Happy St. Patrick’s Day !!! Green is the theme color for today and green it is. My 103rd recipe, “Palak Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese in Spinach Gravy)”, a bright, vibrant and healthy North Indian side. Palak Paneer is one of those dishes which I had never tasted while growing up.Though my mom was very conscious in making me eat my greens, it was usually the Spinach Dal she made atleast once a week.
Since this dish is very healthy, I was assuming that it would not taste good and during my restaurant visits in Chennai also I never ordered this. However once I moved to US, I was lucky enough to taste this wonderful dish as part of a Lunch Buffet in an Indian Restaurant. I was amazed at how delicious it tasted. The taste kept lingering in my mouth for a while.
Ever since that day, I wanted to try this dish at home. Though I made Aloo Palak once earlier, I never attempted to make this dish until today. Since RK was saying that today was St. Patrick’s day and wanted me to prepare any dish green in color, I immediately grabbed the opportunity and made this super healthy and famous Indian gravy. After making some customization of mine to the recipe, it turned out super delicious.
Palak Paneer is a a bright, vibrant and healthy North Indian side made with pureed spinach and paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese)
- Paneer - 7 Oz (1/2 Packet)
- Palak / Spinach - 5 oz (1/2 Packet)
- Green chilli - 2 small
- Ginger - 1/2 inch (Roughly chopped)
- Garlic - 3 Cloves
- Ghee / Oil - 1 Tbsp
- Jeera - 1/2 tsp
- Onion - 1 small (Finely chopped)
- Ripe tomato - 1 small (Finely chopped)
- Salt - 1/2 tsp (Adjust per taste)
- Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
- Red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
- Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
- Fresh cream - 2 Tbsp (Optional)
- If using store bought paneer, cut them into desired shape and keep them soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes. Then drain it from water and keep aside. In case of using home made paneer you can skip this step.
- Meanwhile wash the spinach in running water. Then blanch the spinach and keep it aside. i.e. Add the spinach to boiling water and let it sit for 2 minutes. Then remove the spinach from hot water and add it immediately to ice cold water. Let it sit in ice cold water for 1 minute before being used. This will help to retain its color.
- Add the blanched spinach to the mixie along with ginger, garlic and green chilli. Grind into smooth puree without adding any water. Keep it aside.
- Now heat a pan with ghee, add the jeera and once it starts changing color, add the onion and saute until the onion turns nice golden brown.
- Add the tomato, salt and saute until the tomato turns fully mushy. Add the turmeric, red chilli powder and saute for few minutes until the raw smell of masala powders are gone.
- Now, add the prepared spinach puree and stir well. Add about 3/4 cup of water, garam masala powder and cook in low-medium flame until the spinach gets cooked fully. By the time you can find the raw smell would have gone and the gravy would thicken slightly.
- Finally, add the paneer cubes to the gravy and mix well. Let it get cooked in gravy for 2 mins. Turn off the flame.
- Optionally, add fresh cream and mix well.
- Transfer to serving bowl. Serve hot along with any kind of indian bread and enjoy.
- You can even fry the paneer until slightly golden brown and use in gravy. But if you add it as given in the recipe, you will get super soft paneer and the masala will get nicely absorbed by the paneer.
- Chop your tomato and onion very finely. It is highly important to follow to get a smooth gravy.
- If you like, you can add a Tbsp of finely chopped garlic along with onion while sauteing.
- Do adjust the green chilli according to your taste.
- Do adjust the water according to your desired gravy consistency. I had to add a little extra water at the end to get a thin gravy.