Palak Paneer

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Palak Paneer, a classic Indian dish, is a delightful concoction of creamy spinach puree generously spiced and studded with chunks of soft, golden-fried paneer (Indian cottage cheese). This vegetarian masterpiece boasts a harmonious blend of flavors and textures, making it a favorite among both veggie lovers and carnivores. In this culinary journey, we’ll explore the art of making restaurant-quality Palak Paneer at home, where you can savor the rich flavors of India in every bite.

Palak Paneer is a beloved Indian vegetarian dish that originates from North India. Its roots can be traced to Punjabi cuisine, which is known for its rich and flavorful dishes. “Palak” refers to spinach, and “Paneer” is a type of Indian cottage cheese.

The dish consists of cubes of paneer (cheese) cooked in a vibrant and creamy spinach-based sauce. It is believed to have been created in the Punjabi region, where spinach is a common vegetable. Over time, Palak Paneer has become a staple in Indian cuisine and is celebrated for its combination of nutritious spinach and protein-rich paneer.

Palak Paneer is not only a delicious dish but also a nutritious one, making it a popular choice among vegetarians and those looking for healthy meal options. It’s a testament to the rich culinary heritage of North India and has gained international recognition as a flavorful and satisfying vegetarian curry.

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer, a classic Indian dish, is a delightful concoction of creamy spinach puree generously spiced and studded with chunks of soft, golden-fried paneer (Indian cottage cheese). This vegetarian masterpiece boasts a harmonious blend of flavors and textures, making it a favorite among both veggie lovers and carnivores. In this culinary journey, we'll explore the art of making restaurant-quality Palak Paneer at home, where you can savor the rich flavors of India in every bite.

Tools and Equipment

Prep Time 15 mins Cook Time 30 mins Total Time 45 mins Difficulty: Beginner Servings: 4 Calories: 226.57 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year

Ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Begin by washing and chopping the fresh spinach leaves. Set them aside.

  2. Heat a large skillet or pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee.

  3. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for a few seconds until aromatic.

  4. Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until they turn translucent and start to brown.

  5. Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, and slit green chilies. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the raw aroma disappears.

  6. Toss in the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy.

  7. Reduce the heat to low and add the dry spices: turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, and garam masala. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes until the spices release their fragrance.

  8. Add the washed and chopped spinach leaves to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes until they wilt down and become tender.

  9. Remove the spinach mixture from the heat and let it cool slightly.

  10. Transfer the cooled spinach mixture to a blender or food processor. Blend it into a smooth, vibrant green puree. If needed, you can add a splash of water to help with the blending process.

  11. Return the pureed spinach mixture to the pan and place it over low heat.

  12. Stir in the yogurt and mix well. This will create a creamy, green gravy.

  13. Add salt to taste and adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding a bit of water if it's too thick.

  14. Now, it's time to prepare the paneer. Start by soaking the cubed paneer in warm water for about 10 minutes. This softens the paneer and makes it tender.

  15. After soaking, drain the paneer cubes and gently squeeze out any excess water.

  16. Heat a separate frying pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil or ghee.

  17. Add the paneer cubes to the hot pan and shallow-fry them until they turn golden brown on all sides. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Once done, remove the fried paneer cubes and place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

  18. Transfer the fried paneer cubes to the simmering spinach gravy. Mix them gently, ensuring the paneer is coated with the flavorful spinach sauce.

  19. Let the Palak Paneer simmer for 5-7 minutes on low heat, allowing the paneer to absorb the flavors of the gravy.

  20. Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, by adding more salt or spices to suit your preference.

  21. Once the Palak Paneer is well-cooked and the paneer has absorbed the flavors, remove it from heat.

  22. Garnish your homemade Palak Paneer with a drizzle of cream, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 4


Amount Per Serving
Calories 226.57kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17.96g28%
Saturated Fat 7.56g38%
Cholesterol 33.35mg12%
Sodium 261.47mg11%
Potassium 342mg10%
Total Carbohydrate 11.15g4%
Dietary Fiber 2.1g9%
Sugars 4.54g
Protein 9.96g20%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Please note that the nutritional values provided are approximate and may vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. It's always best to double-check with your specific ingredients and measurements for accurate nutritional information.

Note

Tips and Variations:
  • To make this recipe vegan, substitute the paneer with tofu and use vegan yogurt.
  • Adjust the level of spiciness by varying the number of green chilies and red chili powder.
  • Enhance the flavor by adding a pinch of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) while simmering.
  • For a healthier version, you can use low-fat yogurt or skip the cream garnish.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Palak Paneer is traditionally served with naan, roti (Indian flatbread), or steamed rice. Accompany it with a side of sliced onions and lemon wedges for added zing.
Allergen Information:
  • Dairy and Allergens: Palak Paneer typically contains dairy in the form of paneer (cheese) and cream or yogurt. It may not be suitable for individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. To make a dairy-free version, you can use tofu instead of paneer and coconut cream or dairy-free yogurt.

  • Nuts: Some variations of Palak Paneer include nuts, such as cashews, to add creaminess. If you or your guests have nut allergies, it's essential to inquire about the ingredients before consuming it.

Wine or Drink Pairing:

Pairing Palak Paneer with the right beverage enhances the dining experience:

  • Indian Lassi: A classic choice is to pair Palak Paneer with a traditional Indian lassi, either sweet or salty. The yogurt-based lassi complements the richness of the dish and helps balance the spices.

  • Chai: Indian chai, a spiced tea with milk, can be a delightful pairing. Its warm and aromatic flavors complement the spices in Palak Paneer.

  • White Wine: If you prefer wine, a crisp and aromatic white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling, can complement the creamy sauce and spices in the dish.

Storage and Leftovers:

Palak Paneer can be stored for later consumption:

  • Refrigeration: Place any leftover Palak Paneer in an airtight container and refrigerate it. It can stay fresh for 2-3 days.

  • Freezing: You can freeze Palak Paneer for longer storage. Transfer it to a freezer-safe container, leaving some space for expansion. Frozen Palak Paneer can last for up to 2-3 months.

  • Reheating: When reheating, use a microwave or stovetop. If the sauce has thickened, you can add a little water or cream to achieve the desired consistency.

Keywords: Palak Paneer recipe, Indian spinach and paneer curry, homemade paneer, vegetarian Indian dishes.

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