Indian cottage cheese and spinach are the stars of this simple, quick and really delicious vegetarian palak paneer recipe!
I have had a “complicated” relationship with paneer for many years.
It is an Indian cheese that is often homemade that in and of itself has very little flavour.
I spent 2019 giving it a little more of a chance. First of all with the classic matar paneer and then with this classic palak paneer.
This is very much akin to home-cooked Indian food rather than the British Indian restaurant food I have a slight obsession with.
Although it is a very popular restaurant dish in North India.
Spinach is a pretty common ingredient in Indian food. It is used in dishes as diverse as my saag aloo through to this simple palak paneer.
Bitterness can be an issue when cooking with spinach. It is a sensation that is caused by oxalic acid and it becomes more pronounced the longer the spinach is cooked.
In dishes like my chicken saag that bitterness is counteracted by a host of other flavours, not least the tomato and of course the chicken.
My vegan spinach and mushroom curry embraces the bitterness and balances it with the sourness of tamarind.
In this palak paneer recipe, there is less room to hide! I have seen many advise adding sugar which is a combination I am not keen on.
The first thing to do is keep the cooking of the spinach to an absolute minimum.
The next step is to get the amount of salt right. This dish needs a lot of it, far more than you would expect.
Paneer is not a salty cheese and salt really is a perfect way counter to bitter flavours of the spinach or palak!
The other flavour sensation we have is sourness, I do this with a spritz of lemon juice at the end.
I prefer my palak paneer to be very thick. Almost like a paste, this is because I love to eat it with chapati.
Having a thick sauce means you can just pick it up with torn of shreds of roti and you are good to go.
Palak panner works well with rice and a naan bread too.
However, if I am doing that then I make it a little more like a sauce. I do this by adding 50-100g of greek yoghurt to my palak paneer right at the end.
I will also usually serve a kachumber salad on the side!
Finally do not worry if you cannot get paneer in local stores.
Neither can I so I make homemade paneer in my Instantpot!
A palak paneer is a classic mild vegetarian curry from Northern India that features spinach and often homemade, paneer cheese.
- 300 g (10 oz) Paneer
- 350 g (12 0z) Spinach
- 75 g (2.5 oz) Onion
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 30 g (1 oz) Ginger
- 1 Green Chilli Pepper
- 2 Tsp Fenugreek
- 1 Tsp Turmeric
- 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
- Salt to Taste
- 2 Tsp Cooking Oil
- 1/2 Tsp Armchoor
- Lemon Juice to taste
- Peel the onion, garlic and ginger and roughly chop them.
- Remove the stem from the green chilli and give it a rough chop.
- Heat half of the oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
- Add the onion and fry for 10 minutes.
- Whilst the onion is cooking cut the paneer into a 2-2.5cm dice.
- Throw in the garlic, ginger and green chilli pepper and cook on for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the spinach and top with the fenugreek, turmeric and ground coriander.
- Add a good pinch of salt!
- Cook until the spinach has completely wilted stirring occasionally, this should take 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer the spinach to a blender, add 50-100ml of water and then blitz to a fine paste.
- Dust the paneer with the armchoor.
- Add the other half of the oil to the pan over a medium high heat.
- When hot add the paneer and fry for two minutes.
- Pour over the spinach sauce.
- Have a taste and add more salt as required.
- Just heat the panner until it is warm and serve spritzed with lemon juice.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 866Total Fat: 59gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 2308mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 8gSugar: 9gProtein: 53g