Palak Paneer: Cottage Cheese in Spinach Gravy

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Palak Paneer is a North Indian Vegetarian curry made using fresh spinach and soft paneer (cottage cheese). Shallow fried paneer cubes are cooked in spinach gravy to make it a perfect dish for any occasion.  Palak paneer goes well with naan, paratha, and even rice. To give some pleasant fragrance to Palak Paneer, ginger and garlic is sautéed with onion in clarified butter,and some Indian spices and tomatoes are added to make the dish more flavorful and tangier. Then spinach puree is simmered with paneer cubes for few minutes for the paneer to soak up the flavors from the spinach curry. Spinach is loaded with proteins, calcium, iron, magnesium, and Vitamin A, C, E and K.To make this lip-smacking dish vegan, you can substitute Tofu instead of paneer. This is one of the best ways to include some greens in your diet and I am sure young kids will ask for more.

Ingredients:

4 Cups Washed Spinach
1 Cup Paneer/ Tofu (Cubed into ½ inch pieces)
1 Onion finely chopped
3 Tomatoes finely chopped or pureed
1 Tbsp. Ginger Paste
1Tbsp. Garlic Paste
½ Tsp Green Chili Paste
½ Tsp Turmeric Powder
½ Tsp Red Chili Powder
½ Tsp Garam Masala/ Kitchen King Masala
½ Tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Bay Leaf
2 Whole Red Dry Chilies
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 Tbsp. Ghee/ Clarified Butter/ Oil
Salt as per taste

Method:

Blanching Spinach and making Spinach Puree:

  1. Boil 3 cups of water and add ¼ teaspoon salt to it and stir. Now add the washed spinach in the boiled water and give it a quick stir and close the lid.
  2. Let it sit of 1-2 minutes. Now strain the spinach leaves and add them to a bowl of ice cold water. Let the spinach cool for about couple of minutes. This will help to preserve the green color of the spinach.
  3. Once the spinach is cooled down, strain the leaves and put in a blender and make a smooth spinach puree without adding any extra water. Keep it aside.

Palak Paneer Recipe:

  1. Heat Ghee/ oil in a deep pan. If using butter or ghee, heat on low flame to prevent it from burning. Add cumin seeds and let it splutter. Now add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and whole red dry chilies.
  2. Add finely chopped onions and saute until soft and translucent. Now add ginger paste, garlic paste, and green chili paste. You can always adjust the spiciness by adding more or less chilies. Saute until the raw smell of ginger and garlic goes away but don’t let it burn.
  3. Now add finely chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt to cook it faster. Cook the tomatoes until soft and mushy. Once you see the oil leaving the sides of the pan, add turmeric powder and red chili powder and give it a quick stir.
  4. Now add the spinach puree and stir well.
  5. To adjust the consistency of the curry add ½ cup of water.
  6. Cook the curry on medium flame for about 5-6 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, in a frying pan drizzle some oil and shallow fry the paneer/ Tofu cubes until golden. (You can also skip the frying part and add the paneer cubes as it is).
  8. The spinach curry must have thickened by now. Add salt as per taste (remember as you already added a pinch of salt with the tomatoes) and garam masala and stir.
  9. Now add the fried paneer cubes and stir gently.
  10. Let the curry simmer on low flame for couple of minutes before switching off the flame.
  11. Hot and delicious Palak Paneer is ready to be served with naan, roti, or rice.Do try our Paneer Recipes: Paneer Butter Masala and Mango Kalakand

Ankita Joshi