Annika Eats

Palak Paneer

This traditional Indian dish is a classic. Filled with spinach, paneer and spices it makes for a yummy meal. Serve it with my easy homemade Jeera (cumin) rice and it is perfect. 

I start this post as an ode to my dad. He absolutely loves Palak Paneer. Palak is the Hindi word for spinach and paneer is Indian cottage cheese. With his obsession for this dish I have made it in my sleep and with time the recipe has been perfected. A lot of times, I hear people daunted to cook indian cuisine as there are so many ingredients and spices in a single recipe. But let me tell you – we barely do any work in this recipe as everything is cooked together, blended, heated and served. There are many ways to make this dish and I have gotten a fair amount of backlash for the fact that this is not the traditional way it is done. However, I believe my way of making it is not only simpler but also tastier! 

What ingredients do you need to make the Palak Paneer?

The good thing about this recipe is that the ingredients are not hard to find and you might just have most of them at home. In saying this, there are no substitutes to the recipe as the is my GO TO Palak Paneer and in order for you to enjoy it the way I make it, I wouldn’t substitute anything out. If you can’t find paneer you could use par boiled potatoes or tofu cubes as well, it will change the dish but it does taste good. 

To make the spinach mixture we start by using onions, ginger, garlic and green chili. Then we add tomatoes and coriander. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of water that is broken down in many parts throughout. As for spice powders, we need cumin powder (aka jeera powder), garam masala powder, fenugreek powder (aka kasthuri methi powder) and I do add a few cashews to ensure a creamy texture at the end. When it comes to the spinach we must use fresh, I like ti take the stalks off, wash and dry them in paper towel. As for the paneer I prefer using fresh however you could use frozen just rehydrate them in water until soft before cooking. 

There are 2 tadkas in the recipe, tadka means the tempering of spices in hot fat. For the first tadka we us a little ghee bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves and cardamom pods. As the second tadka, which acts as a garish on the top, we need a lot of ghee, freshly sliced ginger, red chili and cumin seeds. They are both needed for different purposes. The frist tadka is to cook the palak mixture further with the paneer in the aromatic fat. While the second tadka is for garnish, texture and overall flavor. 

To make the Jeera (cumin) rice we need cumin seeds, coriander, steamed rice, ghee and a little salt. Sometimes I love adding chaat masala into the rice as well. 

What equipment do you need to make the Palak Paneer?

To make the Palak Paneer we need a chopping board, knife, deep cooking pot, a small sauté pan for the tadka and stirring spatula. I like using my Nutribullet to blend the mixture together while you could us any high speed blender. If your blend is small, blend the mixture in batches to avoid any accidents in the kitchen. To make the Jeera rice we need a medium sauté pan and string spoon. 

How to make the Palak Paneer?

We start by roughly chopping our onions, garlic, ginger, chili and cooking them in oil. Then we add fresh tomato and coriander that has been chopped. The dry spices go in, I’ve used a mixture of cumin powder, fenugreek powder and garam masala powder. I then add the cashews and some water to cook it down. The spinach gets added in parts as it takes time to wilt down. Once al the spinach is added into the pan cook it for a couple of minutes and then it’s time to blend. Take your time with this and do it in parts if needed. But one the mixture is smooth we are good to go. Add a little ghee in the same pan and add the whole spices (cinnamon, bay leaf, clove, cardamom) we add the spinach mixture into the hot pan with the spices and stir around. Add some water to adjust the consistency if needed. Add the paneer and cook for a few minutes on low heat. Once the paneer is soft take off the heat and set side. We now make the second tadka for the garnish. In a small sauté pan add the ghee, sliced ginger, cumin seeds and red chili. Cook this until the ginger is golden brown and you can smell the spices. Take off the heat and pour over the palak paneer. 

To make the Jeera rice, we steam or boil our rice in advance and set aside. In a medium statue pan add the ghee, cumin seeds and let this heat up really well. Add the cooked rice and stir around. Season with some salt and sprinkle over fresh coriander. 

How to serve the Palak Paneer?

I like serving it with Jeera rice, you can serve it with roti, naan, slice bread some papad and even quinoa if you fancy. Before serving I like to add a little yogurt on top and fresh coriander leaves as a garnish. Serve it hot always. 

How to store the Palak Paneer?

Once it is cooked the palak paneer can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Warm it up in the microwave or over a pan before serving. 

Now that we have understood how to make this dish, let us get on with making it. Happy Cooking Ninjas!

Palak Paneer

This traditional Indian dish is a classic. Filled with spinach, paneer and spices it makes for a yummy meal. Serve it with my easy homemade Jeera (cumin) rice and it is perfect.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Cooking pot
  • Stirring spatula
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Blender
  • Small sauté pan
  • Medium sauté pan

Ingredients
  

For the Palak Paneer

  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 2 Medium Onions roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp Ginger roughly chopped)
  • 3 Garlic cloves roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 Medium Tomato roughly chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Coriander roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Water divided through out the recipe
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek powder
  • 2 tbsp Cashew nuts
  • 4 Bunches Palak spinach
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 300 gm Paneer

For Tadka 1

  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 4 Cloves
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 Cardamom pods

For Tadka 2

  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 tbsp Ginger finely sliced
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 3 Red chilies

For the Jeera Rice

  • 2 cups Cooked rice
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp Coriander chopped
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • In a deep cooking pot on medium heat we add our onions, garlic, ginger, chili and cook them in oil. Then we add fresh tomato and coriander, cook further. The cumin powder, fenugreek powder and garam masala powder go into the pot. I then add the cashews and some of the water to cook it down for a couple of minutes.
  • The spinach gets added in parts as it takes time to wilt down. Once all the spinach is added into the pan, cook it for a couple of minutes and then it's time to blend. Take your time with this and do it in parts if needed. But once the mixture is smooth we are good to go.
  • Now we make the first tadka, add a little ghee in the same pan and add the whole spices (cinnamon, bay leaf, clove, cardamom) we add the pureed spinach mixture into the hot pan with the spices and stir around. Add some water to adjust the consistency if needed. Add the paneer and cook for a few minutes on low heat. Once the paneer is soft take off the heat and set side.
  • We now make the second tadka for the garnish. In a small sauté pan add the ghee, sliced ginger, cumin seeds and red chili. Cook this until the ginger is golden brown and you can smell the spices. Take off the heat and pour over the palak paneer.
  • To make the Jeera rice, we steam or boil our rice in advance and set aside. In a medium sauté pan add the ghee, cumin seeds and let this heat up really well. Add the cooked rice and stir around. Season with some salt and sprinkle over fresh coriander.
  • Serve the palak paneer with the jeera rice.

Notes

  • Make sure to blend the mixture well to ensure it is all smooth.
  • Don't skip on the first tadka as it makes the dish aromatic and flavorful.
  • When making the jeera rice, ensure not to over cook the rice as we don’t want it to become sticky.

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