Some days, we are in a mood to have restaurant style food at home. ‘Palak Paneer’ is one of my all time favorite Indian foods, not only because it tastes out of the world but also because it’s one of those dishes which is rich but you still you don’t feel guilty eating it. ‘Palak’ which is Hindi name for spinach doesn’t need any introduction and ‘Paneer’ is fresh Indian cheese which rich in protein.
If you don’t find ‘Paneer’ due to any reason Tofu is the closest thing you can find although unlike ‘Paneer’ they are lightly salted. Homemade Cottage cheese is also another good alternative. ‘Palak’ or spinach gives the dish a beautiful green color and ‘paneer’ and cream gives it just the right amount of richness needed for a perfect Indian curry and when you will taste it you will know exactly what I’m talking about.Here are the ingredients and the method how I made it.
- Rinse the palak or spinach leaves very well in running water. Tender stem are fine. If the stems are stringy, then discard the stems.
- Boil 3 cups water in a pan. Add ¼ tsp salt to the hot water and stir. Then add the palak leaves in the hot water. Close with a lid and let the palak leaves sit in the water for 2-3 mins. Strain the palak leaves.
- Immediately add the palak or spinach leaves in a pan or bowl containing ice cold water. This method helps in preserving the green color of the spinach. Allow the spinach leaves to be in the cold water for a minute or two.
- Then drain the ice cold water. Add the spinach in a blender. Make a smooth palak puree. No need to add water while making the puree. Keep the spinach puree aside.
- Heat oil in a non stick pan. Fry the paneer or Cottage Cheese cubes lightly. Immediately transfer into a bowl with some water. Add some salt and soak for 10-15 minutes.
- Add some ghee and remained oil. Now add the dry red chilli, cumin seeds and bay leafs. Fry until they splutter and exude aroma.
- Now add onion paste, garlic paste, ginger paste and fry for some times. Now add the tomato puree.
- Start adding all the dry masalas including kasuri methi. Fry till the oil gets separated. Now add the spinach/palak puree. Adjust seasoning with sugar and salt. Cook for some time but don’t overcook else spinach will change its colour.
- Now add the paneer/cottage cheese cubes and the water it was soaked into. Stir and add garam masala powder.
- Stir gently and simmer on a low flame till the paneer cubes become soft and succulent. About 1 to 2 minutes.
- Lastly add cream or ghee. Stir gently again so that the cream gets incorporated in the palak paneer gravy uniformly. Switch off the flame.
- Stir and serve the palak paneer hot with some rotis, naan or jeera rice. You can top the palak paneer with some butter or cream also while serving. Also drizzle a few drops of lime or lemon juice on top along with ginger julienne if you wish to.