Palak Paneer is one of my favorite Punjabi dishes. Paneer is very popular and widely used in North India – Punjab, due to the abundance of milk and milk products in that region.
Palak is spinach and paneer is Indian cottage cheese, and the combination of both in a delicious gravy is called palak paneer. It’s a bright green curry made with blanched and pureed spinach and paneer cubes cooked with easily available spices.
Spinach – You will need palak or spinach leaves to make this dish. Try to use fresh and small leaves. I use baby spinach. The quality of palak makes a lot of difference in the taste of this dish. I prefer fresh leaves, if available, otherwise, I have made this gravy with frozen spinach as well and it worked just fine.
Paneer – You can get paneer or Indian cottage cheese in any Indian store. To make this curry vegan, replace paneer with tofu.
Onion – I prefer red onion for this recipe but white onion also goes well in it.
Tomato, Green Chili & Garlic Cloves – I use roma tomatoes for most of the dishes as they are full of flavor. Garlic is a very good flavoring agent to most of the dishes.
Lemon Juice – Adding lemon juice at the end makes sure the iron from spinach is absorbed by the body. So, make sure to add it.
Spices – You will also need basic spices like cumin seeds, dry red chilies, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, red chili powder, salt, and garam masala powder.
Wash the spinach thoroughly under running water.
2. Fill a large saucepan with about 3 quarts of water and bring it to boil. Add the baby spinach to the boiling water. Add half of the spinach first, If all of it doesn’t fit into the saucepan. Once the spinach starts wilting, add the remaining spinach. Cook for about a minute or two, until all the spinach wilts.
3. Drain the water immediately and run the spinach under cold water. This helps the leaves retaining their green color.
4. Gather ingredients.
5. Heat a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add 2-3 tbsps oil and then add cumin seeds, chopped onion, garlic and green chili . Sauté for few minutes until it starts changing color.
6. Add Salt, red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Mix well.
8. Put blanched spinach along with tomato, 4-5 cloves of garlic, and 2 green chili to a blender and make a smooth paste.
9. Add the puree to the pan and mix well.
10. Add paneer cubes and heavy cream to the curry. Switch off the heat and add a tablespoon of lemon juice and mix well.
11. Garnish with more paneer cubes or heavy cream. Serve with naan, chapati, or rice! Jeera rice with Palak Paneer is a great combination.
Palak Paneer is a popular north-Indian dish typically made with mild spicy spinach gravy and paneer cubes!
750 grams spinach
2 medium onion
10 garlic cloves
2 medium tomato
500 grams paneer (cut into cubes)
4 green chilies
1½ tbsp cumin seeds
salt (to taste)
2 red dried chilies
½ tbsp cumin powder
1½ tbsp coriander powder
red chili powder (to taste)
½ tbsp garam masala
½ tbsp turmeric powder
4–5 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
Wash the spinach thoroughly under running water.
Heat water in a large pot and add spinach to blanch it for 3-4 minutes.
Drain the water immediately and run the spinach under cold water. This helps the leaves in retaining their green color.
To a blender, add the blanched spinach along with tomato, 4-5 cloves of garlic, and 2 green chili. Puree to a smooth paste and set aside.
Heat a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add 2-3 tbsps oil and then add cumin seeds, chopped onion, garlic and green chili . Sauté for few minutes until it starts changing color.
Add salt, red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Mix well.
Add in the prepared spinach puree and mix. Also add around 1/2 cup water at the point.
Cover the pan and let it cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. The spinach will bubble a lot. Stir at regular intervals to avoid sticking at the bottom.
Add paneer cubes, garam masala, and fresh heavy cream. Mix it. Fresh cream can be added to the curry or you can garnish with cream while serving.
Let the curry simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Switch off the flame, add lemon juice, and mix.
Serve palak paneer hot with naan or roti or rice.
I prefer store-bought paneer for this recipe as home-made paneer tends to be softer in nature.
If you like, pan-fry paneer cubes before adding them to the curry.
Add 1/2 tbsp sugar, if you like. It’s totally optional.
If you want to make a vegan version, replace paneer with tofu and cream with cashew cream or almond cream.
Make it without onion and garlic, just grate ginger and add tomato – spinach puree.
Add aloo in the gravy and make Aloo Palak Paneer.
Soak paneer in warm water for 10-15 minutes, if it is hard. It will become soft again.
Do not add cream and paneer cubes, if you want to freeze the gravy. Freeze it in a freezer-safe container. When you are ready to serve, thaw the gravy for 3-4 hours. Nicely re-heat the gravy and then add paneer cubes and cream before serving.