Restaurant Style Palak Paneer Recipe | Creamy Spinach Curry with Indian Cottage Cheese | Punjabi Palak Paneer Recipe
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. Pair it with Naan/Rice for a hearty filling meal.
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
- Adding Paneer in the recipe
- Why to Blanch Spinach before making Palak gravy
- Ingredients to make Palak Paneer
- How to make Palak Paneer
- Clean and wash Spinach
- Blanch Spinach/Palak
- Make Palak Gravy
- Serving Suggestions
- Shelf Life and Storing Palak Paneer
- Some more Spinach recipes from the blog
- Shop ingredients here
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/Red Lentils) to thicken the puree.
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 Vegan Palak Paneer.
Adding Paneer in the recipe
You can use homemade or store bought paneer. When using store bought paneer(if it is hard), soak it in lukewarm water for 5-10 mins to soften it. You can also lightly sauté Paneer cubes in a pan if you like that way. I avoid it and like to add soft paneer pieces only.
Check here-->Homemade Paneer Recipe
Why to Blanch Spinach before making Palak gravy
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 taste after taste from the spinach curry.
Ingredients to make Palak Paneer
Spinach (Palak) and (homemade/store bought)Indian Cottage Cheese/Paneer, 1 medium onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli(1-2), lemon(optional), tomatoes, cream, garam masala ,red chilli powder.
How to make Palak Paneer
Clean and wash Spinach
To start with, clean the spinach leaves wash it in running water. In India Palak/spinach bunch has lot of dirt. Wash it very nicely at least 4-5 times till the water comes out without any dirt.
- To blanch spinach, 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 puree the blanched leaves and keep aside
Also check my detailed post on How to Blanch Spinach and make Spinach Puree. You can also blanch spinach in bulk, store the puree and use it as required in making tortilla/paratha/poori, pulao, fried rice or khichdi.
How to Blanch Spinach Leaves(pics)
Make Palak Gravy
- 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 1/2" piece and cut in two halves.
- Puree 2 medium tomatoes with other half of ginger and green chilli. You ca also chop everything very finely.
- In a pan/kadhai, heat 2 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. Or you can use 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil.
- When the oil is hot enough add bay leaf, dry whole red chilli, 1 tsp of cumin seeds. Once the seeds crackle, add chopped garlic and ginger and sauté for 1-2 minutes, till garlic starts turning brown.
- Add chopped onions and sauté till translucent.
- Next 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.
- Cook masala for 3-4 mins.
How to make Spinach Gravy(pics)
- Now add spinach puree to masala
- 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.
- Add about 2-3 tbsp cream mix well,
- Next add add Paneer cubes.
- Finally add salt as per your taste, mix it well, cook it for 1-2 minutes.
- Finally add kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves.
Optional-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!!
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, do not add water after adding spinach puree, add milk.
Checkout this collection of Paneer Recipes from snack and starters to curries and rice recipes.
Shelf Life and Storing Palak Paneer
You can make it Palak gravy ahead 1-2 days before serving and keep it in an air tight container. Reheat, add butter and Paneer pieces before serving.
Add Tofu/Veggies of choice like mushrooms, baby corn in place of Paneer.
Soak 8-10 cashew nuts or a 1-2 tbsp of melon seeds in hot water for 4-5 minutes and grind with tomatoes. Add to gravy. Or, use any plant-based cream like Cashew Cream.
You can make Palak gravy and freeze it. Do not add paneer cubes /veggies in it. Whenever required, thaw and reheat it and add fresh paneer/tofu/vegetables. Add a tbsp of fresh cream/butter before serving(if you don't have any dairy/dietary restrictions).
You can also blanch Spinach, puree it and then freeze. Thaw the puree and use to make Gravy anytime you need.
Freeze the puree/spinach gravy in small portions which are easy to thaw. Do not freeze again reheated Palak gravy
Yes you can make Palak Paneer without blanching palak. I like to make using the traditonal method. But many times when in hurry or running short of time I make it without blanching. Fir that, you can directly puree spinach but add handful of fresh coriander leaves which will retain the bright green color of the gravy.
Palak paneer recipe has only spinach greens whereas Saag refers to a mix of coked greens (like Mustard greens, Fenugreek leaves, Collard Greens etc.). So Saag Paneer is Paneer in mixed winter greens gravy.
Some more Spinach recipes from the blog
Palak Paneer Fried Rice(Spinach and Paneer Fried Rice)
Shop ingredients here
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Blender/Grinder to puree tomatoes and spinach
- Chopping Board
- 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 Bay Leaf
- 1 Whole Dry Red Chilli
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves
- 1-2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder or as required
- 2 tbsp Cream optional or as required
- 2 tbsp Oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Sugar
- Butter for garnish optional
- Wash nicely Spinach Leaves and then blanch clean Spinach leaves.300 gm Fresh Spinach
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.
Make Spinach Gravy
- Finely chop onion, garlic and remaining ginger.1 Onion(Medium), Ginger(1" piece), 7-8 Garlic Cloves
- Puree tomatoes with green chill and half of ginger piece around 1/2" in a blender and keep aside. You can also chop tomatoes, ginger and chillies very finely.2 Tomatoes(Medium), 1-2 Green Chillies, Ginger(1" piece)
- In a pan/kadhai heat oil, add bay leaf, dry red chilli and cumin seeds. When seeds crackles add garlic and ginger and sauté till garlic starts turning brown.1 Bay Leaf, 1 Whole Dry Red Chilli, 2 tbsp Oil, 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- Add chopped onions and sauté till translucent.
- Add tomato puree and 1/4 tsp of sugar/honey to cut the acidic factor of tomatoes and spinach.1 tsp Sugar
- Add garam masala powder and red chilli powder to onion-tomato masala and mix well.1-2 tsp Garam Masala, 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- Cook till masala thickens. Add spinach puree to masala and salt as per your taste, mix it well.
- Add ¼ 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 and salt to it. Mix well.200 gms Fresh Paneer, Salt to taste
- Finally, add dry roasted dried fenugreek leaves(kasuri methi) to the gravy and mix well. Also, add 2-3 tbsp cream.2 tbsp Cream, 1 tsp Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves
- 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).Butter for garnish
- You can add more garlic in the tempering for a garlicky flavour.
Do try this simple easy and delicious Restaurant Style Palak Paneer recipe at home. You can make it for your everyday meals or when guests come over. It is a crowd pleaser healthy curry.
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