Palak paneer is a recent addition to my roster of Indian dishes.
I recently decided to cook an Indian feast for some friends who had a terrible first experience of Indian food at a local restaurant. I wanted to be sure that this negative impression didn’t linger on for too long! So I quickly invited them over to get a taste of *real* home-cooked Indian cuisine.
One of the absolute WORST dishes that you can order in an Indian restaurant in France is one that features Paneer, because 99.9 % of the time, they use Kiri or La Vache Qui Rit cheese instead of actual paneer, as well as frozen creamed spinach. GAG!
While real Paneer can be hard to come by in France (though you can find it in Indian stores around Paris or order it online), it’s also extremely easy to make yourself, and of course, it tastes a million times better!
Once you’ve got your hands on some delicious, real Paneer, here’s how to make Palak Paneer. I’ll also be explaining in another post how to make Paneer cheese from scratch. It takes a mere 20 minutes or so, and all you need is one liter of whole fat milk and a curdling agent like lemon juice or vinegar. But more about that later!
What is Palak Paneer?
Palak paneer is paneer that’s been gently fried in turmeric. It’s then simmered in a spinach and cream sauce. It’s healthy, rich, and full of spices. You can eat it as a side dish or as a main dish. Serve it with rice or fresh chapatis, and a bit of spicy mango pickle.
Easy Palak Paneer
- 200 grams paneer freshly made or store-bought
- 200 grams fresh baby spinach rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 piece fresh ginger grated
- 200g chopped or blended tomatoes canned or fresh
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 100 ml water
- 200 ml heavy cream
- Cut the paneer into cubes and gently fry until golden brown in a bit of sunflower oil. Set them aside on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb any extra oil.
- Sweat the onion until transparent in some ghee or sunflower oil. Add all the spices to the onion, then cook on medium heat for a minute or two until the spices are lightly toasted and fragrant. Add the ginger and the garlic, stir, and then add the water and keep stirring until it has evaporated.
- Add the tomatoes, and let simmer for 10/15 minutes, until the tomato mixture is nicely spiced, thick, and slightly reduced. Season with salt and pepper.
- Throw in the spinach, then cook for about 10 minutes, until wilted and cooked down.
- Add the cream, cook for another 10 minutes on low, then add the paneer and cook until warmed through, for about 5 or 10 minutes.
If you want to learn how to make paneer from scratch, check out my Savory recipes!