leaves first. Adds a different raw kind of taste to any dish where it is used.

    1. Rightly said Mayuriji, to me also adding spinach puree without blanching leaves a raw taste. Do try adding a bit of yogurt you will definitely like the taste

  4. The silky smooth gravy is a family favorite too. Ur tips n pointers especially to make it vegan makes it very temping to make it asap,swati

  5. Wow! Your method of making palak paneer is totally new to me. I guess it’s more authentic. 😀 Love it and will definitely try making it. Looks awesome.

  6. A much-loved dish at our home. You have beautifully explained each step so that anyone can prepare palak paneer reading this… Looks really delicious

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