Palak Paneer is a delish recipe that we prepare using 2 main ingredients, spinach (Palak in Hindi) and Paneer or Indian cottage cheese. This recipe pairs very well with Roti, Nan or Paratha.
Though some also serve it with Jeera Rice. I prefer serving it with Indian bread. The cubes of Paneer floating between green spinach gravy are not only soothing to the eye, but this delicious combination is also a perfect recipe to serve greens to kids, which they usually avoid.
To prepare as smooth, delicious and perfect Palak Paneer recipe, I always select tender Palak. As mature dark green leaves have a bitter taste. Also remember to remove the stem and stalks, as they are even much bitter.
To retain the green color of spinach, I firstly blanch the spinach, remove the spinach from the heat as soon as the leaves begin to wilt. Once the spinach is boiled, immediately add it to ice-cold water. Leaving the spinach to cook for longer causes the leaves to become slimy and thus makes the bitter flavor more prominent. This step not only helps in retaining the color of the spinach but also helps them not turn bitter. Then prepare its puree.
As said spinach has a peculiar bitter taste. This bitter taste comes from the oxalic acid present in spinach. To cut down the lingering bitterness of the spinach leaves, I add fresh cream in this recipe. I also prefer adding a pinch of sugar to make it more delish. If you have not added sugar in it earlier, then try this trick on my recommendation. It will drastically improve the taste of your Palak Paneer Recipe.
To prepare Palak Paneer at home I also prepare homemade fresh Paneer. Homemade fresh paneer remains soft as being freshly cooked. Paneer itself is slightly sweeter in taste. And when it is fresh, this sweetness is much more retained. Since it was not kept in the whey for long, which shopkeepers usually do, to keep the Paneer soft.
How to Make Palak Paneer
After keeping in mind all the tricks for my Palak Paneer Recipe, let us start to cook it. Simmer it with spices along with Paneer. Some people directly add Paneer cubes in this recipe. If you also want to do this, you also can. But I will recommend frying it slightly. As when we fry fresh Paneer cubes a little, they retain their shape and do not get spoiled in the gravy.
So let us start cooking our recipe of Palak Paneer.
Palak Paneer Recipe
- 250 grams spinach (पालक का साग )
- 2 pieces chopped green chili (कटा हुआ हरी मिर्च)
- 2 pieces chopped garlic cloves (कटा हुआ लहसुन का लौंग)
- 1/2 inch finely chopped ginger (बारीक़ कटा हुआ अदरक)
- 3 cups water (पानी) for blanching
- 3 cups cold water (ठंडा पानी) for the ice bath
ingredients for Palak Paneer
- 1/2 cup chopped onion (कटा हुआ प्याज)
- 1/2 cup chopped tomato (कटा हुआ टमाटर)
- 4 pieces chopped garlic cloves (कटा हुआ लहसुन का लौंग)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (जीरा)
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (हल्दी पाउडर)
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder (लाल मिर्च पाउडर)
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder (धनिया पाउडर) (optional)
- 1 pinch asafoetida powder (हींग पाउडर)
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder (गरम मसाला पाउडर)
- 1 piece bay leaf (तेज पत्ता)
- 1 pinch sugar (चीनी) (optional)
- 250 grams Indian cottage cheese (पनीर) cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup water (पानी) or add as required
- 2-3 tablespoon oil (तेल)
- 1 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves (कसूरी मेथी)
- salt to taste (नमक स्वाद अनुसार)
garnish for Palak Paneer recipe
- 2 tablespoon fresh cream (ताजा क्रीम)
Preparation for Palak Paneer recipe
- Remove spinach leaves from the stem (tender stems are fine but if stems are stringy, then discard those stems) and wash leaves very well in running water.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed wok; add 1 tablespoon of oil and butter to it and lightly to fry the cottage cheese cubes till brown and keep it aside.
How to make Palak puree
- Take 3 cups of water in a pan and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to it, when it starts to boil, then add spinach. Let it sit in water for 1 minute.
- After 1 minute switch off the stove and drain the hot water.
- Now, remove the spinach from pan and immediately add to a bowl containing ice-cold water (this method help in preserving the natural green color of spinach) and allow spinach leaves to cool down.
- Now, drain the ice-cold water from spinach leaves.
- Blend the spinach in a blender along with chopped ginger, garlic, and green chilies. To make a thick spinach paste and keep the spinach puree aside.
How to make palak paneer
- Heat a heavy-bottomed wok in the low flame then add oil or butter to it, when the oil gets hot add cumin seed.
- When a cumin seed starts to crackle add bay leaves, then add chopped onion and saute till the onions become golden.
- Then add chopped garlic cloves and again saute till the raw aroma of garlic goes away.
- Now, add the chopped tomato and let it cook for 5-6 minutes on medium heat stirring the mixture till tomatoes get soften.
- Once the tomatoes get softened and you see fat getting released from the mixture add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and asafoetida powder stir very well.
- Now, add spinach paste mix well, add 1/2 cup of water stirring the mixture and let it simmer further for another 5 minutes or more till spinach gets cooked season with salt, then puree will also get thicken by now.
- Add 1 pinch of sugar to remove the bitter taste of spinach. Stir and add garam masala powder.
- Stir again then add the fried pieces of cottage cheese and mix it well. Cover and cook on low flame for 6-7 minutes.
- When you will see the cottage cheese cubes became soft and succulent. Cook for about 1 more minute.
- Take it out in a serving bowl and garnish with fresh cream.
- Serve hot with chapati, paratha, nan or steamed rice.