This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)
Palak Paneer is one of the very loved North Indian vegetarian recipe, that is a part of all party meals. Palak is very nutritious and contains all necessary minerals and vitamins.
Yummy soft cottage cheese cubes in slightly spiced spinach gravy makes a perfect combination for a meal time curry. The fact that it has Popeye’s favourite spinach as the base makes it a super healthy dish for kids. It is also non-spicy and the added dollops of cream makes it an easy favourite that can be devoured at dinner time by one and all.
Many times, chefs suggest that the cottage cheese be sauted to get a brown crust so that they don’t eventually ‘break’ if they are too soft. The other chef hack is to add the paneer just a couple of minutes before you serve the dish so that the white and green contrast comes out really well and the paneer remains intact too.
One of the most important things in this recipe is to get the colour of the gravy right. This involves blanching the spinach just right and then a quick hack to ensure that the leaves don’t lose their colour. Another thing to remember with spinach is the quantity. 500 gms of spinach is around 7-8 cups but when you boil, it’ll come down to just a cup.
The right way to blanch spinach to give the palak paneer its green colour is by being patient and thorough. The first thing to do is to keep a bowl of ice water ready. Wash the spinach leaves. Boil some water (enough for the spinach to sink in) and add some salt to it. Boil the spinach just for 30-45 secs by the clock until the leaves get a bright colour and then immediately put it in cold water so that the leaves retain the colour.
If you want to make the fat free version of this recipe you can use low-fat cream for getting the creamy texture. You can also use tofu instead paneer which is a healthier version. The taste won’t be the same but it works if you are health conscious.
Spinach is a great source for Vitamin A, K, B2, B6, E, C iron, copper, magnesium and dietary fibre among other nutrients. It is one of the world’s healthiest foods. And there is a way to make it healthier. In addition to regular spinach, use 1 measure of Malabar Spinach (Poi) which is considered to be even more nutritious. You can serve it with garlic naan, laccha paratha or aromatic jeera rice with some boondi raaita on the side.
Paneer can be fried a bit on tava or can be used as it is. You can get creative with paneer cut and make rectangles or triangles etc. :).
Use a hand blender or a mixer to grind the Palak. Though keep the consistency a bit course and avoid making a fine paste.
Onion can be chopped finely or make a paste in a grinder.
Cook tomatoes well before adding the palak paste as other wise it will not taste well.
- Palak leaves 300 grams
- Paneer 100 grams
- Onions 2 ( Medium sized )
- Tomatoes 2 ( large )
- Green chillies 2
- Ginger-Garlic paste 1 teaspoon
- Red chilli powder 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder ¼ teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Garam masala powder ½ teaspoon
- Fresh Cream 1 tablespoon
- Oil as needed
- Water as needed
Cube the paneer in small pieces and shallow fry on an iron girdle to light golden brown. Remove on paper towels and keep aside.
Wash the palak leaves well in running water and chop them a bit.
Heat 1 cup of water in a pan.
Add the palak leaves and the green chillies and boil for 2 - 3 minutes.
Now take the leaves out and put in the ice cold water. This will ensure the color of the gravy remains bright green. Then grind it to a smooth puree with a hand blender.
Now, to prepare the gravy base, finely chop the onions. Chop the tomatoes or they can be grinded as well.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a non stick pan. Add the chopped onion and saute till soft then add the tomatoes and cover with a lid. Let it cook till soft.
Put in the Ginger-Garlic paste and give it a stir.
Add the seasonings like salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder.
Now, add the pureed palak and mix it well. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
At this point,water can be added to adjust consistency as preferred. Lastly add the fried paneer cubes and the fresh Cream.
Give a last boil and shut off the flame. Cover and let stand for a few minutes before serving.
Best served with Naan, Rotis or Any rice preparation.