Palak paneer recipe – Indian cottage cheese in smooth creamy delicious spinach gravy. Palak paneer is one of the most loved North Indian dishes that’s eaten with roti, paratha, naan, jeera rice or even with plain rice. It is very easy to prepare and can be made in so many ways. This is an easy and healthy palak paneer recipe which I finally arrived at after trying so many other recipes.
In this palak paneer recipe, I have not blanched the spinach to prevent loss of nutrients. In most Indian recipes spinach is not blanched and used directly to make dal palak, spinach paratha, palak rice, spinach omelette, aloo palak and many other recipes as the nutrients are lost when blanched.
This palak paneer is the best I have made in the years. Not blanching the spinach and frying it for a short time is what makes this delicious. However this recipe also works with blanched spinach. I would recommend blanching, if you have been on a low oxalate diet and do not consume spinach without blanching in any other foods.
To make palak paneer, always spinach is blanched prior to making a puree. But if you are trying to make the best palak paneer, give it a try without blanching. I am sure you will wonder how good this tastes and completely different from the one made with blanched spinach.
To get the best color, keep garam masala to minimum in this recipe and also prevent overcooking which darkens the dish. You can check more palak recipes here which I have shared on the blog.
Palak paneer recipe
Palak paneer recipe | How to make palak paneer recipe
Simple palak paneer recipe - Indian cottage cheese in simmered onion tomato spinach gravy. It is served with plain or flavored rice, paratha, naan or roti.
Ingredients (240 ml cup used)
Ingredients for palak paneer recipe
- 1 cup paneer heaped cup, cubes or Indian cottage cheese (150 grams)
- 2 cups palak or indian spinach, tightly packed (100 grams)
- 2 tbsp Oil or butter as needed
- 2 to 3 green chilies deseeded
- ¾ cup onions fine chopped or ½ cup paste
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste or garlic paste
- ½ cup tomatoes (deseeded) or puree
- ¼ tsp kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 to 4 tbsp Fresh cream or 10 cashews (refer notes)
- salt as needed
Dry spices for palak paneer
- 1 inch cinnamon or dalchini
- 2 green cardamoms or elaichi
- 2 cloves or laung
- 1/8 tsp cumin or jeera
Spice powders for palak paneer recipe
- ½ tsp coriander powder (optional)
- ¼ tsp cumin powder or jeera powder
- ¼ to ½ tsp garam masala
How to make the recipe
Preparation for palak paneer
For best taste always use young and tender palak. Check each spinach leaf for worms. Pluck only the leaves and discard the stems as they may leave a bitter taste.
- Add to a large pot of water. I usually spray vinegar and leave for 10 mins before rinsing them to remove the pesticide residue.
Discard the water and rinse them again a few times. Remove them to a colander.
optional for low oxalate diet - If you prefer to blanch, then bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Then add the spinach to it along with ¼ tsp salt. Keep them for 2 mins and remove to a bowl of water with 10 ice cubes in it. After 2 minutes remove to a colander.
This step is optional. Firstly fry paneer in a pan with 1 tsp oil for 2 to 3 mins. To keep them soft, you can also drop them in water and leave for 10 to 15 mins. Drain and set aside.
In the same pan, add green chilies and spinach as well. Fry for just 2 to 3 mins on a medium heat. Spinach must wilt off thoroughly. Do not overcook. Set aside to cool.
Blend spinach with green chilies to a smooth puree in a mixer jar.
How to make palak paneer gravy
Heat a pan with oil. Next add cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves and cumin. When they begin to splutter add onions and fry till they turn transparent.
- Add ginger garlic paste and fry until the raw smell goes away.
Then put in tomatoes and sprinkle salt. Next fry till they turn mushy.
Next add kasuri methi, garam masala and coriander or cumin powder. Saute until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
- Pour half cup water and stir. Cook until the mixture thickens.
Next simmer the flame, add the pureed spinach. Mix well and cook until it begins to bubble for about 2 mins.
- Add paneer and mix. Switch off.
- This step is optional. If using cream add it now. As a substitute to cream, you can soak 10 cashews in warm water for 15 mins and blend to a smooth milk cream consistency.
- Serve palak paneer with naan, roti or rice.
Notes for palak paneer recipe
Take care not to add too much water or too much cream as it will make your gravy thin. A thicker gravy tastes better.
If using cashews, soak them in warm water for 15 minutes and blend to a smooth puree. Alternately you can soak almonds for about 4 hours, peel off the skin and blend to a smooth paste or milk.
How to make palak paneer recipe – Preparation
1. Avoid using stems or stalks of palak. Use only young and fresh spinach. Wash cleaned palak thoroughly in a large pot filled with water. I also sprinkle vinegar and salt to remove the pesticide residue. Rinse a few times more. Drain off the water completely.
If you are on a low oxalate diet then you can blanch the spinach by following the steps mentioned in the recipe card above.
2. This step is optional. Heat a pan with 1 tsp oil and saute panir just for 2 to 3 mins. You can add them to warm water and leave for 10 to 15 mins to keep them soft. Drain and set aside. I do not add to water.
3. To the same pan add another tsp oil, then saute green chilies and palak on a medium heat.
4. Switch off when the leaves wilt off. This takes only 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook, spinach takes only 2 to 3 mins to cook. If there is any stock of spinach left, you can use up. You need not evaporate it.
5. Cool it completely. Add to a blender with green chilies. We are not going to use red chilli powder, so the heat comes only from green chilies. Mine were not hot, so I used 3.
6. Make a smooth paste. Set aside.
Make palak paneer gravy
7. Heat oil in a pan or pot. Add cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and jeera as well. Do not skip the dry spices as we are not going to use much garam masala in powder form which helps to retain a good color.
8. Add onions or onion paste. Fry until golden.
9. Add ginger garlic paste or garlic paste alone. Fry until the raw smell goes off.
10. Add deseeded tomatoes or tomato puree and salt.
11. When the tomatoes turn fully mushy, add crushed kasuri methi, coriander powder and garam masala. You can also add kasuri methi later along with pureed palak.
12. Saute until the masala smells good for 2 to 3 mins or until it begins to leave the sides of the pan.
13. Add half cup water and cook on a medium heat.
14. When the gravy thickens, lower the flame completely. Next add the puree.
15. Mix it well and cook until it begins to bubble just for about 2 mins. I do not suggest cooking for long at this stage as it discolors the gravy.
How to make palak paneer
16. Add the fried paneer. Mix well. Switch off the stove.
17. This step is optional. To make the palak paneer gravy creamy and tasty like in restaurants, add cream or cashew milk or almond milk. If using cashews, soak them in warm water for 15 minutes and then blend to smooth puree of thickened milk or cream consistency. For health reasons, if you like to avoid cashews, you can also use almonds. Soak them in water for about 4 hours. Remove the skin and blend them.
Serve palak paneer with rice, roti or paratha.