'Palak' or Spinach is a nutritious vegetable full of dietary fibre. It is filled with the goodness of vitamins and tastes great with mild spices and less oil. Protein is essential for building muscles and repair body tissues. Paneer/cottage cheese is a great source of protein in this dish.
Palak Paneer finds a place in all the Indian Restaurant menus across the globe. Infact it is among the top 5 most loved dishes to have along with Phulkas, Chapatti or Naan.
Palak tastes best when it is not overcooked and blended with mild spices. The cottage cheese can be cubed and added just like that in the gravy or can be lightly tossed in oil/ghee and then added.
To retain the soft succulent texture of the Cottage Cheese, always use fresh Paneer. Also you can cube and soak the Paneer in warm water for 15-20 minutes before you add them in the palak gravy.
Palak Paneer :
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4
Special Equipment : Wide pan, ladle, mixer
1 bunch Spinach/Palak ( Washed and chopped)
200 gms Fresh Cottage Cheese ( cubed)
1 large onion
4 garlic pods
1/2" fresh ginger
2 green chillies
1 teaspoon All Spice powder OR 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala( adjust according to taste)
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons butter/ghee/oil
1 tablespoon cream for garnish ( optional)
salt to taste
1. Soak paneer in warm water for 15-20 minutes.
Note : This step is required if you are using paneer stored in a refrigerator. If using fresh paneer omit this step.
2. Grind tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger,green chillies to a fine paste.
3. Heat a wide pan , add the chopped spinach and a glass of water.
4. Let the spinach cook for 5-7 minutes only, switch off.
5. Drain the excess water and save it for the gravy.
Chef tip : After draining the excess water, immediately pour cold water over the spinach to stop the cooking. This helps to the palak to retain it's vibrant green colour.
6. Once the spinach is cool, blend it to a puree.
7. Heat a wide pan with butter/ghee/oil over low flame.
8. Add the onion-tomatoes mixture. Mix well.
9. Add the turmeric, salt, chilli and coriander powder.
10. Cook in low flame for 5 minutes or till the time, the raw aroma of the paste escapes.
11. Now add the spinach puree and mix to blend with the onion mixture.
12. Add the all spice powder , cover the pan with a ladle and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Chef tip: Add the drained spinach water little by little and adjust the gravy thickness according to your taste .
13. When you see the oil seperating on the sides, add the cubed cottage cheese ,mix and switch off.
Chef tip: The palak will splatter while you cook, so have a lid handy.
You can add cream( optional) and serve.
Your flavourful sumptuous Palak Paneer is ready to be served along with Indian Flat breads. They are a whole meal by themselves. This dish tastes best when Spinach are in season. Make the most out of Spinach and add it to your daily diet . You can substitute Cottage Cheese with parboiled and cubed potatoes.
Happy Cooking !