I love spinach and paneer! And putting them together creates an amazing dish!
When I go to Indian restaurants, this is a must have for me! The biggest downside of Indian restaurant palak paneer is they add lots of heavy cream to give it the rich and creamy texture. I tried making this
dish once back in Toronto but that was an epic fail. Since then I was always apprehensive about trying again, but a couple months ago I thought I’d give it another go. I wanted to make something that was healthy and delicious minus the cream. So I thought I’d try out what I did for my Butter Chicken recipe and just add yogurt!
The results turned out great! The palak paneer was delicious, my only one complaint was I should have added more paneer.
Hope you enjoy!
Spinach (Frozen or Fresh) – I used about 2 bunches of 8 leaves each. First time I made this, I used fresh spinach. I had the option of the baby spinach, but it is expensive in Kuwait so I just washed the
spinach and tore them up into smaller pieces. Please make sure to wash the leaves real well. Last night I used frozen leaves and I can say there is a difference in the color once it is done, but I think the taste is the same. Also, with frozen spinach make sure to drain all the water after defrosting! I forgot to drain properly and I can see there’s extra water in my spinach.
1 large onion – chopped
1 or 2 cups paneer – cubed (The amount of paneer depends on how much you want in your curry)
1 Large Tomato – chopped
2 – 3 – Green chilies (I use the Thai green chili’s) – Finely chopped
2 tablespoon Ginger – Finely chopped
2 tablespoon Garlic – Finely chopped
1/2 cup – Yogurt
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
salt to taste
pinch of sugar
Marinade for Paneer
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt to taste
First you need to marinate the paneer. In a bowl add turmeric powder, chilli powder (I use kashmiri since it’s less spicy), pinch of salt and a little bit of oil to make a paste. Add in the paneer and mix it so that it is all evenly coated with the spice mixture. Keep this aside and let it marinate.
Fresh spinach – take a large pot of water and add the spinach, the spinach should cook in about a couple minutes. Once it is wilted, drain the water out. Make sure you do not overcook it.
Frozen spinach – thaw this and make sure you drain out all the water
Once spinach is cooked/thawed – keep aside
Next take a big frying pan and add some oil in it. Once the oil is hot drop in the paneer and brown the sides, make sure not to crowd the pan. I did this in 2 batches. Once this is done, take the cooked paneer and keep it aside in a separate bowl/dish
Now to start the process of assembling the palak part
On a medium to medium high flame, add a pot with a little bit of oil. When the oil is heated up drop in the chopped onions and let it soften up. Once it is soft add the finely chopped garlic, ginger, and chilies. Side Note** I use a chopper for the onions, garlic, ginger and chilies. This saves a lot of time and it really does a good job of evenly pulverizing!
Make sure to keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. You’ll know when the onion mixture is ready when it turns a nice brown color. A little bit darker than caramel, but lighter than chocolate. Once this is done, add in the masalas – coriander, garam masala, cumin powder and salt. Fry it in the pan, once you fry it for about 45 seconds to a minute add 2 tablespoons of water. This will make a nice paste and also help the spice onion mixture not burn. Add in the tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes cook down. Don’t forget to keep stirring so nothing burns. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes.
Once the tomatoes have cooked down, add the spinach that has been kept aside. Make sure that you drained out all the liquid. Fold the spinach into the spice mixture. Once it’s all thoroughly combined, turn off the heat. Add the mixture into your blender or food processor and pulse it until you get a nice smooth consistency.
Next return it onto the stove and mix in the yogurt and the half cup of water. Turn on the heat to low, add in the paneer and mix. Close the lid and let the palak paneer simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
Serve while hot
You can serve this with basmati rice, chapati, or naan bread.