Palak Paneer is a popular Indian spinach curry. Pan fried cubes of cottage cheese (paneer) smothered in a spinach sauce flavored with fragrant Indian spices. Quick and easy to make. Keto-friendly, gluten free and vegetarian!
What is Palak Paneer
It is a vegetarian Northern Indian dish that is made with cottage cheese (paneer), spinach (palak) and infused with Indian spices. It is a staple in India.
The creamy spinach sauce is the star of the dish! First, spinach is blanched, then pureed and cooked with spices. It is an easy to make and absolutely delicious Indian curry. Be careful it is very addictive. I finished half while cooking and testing. Plus the dish tastes great even cold.
Saag paneer vs palak paneer
Both dishes are very similar curries. Palak means “spinach”, but saag translates as “greens”. This simply means that you can add different greens to the saag curry.
I love both curries. They are full of flavor and so delicious! Plus the sauce is very versatile and can be used for any roast, fish or steamed veggies like steamed broccoli.
And what I like most about this dish is that it comes together in 30 minutes.
Palak Paneer Ingredients
- Spinach - You will need 2 lbs (1 kg ) of mature spinach. Make sure to trim the stems. I know it sound like really a lot of spinach, but it shrinks during cooking. You will hardly have only 2 cups of cooked spinach.
- Oil & butter- Use any vegetable oil and unsalted butter.
- Garlic cloves- Mince or chop garlic. One tablespoon of minced garlic equals to four garlic cloves.
- Ginger – Use fresh ginger or substitute with store-bought ginger paste.
- Green chili- You can leave it out or deseed the chili for a mild flavor.
- Cumin seeds and powder- I like to use both. Ground cumin is more flavorful and concentrated. You can use only ground cumin (2 teaspoons).
- Cheese- You can get it from Walmart or any Indian store. Replace with tofu for a vegan dish.
- Cream- Adjust the amount of cream to your taste. Coconut cream works also well.
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Palak Paneer
This is my absolute favourite palak paneer recipe. I have been making it for years and everybody who tries, praises it. Here is how to it at home:
- Blanch spinach: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Turn off the heat (to stop boiling). Add the spinach and allow it to sit for 1 minute in the hot water. Transfer to a colander and rinse under really COLD water. Alternatively, you can mix normal water with 10-12 ice cubes and put spianch into it. Drain completely. Blanching is seriously a great method. It helps to preserve both vitamins and vibrant color of spinach.
- Blend: Add to a blender and process until you get puree. Don’t add any water while processing! Keep aside.
- Heat oil and melt butter in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent. Then add the ginger, garlic, cumin and green chili. Cook further for 50 seconds.
- Add paneer and mix gently. Cook for 1 minute or until it slightly browned. Alternatively you can pan fry paneer separately and add to the curry.
- Add the spinach puree and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Garnish with coriander leaves, sprinkle with red chili flakes and drizzle with as much cream as you wish. Enjoy!
You can make the dish smoky, using regular charcoal. Read about this method in my Butter Chicken recipe.
Palak Paneer with frozen spinach
You can make this iconic Indian curry with frozen spinach too. Add the frozen spinach into the hot water and let sit until just thawed. The heat should be off! It might take a few minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain.
Vegan Palak Paneer
Simply substitute paneer (cottage cheese) with firm tofu. It works really well. Pan fry tofu cubes before adding to the curry. And use coconut cream instead of heavy cream. Anyway the curry tastes good without cream too.
Love the Indian cuisine? Try these!
Butter Chicken- an authentic easy butter chicken, plus it is smoky
Aloo Palak- vegan dish made with potatoes and spinach
Malai Kebab- creamy and spicy Indian kebab recipe
Butter Naan- this Indian bread goes really well with palak paneer
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