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A copper coloured serving bowl is filled with palak paneer or spinach curry with Indian cottage cheese cubes in it. To the left of the palak paneer is a piece of naan, and at the bottom of the image a silver coloured spoon can be seen peeking.
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Palak Paneer - Spinach with Indian Cottage Cheese

Palak paneer is a popular vegetarian Indian dish made using spinach and Indian cottage cheese. Spinach is blanched and blended into a puree after which it is cooked with spices and cottage cheese to create a rich, creamy and flavorful curry, that tastes delicious with naan and rice.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian, North Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 150kcal

Ingredients

  • 400 gram spinach 2 bunches of spinach
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil ghee or butter can be used for a richer flavor
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 6 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger finely sliced
  • 2 green chilies chopped in 3 pieces
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 200 grams Indian cottage cheese (paneer) This can be made at home or it can be store-bought
  • 4 tablespoon cream optional

Instructions

Blanch the spinach:

  • Wash the spinach thoroughly in running water. Drain, and then cut off the spinach stems. Roughly chop the spinach and set aside.
  • Put a large pot of salted water to boil. Once the water comes to a boil, add the spinach and cook for two minutes. Remove the spinach from the boiling water and add it to a bowl of ice-cold water with ice cubes in it immediately. In case ice cubes aren’t available, place the spinach in a colander and run it under cold running water from a tap for a few minutes. This step will stop the cooking process and ensure that the green color of the spinach is retained.
  • Drain and lightly squeeze out the excess water from the spinach. Place the spinach in a blender and grind it into a smooth paste. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary, to blend it properly. This step can be done ahead and the spinach paste can be kept in the refrigerator for about 2 days.

Prepare the palak paneer gravy:

  • Cut the cottage cheese into cubes, about one inch by half inch pieces. For added crunch, the cottage cheese (paneecan be fried in oil. Just heat oil in a small frying pan, and add the cottage cheese. Fry for a minute or so on both sides till golden brown. Drain cottage cheese (paneeon a kitchen towel and keep aside. My family prefers cottage cheese as is, so I skip this step. Set aside the cottage aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Add cumin seeds, and fry for a minute or so till the cumin seeds start to splutter. Add sliced garlic and ginger and saute till the garlic turns light golden. Add the green chillies, and then add the chopped onion, and saute for about 3 – 4 minutes till onions are light golden.
  • Add red chili flakes, turmeric and salt.
  • Fry the spices for a minute, and then add the spinach puree. Cook for a couple of minutes till the spinach comes to a boil. Keep the heat to low – medium, as the spinach puree has a habit of spluttering and that can get quite messy.
  • When the gravy comes to a boil, stir in lemon juice, cream (if usinand about ¾th of the prepared cottage cheese (paneer). Stir through.
  • Take the palak paneer out in a serving bowl, and garnish with the remaining paneer and serve with naan or rice.

Notes

  • To make a more smooth palak paneer, the onion mixture can be blitzed in a food processor till smooth. Pulse the onions till smooth, add to the pan and proceed with the recipe as it is.
  • It is possible to make the ground spinach paste ahead of time. Blanch, and blend the spinach till smooth and then keep the mixture in an airtight box in the fridge for upto 3 days. When ready to make the palak paneer, just proceed with the rest of the recipe.