Palak paneer is a gloriously spiced vegetarian Indian dish featuring fresh Indian cheese and lots of spinach that cooks in under 30 minutes.
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.
- 250g (9oz) Paneer
- 350g (9-10 loosely packed cups) Baby Spinach
- 75g (½ Cup) Onion
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 30g (Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
- 1 Medium Tomato
- 2 Green Chilli Peppers
- 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek
- 1 Tsp Turmeric
- 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
- ½ Tsp Garam Masala
- ½ Tsp Salt (Add more if you want)
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- 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 the oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
- Add the onion, garlic and ginger along with the chillies and curry leaves and fry for 5-7 minutes or until the onions soften and start to colour stirring occasionally.
- Cut the tomato into a 1cm dice.
- Chop the paneer into a 2-2.5cm dice.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the tomato, garam masala, ground coriander, turmeric and fenugreek and stir for 1 minute.
- Pour in the water and salt, then cook for 5 minutes.
- Pack in the spinach add a lid and cook until the spinach has completely wilted (2-3 minutes).
- Transfer the spinach to a blender and blend to form a smooth gravy adding more water if required.
- Return the spinach gravy to the pan and have a taste adding more salt if required.
- Drop in the diced paneer and reheat gently for 3-4 minutes.
- Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice to your taste.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 595Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 1681mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 8gSugar: 10gProtein: 32g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.