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Palak Paneer

Original recipe: Jul 15 2012, Update recipe: Mar 20 2015.

Palak Paneer is a creamy, fragrant and delicately spiced curry. Fried/fresh Paneer simmered in spinach curry with sautéed onions, spices, blanched tomatoes and dollop of cream. If you love paneer and have a big bunch of spinach, think no further than palak paneer.

The spinach based curry has a silky texture with excellent taste of paneer and spices, if you or anyone in the house is not a big fan of spinach, this is a good recipe to convince to think otherwise. Start preparing the rice/roti while making this, under 30 minutes a complete meal is ready. You can add fried or non fried paneer, personalize the dish to your preference.

Unlike many other Indian side dishes for rice or roti, this curry is mildly spice. The little quantity of spices gives a robust flavor to the curry, just salt and few spices brings out the flavors along with spinach and paneer. Paneer is available in all Indian grocery stores, it is also very easy to make it at home with just milk and lemon/lime juice or vinegar. I have a recipe of homemade paneer in my website: Click here!


Serves: 3-4

Ingredients you’ll need:

5 cups of Spinach (packed)
1 large or 2 medium tomato
2 tbsp Oil + 1 tbsp butter (if frying the paneer)
1 Large or 2 medium Onion, roughly chopped
1 and 1/2 tsp Ginger – Garlic paste
2 Green chillies or chili powder – to taste
1 tbsp cumin and coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves | Kasoori methi
Paneer, 7 oz or 200 gms, cubed

Optional: 2 tbsp fresh Cream & Cubed Onions and seeded tomato, together 1/4 cup.


Step 1: Blanch tomatoes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 2 small or 1 large tomato to the boiling water (the tomatoes should be immersed in water while cooking). Cook tomatoes till their skin split open and become soft. I find blanching is a quickest way to cook tomatoes to be pureed for curries, there is absolutely no oil and does not need a lot of oil to cook the tomatoes later. Let the tomatoes cool completely before it is blended to a fine puree.

Step 2: Blanch spinach. In the same hot water, dunk the Spinach for couple of minutes, add 2 green chillies (adjust to preference) to the spinach while blanching instead of using red chilli powder later. Once the spinach is soft remove from hot water and transfer them to a bowl of icy cold water, this step helps in retaining the fresh green color. Puree to a smooth paste.

Step 3: Cook Onions with Spices. Heat 2 tbsp Oil in a pan, preferably non stick on medium heat.

Skip this step If planning to add fresh paneer: add 1tbsp butter along with oil. Flip and fry the paneer till it is light golden on all sides. Transfer the fried paneer to a bowl of hot water. Paneer has a tendency to harden and become dry when fried, this will make sure the paneer is soft till it is added to the curry.

Add Onions to the hot oil, saute for 3 to 4 minutes and add store-bought ginger-garlic paste or freshly grated ginger and garlic pods. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of salt for the onions to cook fast.

Add chili, cumin and coriander powder, saute till the raw flavor is gone but take care not to burn the spices.

Step 4: Add pureed tomatoes and spinach. Pour pureed tomato and cook till the mixture begins to thicken, add pureed spinach. Mix well, bring to boil and add garam masala, kasuri methi and salt to taste. Optional: Add 1/4 tsp of sugar. Cook for about 6-8 mins until the spinach is blended along with spices.

Step 5: Add Paneer. Gently squeeze the water out of the Paneer and add to the curry, let the paneer simmer in the curry for 5 to 6 minutes.

Step 6: Optional. Top off with 2 tbsp of fresh cream, if you want the gravy to be rich and thicker. Mix well and remove from the stove. Add 1/4 cup of cubed onions and seeded tomatoes stir fried on high heat for extra crunch and flavor.

Happy cooking.

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