A creamy spinach curry with paneer, an Indian cheese
Palak paneer is a well known curry from Northern India. It is often confused with the Saag Paneer that is very famous in restaurants and liked by the non-Indian foodies world over. Saag paneer is made from a combination of greens,especially with the bitter greens like mustard, collards, and the likes. It may contain spinach.
Palak paneer is completely made from spinach, no other leafy green is used. But if you want to boost up the flavor you can add a handful of cilantro and a few mint leaves. I didn’t today. This Palak paneer is simply creamy spinach with paneer and is mildly spiced. It is also completely different from the restaurant style. Homemade version is less oil, less cream and a lot of spinach.
PS : It is a great way to get the kids to eat spinach, if that’s a challenge ! Do not get intimidated by the ingredient list or process, it is a very simple recipe.
This recipe can easily be made vegan and lower in fat by substituting paneer with tofu (firm or extra firm) and the cream substitute could be cashew cream or almond meal. Some pointers :
- Use Tofu – firm or Extra Firm or Paneer
- Use Cream or Cashew cream or Almond meal for the creaminess
- Use green chilis (Thai/Serrano/Jalapeno) for heat
- No turmeric powder if you want the rich green color
- Use lemon juice instead of tomatoes to retain color
- DO NOT cover and cook
- Cook on medium heat
- Garlic enhances the taste of the spinach, be generous 😉
Spice level 🌶 🌶 Ease level 😃
- Spinach – 1.5 pound (Baby spinach or bunch – washed thoroughly )
- Paneer – 1 lb/425 (use less or more)
- Onions – 2 small, thinly sliced
- Ginger – 1 Tablespoon
- Garlic – 3 to 4 cloves
- Thai green chili – 1 or 2 small (to taste)
- Cream – 1 Tablespoon
- Lemon juice – 1 to 2 teaspoon (to taste)
- Oil – 1 + 1 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
- Cayenne – 1/4 teaspoon
- Garam masala powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Cinnamon stick 1 inch (optional)
- Green cardamom -2 (optional)
- Dried Methi leaves – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
- In a skillet, add oil and heat it up in medium heat. Then add the sliced onions,green chili, ginger and garlic, saute for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to help onions cook faster.
- Throw in the spinach and saute until it wilts, not more that 2 minutes on medium heat. Remove from stove, let cool for 5 minutes and purée it till smooth in a blender.
- In the same skillet, add oil, let it heat on medium flame. Then add the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods, if using, next the spice powders, fry them for 30 seconds or until it smells fragrant.
- Now add the pureed spinach ,check for salt and let it simmer for 3 minutes, do not cover the skillet with a lid.
- Once you start to see the curry bubbling, add the cubed paneer pieces and cream, turn off the heat. Remove it off the heat and squeeze some lemon juice. (the photo doesn’t do justice to the real color).
- Palak paneer is ready to be served with roti/naan/rice
Prepping Paneer:if store bought
Cube the paneer into desired size and soak them in hot water when you begin to prep the spinach puree. This will soften the paneer and help absorb the flavor.
Make it your own by tweaking it to your liking. Thank you for stopping by:) !