palak paneer

Palak paneer is a Punjabi dish of spinach studded with cubes of fried paneer cheese. This is a hearty and filling vegetarian meal.

This spinach benefits from cooking quickly because long cooking times will make it lose its colour. The technique of blanching with salt, turmeric and sugar will help keep the spinach a vibrant green, as will cooking it in an open pan. This recipe does not use a lot of powdered spice, which also helps keep the spinach green.

You could use paneer from the supermarket, but it would be better to buy fresh paneer from your Indian grocer. Without a doubt, the best approach is to make your own paneer. You might refer to our recipe for paneer. This will add about 45 minutes to the cooking time but can be done in advance. You will be amazed at the difference that making your own paneer will make, and trust me, it is such a simple thing to do.

As presented in this recipe it will serve two as a main meal, served with some chapatis, or will serve four as a side dish.

the recipe

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equipment

  • blender

ingredients

  • 300 g spinach leaves - trimmed

for the spinach

for the masala

to serve

  • 1 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 20 g ginger - shredded
  • 1 lime - cut into wedges

instructions 

for the spinach

  • Bring two litres of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the salt, turmeric and jaggery, stir, then add the spinach leaves. Once the pot returns to the boil, use a slotted spoon to immediately remove the spinach and place it into an ice water bath.
  • Drain the spinach once it is cold. Place the spinach into a blender and puree, adding as little water as possible. Set aside.

for the paneer

  • Heat the ghee in a pan, wok or kadhai over medium heat. Add the paneer cubes and cook until lightly browned. Remove from ghee and set aside.

for the masala

  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the cumin seeds to the hot ghee and once they start to splutter add the bay leaf. and the finely chopped onion. Sprinkle with the salt and cook, stirring often, for ten minutes or until the onions become golden.
  • Add the finely chopped ginger and garlic. Cook for three minutes until the raw garlic smell has gone.
  • Increase the heat to medium and add the chopped chillies and tomato. Stir and cook for around five minutes, or until the tomatoes soften and you see the ghee releasing from the sides of the mixture,
  • Add the turmeric, Kashmiri chilli powder and asafoetida. Stir well.
  • Add the spinach puree and half a cup of water. Mix well and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes until the spinach is cooked, and the sauce has reduced. Taste and season with salt as required. Add the garam masala and mix well.
  • Add the paneer cubes, stir gently and simmer on low heat until the paneer cubes become soft and have absorbed some of the sauce. This takes only two minutes at most.
  • Add the fenugreek leaves and crème fraiche and stir gently so that the crème fraiche is incorporated into the sauce. Return to a simmer then remove from the heat.

to serve

  • Garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche and the shredded ginger. Serve with lime wedges.

notes

  • For a milder palak paneer, use only one chilli and remove the membrane and seeds.

private notes

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nutrition

Serving: 175 g | Calories: 294 kcal | Carbohydrates: 16 g | Protein: 12 g | Fat: 21 g | Saturated Fat: 13 g | Cholesterol: 54 mg | Sodium: 1328 mg | Potassium: 643 mg | Fiber: 4 g | Sugar: 5 g | Vitamin A: 7418 IU | Vitamin C: 37 mg | Calcium: 412 mg | Iron: 3 mg

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