Palak aka Spinach is one of the tastiest leafy vegetables of the Winter season. It has a lovely light earthy flavor which makes it an incredible ingredient for salads, soups, pasta, dals, and sabzis. Palak Paneer is one of my favorite dishes to make out of Spinach. And, it also tops my list of paneer recipes, though there are so many, this one definitely close to the heart. These are some other top paneer recipes – Awadhi Biryani and Kadhai Paneer.
Now everyone has their own versions and way for making Palak paneer. So let me highlight some common variations –
- Color: For achieving a perfectly bright green color Palak paneer, I would recommend blanching the Spinach leaves (Blanching is the method of quickly cooking something and cooling it instantly to prevent it from over-cooking and hence losing its color). I have simply boiled Spinach leaves to save time. Here’s how you can blanch the spinach leaves – Boil water in a heavy bottom pan and add Spinach leaves to it. Lower the heat and let them simmer for 3-4 minutes. Place the cooked spinach leaves instantly in a bowl of cold water for 1-2 minutes (you can also keep ice cubes in the bowl).
- Paneer – When I am cooking the recipe for my own family, I like to keep it simple and add the paneer pieces as it is. However, when guests are coming over, I saute the paneer to get it crispy and have a nice brown color on it.
- Creaminess – I prefer adding low-fat milk for a simple healthy version. But if you looking for an indulgent creamier version, then you can either add full-cream milk or heavy cream to the gravy.
PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 25 minutes
DIFFICULTY SCALE: Low
- Spinach Leaves – 3 cups
- Paneer / Cottage Cheese – 1 cup, diced
- Onion – 1, medium
- Tomatoes – 3, medium
- Ginger – 1 small stick
- Garlic – 2-3 pods
- Green Chilies – 2
- Low-Fat milk – ½ cup
- Coriander Powder – 1 tablespoon
- Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
- Cooking oil – 1 tablespoon
- Salt – to taste
For Cooking the Spinach Leaves –
- Remove the thick stalks and roots from Spinach leaves and wash the leaves thoroughly. Since the leaves have a lot of dust on them, I usually wash them 2-3 times under running water.
- Roughly chop the leaves and add them to a pressure cooker. Close the lid and place it on high heat until you hear a whistle. Place it low heat for another 2 minutes and then remove them from the heat. Since the leaves are moist from washing, you don’t need to add any further liquid to the leaves. (if you decide to blanch the leaves, use the steps I have shared above under the Variations section)
- Open the cooker release steam, and let the leaves cool down slightly. Grind them into a fine puree and keep aside. Don’t throw away any liquid from the cooker, we will use it for the gravy as it is full of flavor and nutrition.
For the Palak Paneer Gravy –
- Peel and finely chop a small onion.
- Peel the garlic pods and a ginger stick and add them to a grinder. Also, add roughly chopped green chili and tomatoes and puree everything.
- In a kadhai, add a tablespoon of oil and add cumin seeds to them.
- Once they splutter, add the finely diced onions and cook them until they turn light brown. Keep moving constantly.
5. Now add the ginger-garlic-chili-tomato paste and cook it on low heat until the oil starts releasing from the sides and it’s cooked properly.
6. Mix the spinach puree to it and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. You can cook it further if you like a thicker gravy.
7. Add in the paneer cubes to this along with ½ cup milk and cover the Kadhai. Cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes so that the paneer cubes soak all the spices and remove from the heat.
Palak paneer is ready, serve it with hot Rotis.