Hope you have had a good weekend. As the country takes the first baby steps out of lockdown today, with millions of children back at school, I hope it is the start of positive times ahead.
On the cooking front, sharing with you a light yet flavoursome and easy recipe of my version of the all time favourite Indian dish of palak paneer. If you are not familiar with this, it is a dish of cubes of Indian cottage cheese (paneer) in a smooth spinach (palak) gravy. Palak paneer is a very common vegetarian dish in North India but it’s popularity is now spread all over the sub continent and beyond. It is a must have item on the menu in ‘dhabas’, the roadside restaurants in India, famous for whipping up rustic local cuisine.
Palak paneer, or the ‘green paneer curry’ as the kids call it is one of our favourite ways of enjoying a paneer curry and one of the most frequently made. Most Indian households probably have their version of this recipe and today I’m sharing mine. It is light yet full of flavours and this is a very easy recipe. The creamy paneer cubes in a silky spinach gravy is a delight to scoop up with some flatbread or even as an accompaniment to a rice dish.
Like most traditional recipes, although the basic is the same, different families have their own way of preparing a dish. And the following is my take on this very popular Indian dish. I also do not use any tomatoes or onions but do like to add lots of garlic to enhance the flavour.
I never fry the paneer cubes before adding them to the spinach gravy like many people do as I prefer its creamy texture. If you wish, before adding the paneer to the spinach gravy, you can lightly fry the paneer pieces in a little oil till golden.
Check the salt towards the end of cooking and adjust accordingly. I added only a tiny bit more at the end and that was enough for us; do it according to your taste.
I have used ghee for tempering. If you do not have ghee, you can do the tempering in other oils or butter. But if you can get hold of the ghee, it will make it worthwhile as it gives a beautiful flavour to the dish. I have used only a teaspoonful, and it was enough to make the dish fragrant.
Continue reading for the ingredients list and detailed instructions for palak paneer, complete with a video. It is a very simple recipe, that can be made quickly and is light yet full of flavour. Hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do.
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- 280 gms spinach leaves, washed well and drained
- 400 gms paneer, cut into small pieces (see notes below)
- a small bunch of fresh coriander
- 2 fresh green or red chillies; I used red
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 1 tbsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- ½ tsp salt (see notes below)
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp ghee OR butter OR oil (see notes below)
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 dried red chillies
- 2 one inch stick of cinnamon
- 5 pods of cardamom
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- Ina pan, add the spinach, fresh coriander, fresh chillies, garlic, cumin powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilli powder, kasuri methi, salt and water.
- Put the lid on the pan and place over high heat for 3 minutes.
- Stir well, reduce the heat to low and cook covered for another 4 minutes.
- Stir again, cover and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Increase the heat to high and cook for another minute.
- Turn off he heat.
- Transfer the spinach mixture along with all the juices to a blender and puree the mixture.
- Place the puree n a pan and add the paneer and garam masala powder.
- Mix everything together gently (the paneer will crumble otherwise) and place the pan, covered, over low heat.
- Meanwhile, heat a small pan and add the ghee/oil or butter.
- Add all the ingredients for tempering and stir till the spices begin to splutter and release their aroma.
- Transfer everything from the small pan with the tempering into the pan with the paneer and spinach gravy and stir in.
- Cover and cook for minute.
- Stir, raise the heat slightly ( between low and medium), cover and cook for another minute. Check the seasoning and add more salt if you need to.
- Stir and remove from heat.
- Serve hot with Indian flatbreads or rice.
- Check the salt towards the end of cooking and adjust accordingly. I added only a tiny bit more at the end and that was enough for us; do it according to your taste.
- If you wish, before adding the paneer to the spinach gravy, you can lightly fry the paneer pieces in a little oil till golden. I prefer not to do this as we like the creaminess of the paneer.
- As I have mentioned, if you do not have ghee, you can do the tempering in other oils or butter. But if you can get hold of the ghee, it will make it worthwhile as it gives a beautiful flavour to the dish. I have used only a small teaspoonful, and it was enough to make the dish fragrant.
All the Indian recipes on this blog can be found here.
Until next time,