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Palak Paneer
The idea behind this beautiful green dish, Palak Paneer, is to balance the strong taste of palak (commonly known as spinach) with the mild and slightly sweet taste of paneer (also known as cottage cheese). First, palak puree is cooked with onions for meaty taste, tomatoes for tartness, various spices for flavor and aroma, and milk for creaminess, to make green curry. Then, cubed paneer is added to the curry. The mild-tasting paneer absorbs the flavors of spinach and spices and, at the same time, imparts its sweetness to the dish. All the ingredients together make it a rich and flavorful dish with creamy texture.

Palak Paneer (also called Saag Paneer) is best served with any Indian bread (roti or naan) or steamed or fried basmati rice.

Happy Cooking!
Serves 5 to 6
1 pound
1 medium, peeled and chopped
Thai Chili
2 or according to taste, partially slit
Cumin Powder
1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder
1/4 teaspoon
Chaat Masala
1 teaspoon
Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup (8 oz cup)
Olive Oil
3 tablespoons
Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
7 to 10 ounces, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Red Tomato
2 medium, chopped
Coriander Powder
2 teaspoons
Red Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon or according to taste
Garam Masala Powder
1/4 teaspoon
Dried Fenugreek Leaves
1 tablespoon
2-3 teaspoons or according to taste
Ginger-Garlic Paste
Made with 1 inch ginger and 5 garlic cloves
Step 1
Bring 1 cup of water to boil in a pan or pot. Add the green chilies and spinach to boiling water. With the help of a big spoon, try to mix spinach with water. Spinach will reduce in volume and mix with water quickly (spinach reduces to 1/3rd of its volume when cooked). Let it cook for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Stir occasionally.

Make sure that you do not cover the pan while you boil spinach. Covering spinach while cooking will make it darker in color, the spinach will lose its original green color.
Step 2
Remove the boiled spinach along with water and green chilies from heat, and allow to cool down.

Now, blend spinach with water and green chilies using Pulse option of the blender. The Pulse option will help maintain the texture of the spinach. Your spinach puree is ready!
Step 3
Cut the paneer (cottage cheese) with a knife into small cubes. Heat 1 and half tablespoons of cooking oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Spread the paneer cubes in hot oil and fry on one side until the cubes turn golden brown. Then, with the help of a spatula or a spoon, gently flip the paneer cubes and fry on the other side for about 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Take the paneer cubes out of the oil, and spread them on a tissue paper to absorb extra oil.
Step 4
In the same pan used for frying paneer, add 1 and half more tablespoons of cooking oil, and heat it on medium. Add the chopped onions and fry for a couple minutes. Then add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook until onions are brown and soft and start to melt in the oil. You may need to cover the pan to cook the onions faster. Stir the onions occasionally.

Now, add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for about one minute.
Step 5
Add the tomatoes, mix well, and cook until tomatoes are soft and mushy and mixed thoroughly with the onions. Then, add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for about 2 minutes.
Step 6
Add the coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, chaat masala (if using), and 1 and half to 2 teaspoons of salt. Add about 2 ounces of water and mix the ingredients well.

Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes, alternating between medium and medium-high heat. Add some more water if needed to prevent the spices from burning or sticking to the pan.

Note: Chaat masala adds extra kick to the curry but it is not a required ingredient.
Step 7
Add the spinach puree to the pan and cook on medium heat for about 7 to 8 minutes until you see fine oil droplets oozing out. Cook the spinach-spice mixture uncovered to maintain the nice green color of the spinach!
Step 8
Now it is time to add the dried fenugreek leaves and heavy whipping cream. Crush the leaves gently between your palms and add to the spinach-spice mixture. Then add heavy whipping cream, mix well, and cook for about 1 to 2 more minutes. Your spinach curry is ready!

If you do not want to use heavy whipping cream, replace it with 5 ounces of evaporated milk.
Step 9
Finally, add the fried paneer cubes to spinach curry and let it simmer for 4 to 5 minutes on low heat. Check for salt, and add some more if needed. Your palak paneer is ready! Serve it with steamed or fried rice or any Indian bread.

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