Like many Indian dishes, the much-loved palak paneer (spinach and fresh cheese) starts with humble ingredients that are transformed with the deft use of spices. A full 2 pounds of spinach cooks down to create the creamy sauce. Browned paneer (Indian-style firm, fresh cheese) makes the dish substantial enough for a vegetarian main. All you need to add is a side of naan bread or steamed rice.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with this easy-to-make recipe for Palak Paneer.
1. Info for Palak Paneer
- Cook Time: 45 min
- Total Time: 45 min
- Servings: 8
- Calories: 274 kcal
2. Ingredients for Palak Paneer
- 1 lb. paneer (buy at natural foods stores and Indian markets; or substitute Mexican queso fresco or queso blanco)
- 1 onion (medium)
- 3 tomatoes (medium)
- 1 1/2 inches fresh ginger
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeño chili
- 2 lb. spinach (bunches)
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil (for paneer)
- 3 Tbsp. canola oil (for onion)
- 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. garam masala
- 1/2 cup water (optional)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Naan bread or steamed rice (for serving)
Cut the paneer into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes. Chop the onion and set aside. Chop the tomato and set aside separately. Scrape peel from the ginger with a spoon, then coarsely chop. Grind the ginger, garlic, and jalapeño into a coarse paste in a mini food processor, or finely chop. Trim roots and coarse part of stems from the spinach. Rinse spinach well and spin dry, then chop. Set ingredients aside.
Line a plate with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the paneer and fry, turning occasionally, until light golden all over, 5-10 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Heat the oil in a very large frying pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add reserved onion and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 8 minutes. Add reserved ginger-garlic paste and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 30 seconds.
Add the coriander, salt, and reserved chopped tomatoes and stir well. Reduce heat to medium and cook until tomatoes soften, about 10 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high. Stir reserved spinach into masala paste (in batches, if needed, until it wilts) and cook, stirring occasionally, until leaves are wilted, stems are tender, and about half of the liquid cooks off, about 10 minutes.
In a food processor or high-power blender, blend the spinach and masala paste into a puree. Blend it in batches if needed.
Transfer the puree back to the frying pan. Stir in the garam masala, paneer, and water, if needed for a looser texture. Cover and simmer over low heat until paneer is hot, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the heavy cream and simmer for 1 more minute.
Serve palak paneer with naan or rice.