Palak Paneer is a beloved Indian side, made up of spinach, with glorious chunks of the Indian cottage cheese. It is a great favourite at our home.
Green vegetables are good for us, but spinach has extra benefits. This is because it is loaded with vitamins and building blocks to protein. Not only that, it is also a great way to get the good old iron power/shakti . Very fortunately, a tasty way for us to enjoy spinach is in the form of the traditional palak paneer!😊
In other words, we can have better eyesight, better chances of preventing cancer, muscle coordination, bone density, control over BP issues AND a good time at our dining times ❤️ Read more about the benefits of spinach/palak if you are still wondering if you should make this dish!
So go on, enjoy your spinach.
Steps to Making the Palak Paneer
This might just be the easiest recipes for Palak Paneer you’d come across. Also, you can make this dish up to step 6 when you procure fresh spinach/palak. You can convert it into the final dish when you get time later, when you buy/make the paneer at home. More details below.
Another point of making Palak Paneer is that it is possible to have a considerable amount of the nourishment from this vegetable as a pureed and creamy palak gravy. This not possible when you add the leaves in other dishes.
Washing the Spinach/Palak
Spinach leaves have a disadvantage. They may have been grown in places that have a high chance of fecal contamination. It sounds dreadful, doesn’t it? The good news is that washing it really well and cooking it till the recommended time can get rid of all the nasty bugs that can be clinging to the good stuff. Read on!
I recommend that the leaves should be plucked off their roots, dumped in a large vessel of water, with half a cup of vinegar. After 15 minutes (or more). rinse it thoroughly. Every time you rinse the leaves, you must pick the leaves and transfer it to a large colander, discard the water and repeat.
Never ever drain the water by tilting the vessel and retaining the leaves in it. This is because the leaves will retain the soil particles and also the eggs of any nasty parasites. If you pick off the rinsed leaves and throw the water away, you lessen the risk considerably. Every time you rinse reduces the microbe count.
Since you have not yet chopped the spinach, there is no chance of losing any nutrients in the process of rinsing. Now drain the leaves on a strainer/ colander and let the water drip away.
Chopping the Spinach/Palak
There is only good news here! No need to chop this fine. Just roughly cutting the drained leaves on a clean cutting board is enough.
And if the leaves are small and tender, there is no need to chop at all! Yeah!
Cooking the Spinach/Palak
Cooking the leaves well is critical to kill off all the possible parasites left over after washing.
For this, heat oil in a pan. Add the whole cumin seeds, a garlic pod, a quartered onion and a green chilli. Let it cook for just a minute and then drop in the chopped leaves.
When you see the quantity, you are likely to be stunned. “So much of palak!”, you may think. Don’t worry! Add 1/2 a glass of water, cover and cook.
Just wait for 10 minutes, and you’ll see how this reduces to a mere fraction of it’s initial volume.
Add tomatoes and cook for a further 5 mintues. Add salt at this stage. This is one of the common mistakes that people make in the kitchen. If you add salt when the volume is more, then you will invariably make it too salty. At this stage, it will be easier to judge the salt required.
Now cool the mixture and then grind it in your blender/food processor, with a level spoonful of sugar.
You can make and store the mixture in the fridge for two days safely. When you want to complete the dish, go to the next steps. This mixture can also be frozen for a month.
The Paneer for the Palak Paneer
You can use the same pan and heat up a teaspoon of ghee. Add a red chilli, the finely chopped onion, 1/2 a teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste and fry well. In a few minutes, add the cubes of paneer. Fry lightly.
If you have homemade paneer, and you prefer a softer texture, you can add the paneer later. But all store bought paneer should be cooked for at least five minutes.
Add the pureed mixture of the spinach. Stir it well. Add 1/2 a cup of milk. Stir gently so as to not break the paneer pieces. Check the seasoning.
Drizzle Cream and Serve Happiness!
Decorate the palak paneer with a small dollop of cream. Serve with rice/ roties. A simple cut vegetable salad and a dry side dish would make this a complete and delightful meal.
Palak PaneerCourse: SidesCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
A creamy, rich and popular vegetarian side dish that has the double benefits of being tasty as well as nutritious
1/2 kg spinach
200-400 g of paneer (cubed)
To be roughly chopped :
1 pod garlic,
1 green chilli
1 onion (finely chopped)
1/2 cup of milk
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 red chilli
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fresh cream (optional)
- Wash the spinach well. Drain.
- Chop into large pieces if leaves are big, else leave it whole.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds, a pod of garlic, the green chilli and the roughly chopped onions. Fry for a minute.
- Add the spinach leaves. Pour in half a cup of water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on low heat.
- Add tomato, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes. Cool slightly.
- Add salt, sugar and blend.
- In the same pan, heat a teaspoon of ghee. Fry the finely chopped onions, a red chilli and some ginger-garlic paste in it for a minute.
- Add the cubes of paneer and fry gently for another minute.
- Now add the blended mixture. Mix gently. Add the milk. Check seasonings. Mix well.
- Remove from fire in 5 minutes and serve hot, garnished with some fresh cream.
- If you find fresh spinach, you can make and keep the mixture up to step 6 in the fridge for 2 days or in the freezer for a month.The day you need the palak paneer, complete the rest of the steps.