Palak paneer

If you are familiar with Indian food, you know the term “Palak Paneer” refers to spinach cottage cheese.  Palak paneer is famous north Indian gravy dish made with spinach and Indian cottage cheese. This dish is simple and easy to make at home in few minutes. If you are craving comfort in the form of an Indian curry, this is perfect recipe for you. For all the vegans out there, you can easily swap out paneer for tofu. It is perfectly served with Indian flatbread like roti, naan, paratha or even rice.  

When it comes to paneer, using good quality of paneer is always the key! You can get the paneer in any Indian store; however homemade paneer is always the best way to go! I will share my paneer recipe soon! It is very easy, and you can make big batch ahead of time, hence when you want to make any curries with paneer, you have readily available in your fridge.

There is a trick to keeping the vibrant green color while cooking this dish. Spinach tends to change color when cooked or blanched. Therefore, try to cook spinach in very little water while adding pinch of baking soda or put cooked spinach in ice water right after blanching it. Palak paneer is creamy on its own so I usually skip the cream most of the time, but you can add if you like it. I usually drizzle over the curry for garnishing when I am cooking for parties. I have two ways of making this dish, however I stick to the instant pot way since its simplified one pot quick way to get the authentic way to prepare the dish.  

Ingredients:

1-2 bunches of spinach

1 cup finely chopped onions

1.5 cup paneer cubed

2 tbsp of ghee

2-3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1-inch ginger finely chopped

2 green chilies

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp red chili powder

½ tsp cumin coriander powder

½ tsp garam masala

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 cups of water for blanching spinach

1 tbsp of fresh cream – for garnishing

1/3 cup plain yogurt (dahi)

1 tsp lemon juice

Serves 4

[Calories per serving 300, Fat 30g, Carbs 5g, Fiber 1g, Protein 12g]

Method:

You can make this on stove top or in instant pot. I will be sharing both methods with you today!

Stovetop

Wash the spinach thoroughly in cold water. In a pan add water and bring to boil, blanch spinach for 3 minutes. Immediately removed spinach from hot water to ice water. This helps to retain that vibrant green color of the spinach. In a blender, add blanched spinach, green chilies and blend it to a smooth puree.

In a separate pan heat ghee. Add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds start to splutter, add chopped ginger, garlic, onions and cook until golden translucent. Add salt and all the dry spices (turmeric, cumin-coriander, garam masala, red chili powder). Mix well and sauté for 5-10 minutes or until the oil starts to separate.  Add curd and spinach puree. Cook for another 5 minutes and add pan seared paneer or tofu cubes. Cook for another 3-4 minutes and garnish with fresh cream. Your Palak paneer is ready! Serve hot with roti, paratha, naan or rice.

Instant pot

Start the instant pot in sauté mode. Heat ghee and add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds start to splutter, add chopped ginger, garlic and onions. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add all the dry spices (turmeric, cumin-coriander, garam masala, red chili powder, salt), stir and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add water and deglaze the pot (this means add ½ cup of water to prevent the curry sticking to the bottom of the pot). Add in the chopped spinach. Press cancel and close the instant pot with the lid and vent in sealing position. Set on manual or high pressure cook mode for 2 minutes. Once done cooking, release the pressure manually after 5 minutes. Blend the ingredients in the instant pot to puree. Add curd, pan seared paneer or tofu and gently stir everything together. Garnish with fresh cream. Serve hot with roti, paratha, naan or rice.

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