Last updated on October 23rd, 2020
Palak paneer is the most popular paneer dish from Indian cuisine. Paneer or Indian cottage cheese simmered in a creamy flavorful palak gravy or spinach sauce.
This hearty and delicious spinach with Indian cottage cheese curry pairs well with naan, jeera rice, roti etc.
Are you looking to include more spinach in your family’s diet? Add paneer to blanched palak puree, season it mildly and make palak paneer 🙂 Easiest and tastiest way to eat spinach undoubtedly 🙂
I make this spinach paneer curry very often as it is one of the healthiest. Palak or spinach is full of iron and paneer is rich in calcium. I often make this curry home style, that is without dhungar method or fresh cream.
My kid loves paneer and in this curry , she gets good dose of spinach too 🙂 Win win for both of us 🙂 Also the total time and cook time for this recipe is very less.
What Is Palak Paneer Recipe
Palak paneer is the most popular Indian paneer curry made with spinach leaves and paneer. Palak means spinach and paneer is cottage cheese. Soft and fresh paneer cubes are gently simmered in flavorful palak puree in this recipe.
This curry is very mildly seasoned allowing the star ingredients spinach and paneer to shine through.
For richness and creamy texture we add some fresh cream towards the end. If you want to avoid fresh cream, just leave it out or swap it with any one of the below mentioned ingredients.
1 cup coconut milk or coconut cream
2 tablespoons almond milk
2 tablespoons well whisked yogurt
You will find spinach paneer curry in menu of all popular Indian restaurants. It is one of the most sought after paneer recipes for veg recipes lovers just like
I am a big fan of this curry and always make this when I get some good greens. Sometimes I also use a mix of greens to make this recipe.
This is one of the healthiest curry that also tastes so delicious and a breeze to make.
When you spot a bunch of fresh spinach do give this easy step by step palak paneer recipe a try and you will love it.
This Palak Paneer Is
Super delicious and absolutely best
Authentic north Indian recipe
vegetarian & gluten free
Goes well with naan!
Best way to snack spinach in kids diet 🙂
Mildly seasoned with clean flavors
How To Make Restaurant Style Palak Paneer:
You can very easily make this curry more rich and creamy for guests or special occasions. Below I have listed some tips for making restaurant style curries.
To make paneer palak with smoky flavor just like restaurants I use dhungar method sometimes.
You can make use of dhungar method in other restaurant style curries also to get that characteristic smoky flavor.
Dhungar method is infusing the flavor of hot charcoal into the prepared dish.
Blanching the spinach also helps in attaining restaurant style flavor. Blanching the spinach gives the curry a vibrant color especially without any food coloring.
It also removes any possible bitterness from matured spinach. Here I have blanched the palak leaves very briefly so there is no nutrient loss too.
Adding fresh cream towards the end also gives a rich and creamy texture just like in restaurants. You can also add cashew cream for more rich curry.
Adding a teaspoon garam masala powder just before removing the curry from flame will add more flavor. Make sure to sure very good quaity garam masala.
You can also add an additional tadka just before serving.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil and temper with 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, few garlic cloves. Add this to the curry, mix and serve.
Furthermore if needed you can add a pinch of baking soda while blanching spinach.
This will retain the color of spinach and more effective than adding sugar.
Tips To Make Best Palak Paneer
How to choose spinach or palak leaves
Use tender and fresh spinach leaves for best texture and flavor.If your spinach leaves are not tender they will taste very bitter and just spoil the taste of this curry.
You can soak fresh spinach leaves in salted for 30 minutes. Soaking the leaves for 30 minutes helps in reducing bitterness
Also do not vary the quantity of spinach leaves I have mentioned here to get that perfect smooth consistency.
You can also use frozen spinach leaves here. No need to blanch or thaw the frozen spinach leaves.
How is saag paneer different from palak paneer?
If good quality spinach leaves are not available you can easily use amaranth leaves in this recipe. It will be then saag paneer, saag meaning greens.
For making saag paneer you can also use mustard greens. I usually make saag paneer with mustard greens and it tastes really good.
Along with mustard leaves you can also use fenugreek leaves for saag paneer. Fenugreek leaves are bitter so use tender ones.
To blanch or not the spinach leaves?
I prefer to blanch the spinach leaves for making palak paneer. Blanching the spinach leaves helps in retaining the green color in the gravy.
Also raw spinach leaves are high in oxalic acid. So blanching them reduces the oxalic acid to an extent.
By blanching the spinach leaves we can also remove some bitterness and rawness from the spinach leaves.
However do not boil the spinach leaves for long time. Just blanch them in hot water for not more than 5 minutes with a bit of sugar. If you boil the leaves for long time some nutrients will be lost.
On a side note you can also make the spinach sauce without blanching the spinach leaves. It does increase the flavor but I am not very comfortable cooking greens without blanching them.
So it is your preference to blanch or not, I suggest you blanch the leaves while making for toddlers and kids.
If you choose to make this recipe without blanching the palak leaves, make sure to clean them very thoroughly.
soak your greens in salted water or add few drops of vinegar in the water. Rinse in clear water multiple times before using in the recipe.
This holds good for any spinach recipe you might make.
How to retain the green color of spinach leaves?
To retain the vibrant green color of the spinach sauce, blanching the spinach with a pinch of sugar is the secret. Blanching just brings out the color of spinach leaves.
Also once you puree the blanched palak, use it immedietly in the curry. If you keep the pureed spinach for long time as such, it will discolor.
How to make smooth spinach sauce
To make a super silky and smooth gravy instead of chopping, grind onions and tomatoes to a smooth paste and saute them until oil separates.
Add pureed spinach mixture to this tomato onion paste, make spinach sauce and proceed with the recipe.
Instead of blending the ingredients first, you can make the gravy as mentioned and finally puree it in the pan itlsef using an immersion blender.
Quality of paneer
The quality of paneer you use can make or break this curry. I mostly use homemade paneer for my paneer recipes.
If using store bought paneer, keep it soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes to make more soft and melt in mouth.
Store bought paneer is often hard and the above mentioned step makes it softer.
If you wish you can toast or pan fry the paneer for 2 minutes before adding in the spinach gravy.
In the absence of paneer you can use, halloumi or cubed tofu to make this recipe.
Make ahead & Storing
To make this curry ahead I suggest you prepare the spinach sauce or palak gravy a day or two ahead and refrigerate.
At the time of serving, add 1/2 teaspoon butter or oil in a pan and gently heat the spinach sauce gravy. You can add some water to adjust consistency.
Add cubed paneer to the heated palak gravy and serve saag paneer.
Storing– If you however have leftover finished curry just transfer into an airtight container and refrigerate. Keeps well for 2-3 days. You can reheat or microwave before serving.
Freezing palak paneer– If you plan to make in large quantities and freeze, I suggest you make the gravy without cream and freeze in freezer bags. Just thaw, reheat, add paneer or Indian cottage cheese and fresh cream just before serving.
Step By Step Method
To make blanched spinach puree:
1. First of all separate the palak leaves from the bunch and wash thoroughly to get rid of any dirt or mud. Chop onion and tomatoes finely. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
2. Bring plenty of water to rolling boil in big vessel. To the boiling water add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and mix well. Also add the washed spinach leaves and blanch them for 2-3 minutes.
3. Once blanched wash the spinach leaves in cold running water. Allow to cool for few minutes.
4. Grind the blanched leaves to a smooth puree along with green chilies and ginger. You can also add garlic cloves.
5. Next heat oil or butter in a thick bottomed pan. Add bay leaf and saute in medium heat for 2 minutes. Next add crushed garlic and chopped onions. Saute till the onion changes color slightly.
6. Now add the chopped tomatoes and saute over medium heat well till the tomatoes turn mushy.
7. Now add the spinach puree and mix well. Add 1/4 cup water.
Also add salt, chili powder, garam masala powder and sugar.
Mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes. Now spinach sauce is ready.
Now add the paneer cubes and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Add fresh cream and mix well. Finally add the lemon juice and mix well.
Serve paneer palak hot with naan or roti. This curry also goes well with jeera rice.
Vegan Palak Paneer
You can easily make this spinach paneer curry vegan, however paneer will have to go 🙂
To make this curry vegan use
- tofu in place of paneer
- oil for cooking instead of butter
- cashew cream instead of fresh cream.
If you want to make this curry without onions and garlic, just leave them out and make the recipe as given.
You can also make this recipe without tomatoes, just use 1/2 cup well whisked curd in place of tomato puree.
More Paneer Recipes:
I hope you will try this palak paneer recipe and enjoy as much as we did.
Palak Paneer- Spinach With Indian Cottage Cheese
- 250 grams spinach leaves fresh and tender
- water to blanch spinach
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 inch ginger piece peeled
- 2 green chilies
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3/4 cup chopped onion 1 big
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes 1 small
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 200 grams paneer cubed
- 3 tablespoons fresh cream or cashew paste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Separate the palak leaves from the bunch and wash thoroughly to get rid of any dirt or mud. Chop the onion and tomatoes finely. Peel and crush the garlic cloves finely.
- Bring plenty of water to a rolling boil in big vessel. To the boiling water now add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and mix well. Also add washed spinach leaves and blanch them for 2-3 minutes.
- Once the leaves are blanched wash the spinach leaves in cold running water. Allow them to cool for few minutes.
- Now grind the blanched leaves to a smooth puree along with green chilies and ginger. You can also add few garlic cloves.
- Heat oil or butter if you like in a thick bottomed pan. Add the bay leaf and saute for 2 minutes. Next add the crushed garlic and chopped onions. Saute them till the onion changes color slightly.
- Now add chopped tomatoes and saute well till the tomatoes turn mushy.
- Now add spinach puree and mix well. Add 1/4 cup water.
- Also add the salt, chili powder, garam masala powder and sugar.
- Mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes in medium heat.
- Now add paneer cubes and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Add fresh cream, mix well. Add lemon juice and mix.
- Serve palak paneer curry hot with naan or roti. This curry goes well with jeera rice also.
- You can double the recipe.
- Use tender spinach leaves else they tend to be bitter.